First pool swim in a long time

After my little dip in a couple of lochs and the sea in the last month or so, it reminded me how much I enjoy(ed) swimming and I figured it would be good to try to get back into, in the pool again.

When I was a student, I did this, and got a real focus on it – I swam three times a week in the mornings. Starting more or less from scratch, I knew how to swim but I wanted to get good at it. So I practiced and practiced, swimming 3,000m each time I went.

Looking back that was probably a lot (120 lengths of a 25m pool), but I improved my stroke, streamlining abs tumble turns and cut 25 minutes off my overall time!

I learned to swim on holiday and in school… and then it was in uni that I really got into it. And after uni, I became a swimming teacher part time and taught lots of Glasgow kids.

Maybe 10 years ago I would do 80 lengths, or 2,000m when I went. But about 5 years ago I seemed to take a reaction to the pool / chorine after swims… so I drifted away from it.

But today, the plan was to go to the Gorbals, and go in at 7am, with the aim of swimming a mile (64 lengths) and see how that felt. I also wanted to time how long it would all take to fit in with work.

I was there 10 mins early, with no traffic, it takes about 5 mins to get there and maybe 10 mins to get back. I met a nice guy called Jim at the door, who was also early and eager, due to it being his first time back swimming in 18 months or so.

The booking system for Glasgow Life is good, and the covid set up is good too. £3 for a swim, paid online via the app when you book. You can add the booking to your calendar, and you can book a week in advance. Easy peasy.

Today I did the following set:

5x100m FC Swim / FC pull
250m FC Pull
250m FC swim
50m BS
250m FC Pull
250m FC swim
50m FC swim
64 lengths / 1600m

That took about 35 mins including rest, so I figured I might as well round it up to 80 lengths, or 2,000m, like I used to. And I would see how long that would take, and how I’d feel after it.

So it was plus:
400m FC pull / FC swim by 100ms

2,000m in around 42 mins

My 100m pace was about 1:40 ish, so back to the sort of times I used to swim.

I had about 600mls of water during the swim, and a banana after it, then my usual breakfast. And I plan to eat plenty today to refuel and hopefully I won’t have any bad side effects like I used to.

I’ve booked in again for next Thursday morning, so perhaps this can become a weekly thing, as long as it fits in with work and life.

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Progress with my running and plans

It’s about 4 weeks since I went back to get some physio from KM Woods physio… and things with my running are hopefully starting to progress.

The plan is to take 3 months to get my right leg to recover, with exercises and building my running up carefully, including cross training as well. (June July August).

The plan today was to run about 2 or 2.5 miles; or more if it felt ok, and gratefully it’s the best my leg has felt in a while. Just a 1/10 for pain / comfort… it was hardly even sore at all. So I went be beyond the 2 miles I had planned and got a comfortable 5k in. I’m pleased with that.

Here’s a picture of the Clyde if atone is missing it, working from home.

Near where the science centre is a bit blocked off so it meant I went back on myself a bit, but it was fine.

And what a lovely morning for it. Nice and sunny, and warm, with blue skies.

Afterwards I went into the garagym for a short session stretching and foam rolling (12 mins) … and had a nice breakfast of protein yoghurt, berries and walnuts, and a coffee, in the sun.

Sitting here enjoying the garden (Fit Girl made it really nice last weekend)…

Here’s my plan for this week… (5k today instead of 2.5M) still just two runs a week, but if the Friday run goes well, I’ll get out for a run on Sunday too I think.

And a swim on Thursday in an actual pool! (The Gorbals). Id better go get ready for work!

I’m so pleased that everything seems to be falling into place… now if I can work this injury away, and I’m due my second vaccine in two weeks… 2021 truly will be becoming a great year (for me). Flat calm waters, and sunny days, at long last.

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Wk24 and a Sunday bike ride

This last week I’ve kept my activity and my physio exercises up, as well as starting a new job. I had physio on Monday morning, and my physio gave me some new exercises. I’m sticking with them in the hope that my leg will build up and feel right as opposed to not feeling right when I run.

It’s still not quite there yet… but I’ll stick with trying to get it back to being right for some time yet. No point in complaining if I give up or if I don’t do something about it.

Here’s the training I did last week:

I had a slow / easy cycle with my brother (who was running) on Tuesday too. It was nice to catch up. I also got a couple of spin sessions and a couple of outdoor cycles, two strength sessions, a foam roll and a few walks.

Today I woke at the usual time (630) thanks to my body clock… and was properly away by about 730, so did my physio exercises then out for a cycle.

I did a similar route to the one I did on Tuesday, only it was better this time with less traffic on a Sunday morning. Still a bus chased me down a bus lane (it didn’t really, but it felt like it did, in reality the driver was being very patient behind me), and I managed to scare a man in Pollok Park (by mistake) by not ringing my bell in the wooded bit. Oops. I apologised.

I went mostly on cycle track to Bellahouston and did a few laps of the track and a little lap of another bit.

Then on the way out I told a guy who was running with his friend that I thought he was dressed like Superman (red top / blue on the bottom). He seemed pleased (with my heckle!) … and he shouted back that it was a pity he didn’t look like him. I wished I’d shouted back that he looked fit, as a compliment, but the moment was gone. He did, and I should have. But never mind.

Through Pollok Park it was very pretty, with lots of pink flowers in the trees… and a few people and dogs to be courteous to / aware of.

The road on St Andrews Drive has been redone so it was a pleasantly fast and smooth cycle until it got to the old bit of road Just under an hour on the bike and a good wee scoot about. Avg HR 129, max 150.

Then a wee sit in the garden, before I get ready to go out for a steak lunch in town. We’re walking in and back, so that’ll be nice too. It was just the right distance / time to get some exercise but not overdo it.

It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I usually always take it off as leave, but tomorrow I’m working (as it’s my first day of training). So I’ll celebrate a bit today, and a bit tomorrow night and have some fun too.

I have a feeling being 41 will be good, and hopefully I can get rid of this injury so that everything falls into place. My new job will make a massive difference to me and my happiness, so I can’t wait to get stuck in. Yas!

As for exercise next week, I think I’ll keep it a bit fluid and see how work goes, and do as I fancy, keeping the physio up 5/7 days.

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Training, fun, friends and family

As we all probably know, Scotland is playing today… and I’ve come to the Village to meet and get to know a new colleague… but before I came here, I dropped my brother and most of his family near Hampden for the game.

So here I am…

Anyway… I thought I’d write an update to my training and rehab. I’ve had a really good few weeks off from work… a mini career break, I guess… before I start my new job on Wednesday.

I spent about a week helping to look after these two in Inverness…

…and went kayaking and swimming in Loch Ness with Pennie, a big walk up Mount Keen with Carol and a nice long walk with Jackie (and her dog Roxy) on Troon beach, and another nice long walk with Sandra and Molly (her dog).

I also went a good cycle along the Caledonian Canal, and another out the Essich Road (very hilly).

Here’s what I did training wise:

And here’s what I did last week.

I’ve been keeping up my physio exercises, most days… see physio round 1… and today I got some new exercises / progression to do, physio round 2:

My leg still isn’t right, but the pain isn’t too bad, more of a niggle at 2/10 pain at the most. I’m working with the physio to get me running where it’s fine and enjoyable, and not sore. So that might mean less running days (2 a week maybe) and short… 2 to 2.5 miles. And if it gets sore, I’ll stop or walk. I can see myself doing short loops!

Here’s my training plan for this next week:

This last weekend, the restrictions eased just in time for me to get up to Aberdeen and spend some quality time with my family, and also visit my old stomping ground (Garthdee in Aberdeen) where I went to Art School.

The morning after I went for a nice long walk along the River Dee and along past the Art School and Round Tower I stayed in during 1st year… 24 years ago. That was nice reminiscing and the weather was great too.

I had a lovely weekend with the family…

Even though my nephews are about a foot taller than me now! (14 and 16 year olds!). I hope they stop growing soon!

What a good month or so I’ve had off before I start work anyway. Full of fun, friends, family and happiness (and quite a few ice creams too!)

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Sea swimming in Stonehaven

I’m away up at my Dad’s this week in Stonehaven, catching up and spending some fun family times together and I figured I’d bring my running stuff and my swimming stuff just in case.

We went a wee walk yesterday and got an ice cream… from Giulianotti’s and we’ve had good chats too.

Today I started the day early with a good wee 5k run early doors before 8am… then I figured I could probably go a swim in the sea afterwards.

There’s also an open air swimming pool, but it seems to need biking in advance. And since I had all my wetsuit stuff, I figured why not swim in the sea.

I’ve been down the harbour bit before and did a bit of research and it looked like this bit of the harbour is good to swim in. In front of the paddle boarding outfit, there’s a nice wee bit where you can swim.

But before I went a swim, I headed out for my wee 5k to keep the running up.

Here’s me near the start of the run…the town was still a bit sleepy, with only some council workers out cleaning, and a random guy picking up litter.

Then I ran over to the harbour and got some pics of where I’d be swimming after the run.

The run took just under half an hour and my leg was ok, not painless, but I was fine for the 3.1 miles. Then when I got home I ate a banana, and drank some water, before changing into my swimming costume and wetsuit.

I drove down to the harbour and the weather had oddly turned. There was a big grey cloud in the sky and it had started to rain. I figured it didn’t matter all that much as I’d be swimming.

I got my gear ready, my car key in a dry bag, my towel ready for when I got out… and got my neoprene socks and gloves on.

You might not be able to see them, but there were two people already in the water when I came along…

I walked down the sandy beach and into the water… it was a lot colder than the lochs I’ve been in recently… but then it is the NORTH SEA afterall!

I got in fine though and swam over to the now three women who were bobbing about in the water. I introduced myself to them and said hello, then went about some swimming.

The weather still wasn’t great, but it brightened up as I was in. I decided I wouldn’t put my head in, as it was cold enough as it was, and the salt water wasn’t as nice as swimming in the fresh water of the lochs either.

I swam across the water a couple of times and out towards where the harbour wall was, but more in the middle of the water.

I came across some seaweed which could have scared me more than the thought of Nessie in Loch Ness… but luckily I knew what it was, and kept swimming, or tried to swim above the sand as opposed to the seaweed.

I’d checked the tides and low tides was going to be at about 855am so I was in at an ok time, but maybe it would be better there if the tie was a bit higher.

Whilst swimming I was reminded how comfortable and confident I am in the water… swimming, floating, sculling… back, front, side… swimming is something I loved as a kid and perfected as an adult, then taught hundreds of kids to swim too.

This morning I was in for about 20 minutes and my hands were starting to feel the cold a bit so I figured now would be a good time to get out.

I was in the water for a total of 25 mins, and swam maybe 800m or so, a mixture of front crawl and breast stroke, and with some kicking on my back too.

The weather had brightened up by the time I got out and I FaceTimed FitGirl for a chat before she started work. I dried off, but kept my wetsuit on to drive home (with shoes on)…and obviously took my gloves and socks off to get them dried. It was easy enough to get warm and dried off after it too.

Afterwards I had a good breakfast, then went a nice wee walk with my Dad around the park. We did (Winnie the) poo sticks at the river, and he was happy when his stick got faster down stream in front of my stick.

Good memories and good chat. As for swimming, I know I prefer swimming in lochs (fresh water and warmer) than in the sea (salty and colder)… but it’s good to try these things out and it’s a good wee spot which would likely be even nicer on a sunnier day.

It’s all giving me the bug to get back into the swimming pool again… maybe I will… as an alternative to running once a week. We’ll see.

Although I do have Tuesday next week free, so maybe I’ll try a wee fresh water swim again then if I’m lucky.

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Rambling thoughts on my run

I was out running this morning, pain free, for the first time in a very long time. I woke up really early and decided I might as well head out early for my 5k.

The weather was oddly grey, and there were spots of rain, something I haven’t seen for a while. But it was nice to run in.

Cautiously I placed one foot in front of the other and I was reminded of how much I enjoy it – on and old regular 5k route around the Clyde Bridges – squiggly to millennium and into festival park and back home. I could cut it short if I needed to (squinty bridge). A nice flat easy route… I’ve run it so often I could possibly run it in my sleep.

The freedom to run wherever you want and let your thoughts spiral away into everything from the future, past and present… to what’s for breakfast, and a whole plethora of other thoughts.

I still had a focus on my right leg – is it sore? No… this is good. The physio exercises must be working … Maybe I could delay my next physio appointment… I’m back running… but wait, is it sore? On a scale of 1-10? Nope. Not yet. Keep going.

I check my watch, my cadence is 176… I like to try to get it to 180… stop trying to improve and just run… maybe I could go further than 5k… better not… I’m 20 minutes in.. is it sore, I ask myself? Mmmm…. maybe it is a little, or at least I know it’s not quite right…. Is it a 2/10 or a 1/10… probably a 1. This is good news. But calm it; this is only my 5th or 6th run back, don’t get carried away!

But I think I should be able to run with my brother next week… 5k with him on Tuesday… run Wed, Fri, Sun, Tues. If I can do this. And keep going with my exercises and cross training and rest and foam rolling.

Then I get to the squiggly bridge and it’s closed off, with a diversion to the next bridge… but in true Glasgow fashion, the barriers have been prized open on both sides, and I cross it anyway.

Then my mind wanders to my work situation. I’ve had a good 4-5 weeks off work… visiting, seeing people, having fun. And on Thursday I have my first ‘team meeting’ on Teams with the new team. I’m so excited. I hope Teams works on my phone, maybe I’ll use my iPad. I wonder if they’ll ask me to introduce myself? They might ask me for a funny fact about myself. What will I say?

A lockdown project – the garagym or my crap coffees? Or that I’ve run over 11,600 miles since starting running 12 years ago, or I’ve run 13 marathons? Or that I’m originally from Wick? Or that I like elephants and rainbows?

I check my heart rate… it’s at 145… easy … good stuff. My pace for the first mile was comfy, just under 9 min miles. Maybe I could push it a bit.

Then I think about how fortunate I am, to walk out of one job into another. I imagine there were a lot of applicants for this role (4 roles), and they picked me! It’ll be great to get my teeth stuck into work again, and hopefully help make a difference… I’m so excited.

The start of a new 8 year life block for me … 41-48… what will it bring? A kick start to my career, a chance of a good fresh start, probably more death (that’ll be hard, but I know I can face it) … hopefully paying off my mortgage. Good riddance to years 33-40… full of death and the end of my career at the BBC. 😳 I can’t wait for a new fresh start – the new block starts on my birthday!

My heart rate is a bit higher, 157, ease it off, enjoy it. How’s my leg? Ok… maybe a 1 or a 2 out of 10… keep checking in. See how it is.

Mmmm… I should just stick to 5k. This is a 3 month plan to get back up and running pain free, and I’m just 2 weeks in. Patience. June, July, August.

I haven’t been able to run properly since about August last year, if I want to get back to it I need to be careful. I must contact Clare… and Sara… maybe I’ll keep my physio appointment next week after all.

At 3.10 miles on my Garmin I stop the timer… just under 27 minutes. Avg HR good / 147. That’ll do nicely. How’s my leg? Ok. Better do my physio exercises now.

There we have it… a selection of my thoughts from my solo run this morning. 😂

I had my tunes on… and I was just running along enjoying the morning. Hopefully my leg will recover and I can get back to normal of this by August!

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Swim in loch near Aberfoyle

My swim in Loch Ness was such a success, I knew I wanted to go swim in another loch soon – and with a spare Monday going, and a nice June day too, I figured what better thing to do on a day off. So that’s what I did.

Scotland is so beautiful, isn’t it?

When I got home yesterday I sorted out my swimming bag with everything I think I might need to go open water swimming.

Then I started my day on Monday with a couple of coffees in my new mug that my ex colleague Catherine bought me… I for Incredible… elephant… well we know why.

I had my breakfast too, before 25 minutes of physio exercises and 25 minutes of a simple strength circuit in the sun.

Here’s what I did:

With a finished of 10 crossed leg unaided get ups.

Then by 12 I had all my gear in the car and I was ready to drive up to Aberfoyle where I’d scoped out a small loch to hopefully swim in.

An hours drive got me there… and I drove along to find a good spot where the car would be close to the waters edge.

I’ve not been there before, so it was maybe a bit of a gamble, but if it didn’t feel right I wouldn’t go in. It turns out it was fine, so I got on with getting my wetsuit, neoprene shoes and gloves on, and took my dry bag with some stuff in it down to the loch side, and wore an old pair of trainers too.

I used my Apple Watch to track the swim, but it didn’t work too well. I realised this and decided I’d try to count my strokes… about 1,000 freestyle strokes in blocks of 50. And some exploring too.

(Once I get my tow float my Garmin 645 can go in there. Ha. Although it didn’t have an open water swim mode, so I’ll just put it on ‘run’ mode when I swim.)

I realised that when I was in the water I needed to know where I got in … so I’d hopefully know where I got out… so I put my trainers in a tree so that I’d hopefully be able to see them from the loch.

I got in a little gingerly…. with a soft waters edge… but it was ok. Then I swam west for about 150 strokes…near to the end of the loch. Then turned back and swam to the other end of the loch.. up to about 600 strokes.

Half way along I saw a cool dragonfly statue thing… see below… and then by the time I got to the other end of the loch I saw a big wire fish structure and a picnic spot.

I did wonder if it would have been better to get in there, but I was fine where I’d got in. At the east end of the loch it seems colder, so it was maybe deeper than the rest. Bearing the cold in mind… I kept up the swimming, abs still felt fine… still in 50 stroke blocks.

On the way back I got up to about 850 strokes and stopped to see my trainers in the tree… so I knew that’s where I should get out. I then swam across the loch (north) and south, to make the strokes up to about 1,000.

It’s probably an idea to have something brighter and bigger with me next time.

I did think it might be a struggle to get out, on the soft marshy land, but it was ok / quite easy really. I got to my dry bag and took my towel out to dry off a bit… then got my old trainers from the tree and put them on (over my neoprene socks).

Afterwards I walked the short distance up to my car, before getting dried off, changed and eating lunch. I ate as my gear hung and dried for a bit.

Then after a bit it was still only just before half three, so I decided to go a walk around the loch to explore some more.

Just under 35 mins / 1.7 miles, including some snaps with the dragonfly and fish. It was nice and warm – about 18-20’C and I was comfy in shorts and a tshirt. I love this weather.

Here’s where I walked… off road, but on a rough track (mountain bikes go there). At the right turn I met a couple who I checked with to make sure I was ok the right path back to the loch (sign posted Aberfoyle).

Here’s me at the end of the loch, still smiling. Hair a mess, not that I care much (after the swim).

It took just over an hour to drive back to Glasgow… and I realised good thing to add to my swim kit bag is some cotton buds to get the water out from my ears.

Swimming in lochs is great, fresh water… no chlorine of pools and no salt from the sea.

I finished the day with a nice tasty ice cream. What a lovely summers day.

Here’s my swimming stuff drying off on the clothes line. Another good day of swimming.

I think I did about 1,400m or so… in 45 mins of swimming, and the walk too. That’ll do nicely. A good new hobbie to do when I fancy it, hopefully in lochs and reservoirs… or maybe the sea (but I think I prefer fresh water).

Where’s your favourite places to swim outdoors in Scotland?

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Walk up Mount Keen

With the Glasgow moving down to level 2, I took the opportunity to go a big long walk with my good friend and (ex) colleague Carol.

Carol has done lots of Munro’s (95!) and I’ve done about 7 or 8, so it was great to climb a hill with such an experienced Munro climber. She suggested we do Mount Keen, and though it’s a bit far away… up in the Cairngorms, I was up for it.

We met early… Carol drove from Edinburgh, me from Glasgow and we met at Perth park and ride, then I drove the rest of the way.

The description on walk highlands says it can take 5-7 hours… https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/angus/mount-keen.shtml – we managed to do it in just under 5 with a few short breaks and a half hour lunch at the top.

There is a clear path all the way, but the well prepared Carol had detailed instructions as well as a map and compass and a well researched route plotted out in orange on the map.

That preparation and Carol keeping us on track was very comforting to help know that we wouldn’t take a wrong turn. It pays to be prepared, especially if the conditions go bad.

Lucky for us the conditions were ideal, a little cloudy at times, but mostly sunny and warm, with a bit of wind at the top.

We had our lunch in sheltered spot at the top. I had plenty layers including a wind proof layer, hat and buff to keep me warm. And my shorts were fine at the top too (although I had a spare pair of trousers in my bag incase I needed them).

We had some good chats and some good laughs… even Jasper liked Carol until we heard a story from Carol’s childhood that involved a cat and a bin. Don’t ask.

There was a lovely little cottage half way up, and there was also a stone structure / small well , built over the site of a spring where Queen Victoria stopped on one of her pony treks in the Angus glens.

See it here behind me.

It was a good day, and Carol even suggested we stop for an ice cream afterwards.

In a little village called Edzell. The weather was stunning and Carol treated me to a coffee and toffee ice cream.

A great day out and good chat along the way.

Hopefully I’ll get to do some more Munros with Carol and we’ll see when she’ll get to do her 100th Munro too.

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Magical Saturday with Pennie at / in Loch Ness!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been as excited about something as much as I was this morning.

You know, that feeling you used to have as a kid, when you knew you were going on an adventure, maybe something you’d never done before, and something you knew you were going to love? I was so excited.

Up in inverness for the first Saturday in ages, if arranged to meet up with my friend and ex colleague Pennie. We were going to maybe go swimming in a loch, maybe a cycle, or a dog walk… or maybe even kayaking. And of course we’d catch up and have a lovely chat too.

It came to the day and once Pennie had checked the weather we decided it was a great day for kayaking, and maybe even a swim too. Pennie lives at one of the ends of Loch Ness, with an amazing view down it. I’ve been to her house before and I was in awe then, and I was again today. What a view!

I drove up her drive, and I almost cried with excitement and emotion, but managed to calm it a bit.

I’m just so happy right now, having had some time out, spent time with good people who I care about and people I know care about me. It really has been a special time for me. Everything feels like it’s all finally falling into place after far too long. It’s great!

Anyway, excited like a 10 year old who had been let out to play, Pennie explained what we’d be doing and I was well up for it. I met her new puppies, two young but very well behaved labradors – Eddie and Charlie. They’re very cute and lovely.

The kayaks were a short walk away down a small hill, on the waters edge, and I should stay in the kayak, and should stay dry, so I went down in my trainers, shorts and vest; with some spare clothes in a bag.

We got the kayaks ready and before I knew it I had my life jacket on, and Pennie was pushing me in the kayak into Loch Ness… to find Nessie perhaps? She showed me how to paddle, get going, and stop and turn and what to do if the kayak turned over. I’m a strong swimmer, so I knew I’d be ok.

Probably what I noticed first was how low and close to the water you are. It’s spectacular. And the scenery up and around Loch Ness is properly awesome.

We spent two hours out kayaking on the loch, up to the mouth of the canal/river at Dochgarroch, and back, chatting so comfortably as we went. It was great. I got a little wet, but the day was warm and I dried off in no time.

After that we went back up to Pennie’s house and had a good portion of left over pizza abs olives and some water, before we decided it too nice a day not to have a swim in Loch Ness. I’d bought a wetsuit a few weeks ago and was itching to try it out.

Here’s where we paddled…

For just over 2 hours, or about 8km / 5 miles if my Garmin is correct.

Pennie often swims in Loch Ness and other lochs locally so I thought what better person to show me the ropes on my first open water swim in my new wetsuit. After lunch I changed into my tri suit under my clothes and we took our wetsuits down to the waters edge.

(Note the puppy at the waters edge here, and Pennie out in the loch). 😂

We squeezed into our wetsuits, and I watched as Pennie confidently went into the water, showing me how to get in bum first so you can float out and avoid hitting any of your limbs off the rocks. The waters edge was a bit rocky, and before I knew it I was carefully trying to get into the water.

Just before I got in Pennie reminded me I still had my sunglasses on my head, which I wouldn’t need, so I put them with my stuff and tried to get in.

(Note the puppy – Eddie, again!)

I clambered in to the shallow depths, sort of on my hands and knees until I could position myself to sit on my bum and float out, all of a sudden little Eddie was next to me, getting involved, sniffing me and my face, seeing what I was up to in these 2 inches of water.

I was getting a bit warm in the sun by now, my feet in the cold water though, trying so hard to be careful not to slip and fall, and holding everything in and up, sort of conscious of my gammy leg maybe not playing ball, but it did ok…. then Eddie started LICKING my face….

And all I heard from out in the loch was the lovely Pennie laughing hilariously at what she was witnessing. It was a lovely sound… and I almost wanted to stay where I was, just to keep her laughing (at me!). Ha. It was really funny.

Pennie may have called Eddie off, or Eddie decided to leave me on his own accord, I’m not sure. But whatever happened, I then managed to get into the right position to float backwards into the loch and avoided any bumps too.

(Here’s me very happy after the swim).

We swam for a bit chatting, it was a bit cold to start but I soon warmed up in my wetsuit and with some swimming. Then I braved it a bit and got my mask on and my head in, to do some front crawl.

I was a bit surprised (and a little scared) by the dark peaty water, but Pennie explained it, and I got my big girl pants on and kept swimming (still close to the shore, and close to where the dogs were on the small stony beach).

After about 27 minutes or so, I still felt good, and warm, but I could feel my bare feet getting a little cold, and we were ready to get out. I’d originally thought I might be in for between 20-30 minutes, so this was good timing.

I got out very tentatively with my (cold) bare feet, conscious that they might not work too well, but they were ok. I have some neoprene socks at home which I’ll likely try / use for my next outdoor swim.

So at the ripe old age of nearly 41, I had an excellent treat of two firsts today – my first kayaking adventure and my first open water swim in my new wetsuit! And they were both great!

(Oh and I’m afraid to say I didn’t meet / see Nessie today, maybe next time though.)

I got my trainers on and dried off a bit before walking the short walk back up the hill to Pennie’s house. I had a quick shower and some more chat with Pennie, before I left her in the nice purple poncho / towel I’d bought her as a present when I knew she loved to swim in the loch.

Just after I left, I found a nice little spot to drop one of my little elephants, in memory of my Granny, but also in recognition of Saturday 5th June 2021 – the day I had a great kayaking and swimming adventure on Loch Ness with Pennie (and her cute dogs too).

After an amazing 5 hours with Pennie, I then went back to my friends house that I’m staying at to get ready…

… Before going to another good friends house for a dinner from my childhood / teenage years… macaroni cheese with the family here in inverness who probably saved my life when I was growing up as a teenager. Perhaps that’s over dramatic, but they certainly shaped me into the happy and settled Lorn I am today (along with a few others, who know who they are).

We caught up for a few hours and then I went back to my friends house, for an ice cream and some cuddles with Holly the cat.

And on the drive back, I beamed with joy, and a little emotion, when I saw this little rainbow in front of me. The day couldn’t have been much better, and I look forward to many more in the future.

The little part of the rainbow, south of the A9, seemed so very apt, perhaps the world (and my Granny) just telling me that everything is magical, and will be great in the next few weeks, months and years hopefully. It feels like my time to shine again. As my ex radio colleagues are telling me, Super Lorn is back!

After what felt like a magical day and a good couple of weeks relaxing / taking time out, I feel like I’ve got my spark back and my twinkle in my eyes back too. Looking forward some more magic and fun ahead.

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Wk21 into Wk22 & last day

Last week I did a lot of walking… meeting nice people for good walks and chats outside, making the most of my leave / time off before I finish up.

Big long walks at the end of the week, and a Thursday full of a about 4 walks, for the total up to about 44 miles walking. I also did one 2 mile run on the Thursday, after previously doing one on Sunday.

I’m going to keep it at around 2-2.5 miles running for the next week or two, every second day, as long as the pain doesn’t go above 2/10. I saw the physio on Thursday, so I’ve got a 3 month plan to get back to running and hopefully fix my right leg once and for all.

Here are the exercises I’ve been given, which I’ll do daily (they only take about 8 minutes so no excuses):

Leg kick extension x50
Leg raise, lying on side x50
Clam shells level 2 x50
Roll down extensions x25
Calf raises x50

Here’s my plan for exercise this week…

I might try and do some open water swimming this weekend at some point, but we will see. Other than that… physio, cyclising, a few short runs and some strength training. Something everyday anyway. I went a nice wee walk today too.

My leg feels fine after the run and walk today so hopefully this will all be the start of rehab and recovery back to me being able to run again.

Today is finally my last day at the BBC… after 13 years and 2 months… from tomorrow I’ll have a couple of weeks off before starting my new job at Social Security Scotland. So I celebrated today with a nice ice cream in the sun. ☀️

I feel strangely free, and happy to be moving on to pastures new – it’s the fresh start I need, for sure.

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