Ready for the Brighton 10k!

It’s been about 21 months in the waiting this event… but finally tonight I put my first flat lay for what feels like years, out… here it is…

Mostly in ‘bot’ colours apart from my trainers …including my Scotland flag / cape. lol.

I got my number earlier and I’m in the red coral, group C… so I need to be there for 8am. I’m not sure when the race starts but I’m sure I’ll be ready.

I have all my gear, although I don’t think I’ll wear my purple arms… I’ll swap them out for my sunglasses as it’s due to be sunny (and warm enough too).

The flight down was fine, masked up, well managed boarding and disembarking… although there seems to be less mask wearing around here… I must remember mine tomorrow, just incase.

I got a couple of energy gels at the expo today, I’ll use one, the cold brew one with the highest amount of caffeine in it, probably around 8am, or half an hour before the 10k is due to start. I probably don’t need it, but I might as well. It’ll do me no harm and give me some calories and caffeine.

I was looking back, and my last event was the Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon, just as lock down started, in March 2020. And my last 10k race was in January 2020 – the Nigel Barge 10k… where I beasted it and finished just under 50 minutes.

I doubt I have anywhere near that on the bag for tomorrow, given my hamstring injury which has recently cleared up, and my relatively low level of run training of two runs a week. I’ll see how it goes, settle into it abs watch my heart rate / keep it around 165 hopefully – and see what the outcome is.

Earlier on we went down to collect our numbers, and we dropped our kit bags off, so they’ll be ready for collection after the run. It’s been done a bit differently due to covid etc, but it seemed to work quite well. I imagine it’ll be easy to find / get your kit bag after the run tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

We all went out for dinner tonight – pizza for me… four of us (on the left) are doing the marathon and the other three of us are doing the 10k. It’ll be good to cheer everyone on and celebrate anyway.

When we were walking back from picking up our numbers Jen pointed out this – a sun-bow / halo. I had thought about bringing and elephant to drop in memory of my Granny, but I think I’ll do it next weekend (around my swim at Loch Morlich) instead.

Good luck to all the runners tomorrow. I look forward to seeing how everyone does.

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Time for another wee adventure

This time 10 years ago, we were fortunate enough to be in the great city of Chicago, and ok this day back then, I ran the Chicago half marathon. All kitted out with my Scotland flag as a cape…

What a big chunk of medal I got for that race! It’s one of my all tune favourite events, and I had lots of Americans coming up to me during the race telling me that their granny was from Scotland etc.

Today I travel down to Brighton for what was meant to be me running the marathon (booked in early 2020, before my injury sidelined me for 10 or 11 months). But in June I sensibly dropped down to the 10k race instead.

I’m quite relieved actually… as I know how hard and gruelling running a marathon can be, so only having to do a 10k is so much less pressure and I know I’ll be able to do it.

My hamstring has been good over the last 4-6 weeks, and I’ve been training easy, up to a 10k distance. I’m not sure how the day will go, I’ll probably push it a bit, but not too much. The main aim will be to enjoy myself and take in the event.

For a laugh, and because I’m running in England… I thought I might as well wear my Scotland flag / cape again. Might as well eh? Let them know where I’m from. 😂

I’m all packed and ready to go, I’ve got my trainers, my gadgets, my running gear and everything else I need.

I’m glad to be meeting some lovely runners from Ellon at Heathrow.

I’ve got to know the amazing Jen and Glynis over the last decade or so, the bots, they’ve welcomed me into their running group of friends, and I can’t wait to see them and get to know them all some more (7 of us in total).

We met through running / this blog, and whilst I’ve probably been forced to take the foot off the pedal with running, Glynis is on a big run streak, away up at 1,350 days streak! … and Jen ran the Glenmore 24 last weekend – and ran 100.47 miles! They’re both amazing (and the loveliest people too!

We’re all flying to Heathrow today, then bussing it to Brighton, to collect our race numbers etc, before the races (most of them are doing the marathon!) tomorrow.

The bots team colours are purple and light blue, so I’ve got my outfit sorted for that too.

As a wee gift for them all, I got them a little red bracelet – for good luck and success. See the thought behind it above.

Let’s hope the red bracelets bring us luck and success. I’m looking forward to a great weekend of adventure, running and fun (and back to a little bit of normality too!).

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My 2021 Annual Training

I’ve been training and tracking my training regularly / weekly all year, and I thought I’d bring together a summary of what’s gone and what’s to come for the end of the year for me. A look at my training and what it looked like / will look like for the whole year.

With no events up until July, it was good to do my first event since March 2020 – the 3,000m open water swim event in Loch Lomond at the end of August. I sort of forgot how good it is to take part in an event – and it was great.

Now I have the Brighton 10km on Sunday… an event I sensibly downgraded to from the Brighton Marathon that I booked ages ago – and I knew in June that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m quite released to be doing just the 10km, perhaps my marathon running days are over (which is fine – I’m comfortable that I’ve done enough of them).

I’ve also entered another open water swim event on the 18th September in Loch Morlich, and I’ve entered a wee fun nighttime 5km with a friend on the 14th November. Hopefully 4 medals this year. That should do.

I tend to train week to week, but with 6 weeks to train for the Loch Lomond swim I had more of a focus on swimming and less on strength training in July and August. And in May and June my focus was on physio and getting back to running.

That and the mix with swimming seems to have worked and my injury which was around since about August 2020, seems to have cleared up. Thankfully!

So here’s what I’ve done, by quarter, and the activities I’ve focused on. At the end I’ll give myself and annual goal for mileage (run / Cycle / Walk) / km (swim) / hours (Strength).

From now on I’ll do my events, then have some time off work, before focussing on Swimming, Running and Strength in Winter, as below.

Q1 – Focus on Cycling/Spin / Strength / Running
Jan – March – 13 weeks

Run – 31,37,60 miles

Cycle – 64,78,50 miles Strength – 9,10,8 hours
Walking – 80,35,76 miles

Mon: Full body strength / 30 min Spin
Tue: Run
Wed: 45 min Spin or Strength
Thu: Run / Yoga
Fri: Strength
Sat: Run
Sun: Rest / Walk

Q2 – Focus on Cycling / Physio, Walking/Running & start of Swimming (May / June as leave)
April – June
– 13 weeks
Run – 2,7,29 miles
Cycle – 143,118,88 miles
Swim – 10km
Strength – 10,7,7 hours
(incl physio, 5 days / 1hr pw, May and June) Walking – 66,115,60

Mon: 2.5M Run
Tue: outdoor cycle
Wed: 30 min spin / Strength
Thu: Strength / 25 min Spin
Fri: 2M Run / Foam Roll & Stretching / Yoga
Sat: Walk / rest or Swim
Sun: outdoor cycle

Other
Leave for 6 weeks, May into June

Q3 – Focus on Swimming / Running (& Events), less Strength / Cycling
July – Sept – 13 weeks
Run – 30,47,10 (50?) miles
Cycle – 32,5,0 miles
Swim – 22km,34km,25km
Strength – 6,1,5 hours
Walking – 47,48,45 miles

Mon – Coach / Strength
Tue – Run
Wed – Swim or Strength
Thu – Run or Swim
Fri – Swim or Run
Sat – Rest
Sun – Swim

Events & Other –
28 August – 3,000m open water swim Loch Lomond
12th September- Brighton 10km
18 September – 3,000m open water swim Loch Morlich
2 weeks leave in September
Started coaching on Mondays in August

Plans for last quarter – Q4, Oct – Dec

Q4 – Focus on Swimming / Running / Strength (and Swim Coaching)
Oct – Dec – 13 weeks
Run – 40,40,40 miles
Swim – 25km, 25km, 20km
Strength – 6,6,5 hours
Walking – 45,45,45 miles

Mon – Coach / Strength
Tue – Long Run
Wed – Swim
Thu – Effort Run / Coach pm
Fri – Strength or Swim
Sat – Rest
Sun – Swim or Strength

Events –
14th Nov – 5km evening run Kelpies
Aiming to do an open water swim 1-2 times a month, see how it goes

I need to get back into the gym 1-2 times a week, and why not – the garagym is sitting there waiting for me to get in there and use it (after 2 weeks not going in there).

So there we have it… that’s what I’ve done by quarter, and what I’m planning. All going well I should be able to achieve the following distance and time goals for the year.

Annual distance / time goals for 2021:
Run – 500 miles
Cycle – 600 miles
Swim – 161km / 100 miles
Walking – 700 miles
Strength – 80 hours

And I would walk 500 miles… and I would walk 500 more… ha. The run miles are a lot less than normal, but the other activities make up for it, for sure.

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Knockburn Watersports Loch swimming

I fancied an open water swim up in Aberdeen when I was up visiting my Dad and step Mum this time. And although they live by the sea, I prefer to swim in fresh water, so I had a look for a few places nearby to Stonehaven.

I did try swimming in the sea near Stonehaven harbour last time I was here, but the salt water isn’t my favourite. And it as pretty sure I’d be able to find some fresh water places to swim. (Pic below was me last time after a swim in the sea).

I found could swim in the River Dee at points, and Potarch and I found some other fresh water lochs. But then I came across Knockburn Loch. At first I didn’t realise it was a watersports place, but when I looked into it, I realised it would be an ideal place for me to swim safely and have my parents nearby to watch and to have a coffee in the cafe on site too.

It’s only 11 miles from where they live, but due to the roads, it took half an hour to get there. It gets used for, and was getting set up for a triathlon on Sunday, but the Saturday we went it was nice and quiet, with a few swimmers going in and out on the Saturday morning time slot of 9-12.

It’s a wee bit out in the middle of no where, with single track roads leading to it, with not many passing places, but the road wasn’t too busy and we didn’t have any issues.

We got there at about 10 and I checked in. I’d paid the £10 non member fee for it online, and checked in at reception. There’s changing rooms, lockers, hot showers and a toilet not far from the loch and parking, and it caters well for all sorts of activities (see the website link below).

Around 1020am I got in the water, and my parents went for a wee walk along the loch. It was a nice enough day, not too warm at about 14’C, but fine enough. I was in for about an hour, and in that hour it looked like it was starting to be overcast and not so nice. Then by the time I got out the weather was ok.

The water felt as cold as any other loch, but once I was in I was warmed up in no time.

As I swam, my parents went into the cafe for coffees and a cake (they do bacon rolls etc). I did one lap to get my bearings, and it was about 750m. Then I put my training flippers on and did another lap. Then I took them off and finished with two more laps.

I was practicing a slightly different way of breathing, and sighting, which was made easy with the big large bouy like things in the water to aim for. I also tried my new speedo goggles (the same as the ones I wear in the pool, but these ones are black and mirrored). They were great, much better than my mask and I was able to see a lot better, especially my watch and how far I was swimming.

My new attempt at breathing was to breath on 3 strokes, then on 4, do breathing to the same side, then on 3 again, then on 4. And sighting when I wanted to. It took a bit of getting used to, but I think that’ll be good to do when I’m swimming at loch morlich in a few weeks time. I’ll practice it some in the pool too. I think it might help me go a little bit faster, but we’ll see.

At Knockburn, I needed up swimming 3,000m in just over an hour. The fins helped me swim a little faster for 750m, but overall I felt strong and fit. My average heart rate was 145 max 172… but I felt good throughout.

As I swam, a few groups and individuals got in and out. And it was nice to have my Dad and step mum there to watch for some time and to know they were warm in the cage or my car when they weren’t watching.

I got out and had some of my stuff left at the entry / exit point. It was all left at my risk, but it was all there when I came back to it (a bag with a towel, clothes, shoes etc in it).

I walked the short distance to the changing rooms and wasn’t going to shower, but a lady said the showers were brilliant, so I got my wetsuit off and went in them and had a good wash in my costume. It was so warm after the cold loch and a chance to rinse my wetsuit out too.

As I was getting changed a large group of about 10 school girls and some mums came in, maybe they had a lesson. It was a bit tight, but enough room for all. And the changing rooms were nice and clean too.

When I got back to the car I was treated with a warm black coffee and a mars bar from my step mum, then I drove us back to Stonehaven for some lunch.

All in all a great wee morning, and although £10 might seem a bit steep for a swim in a loch, you get what you pay for and it’s a great site and venue.

After I’d warmed up and has some lunch, I had a nice afternoon chatting with my Dad, then later on I was treated to a lovely tasty steak and pudding after it too. (I like my steak rare!)… at Stacks in Muchalls. Yum. I think I maybe earned it with my swim.

It was a good day to remember anyway, and a nice different day out for my parents too.

See below for a mini review of knockburn sports loch (for swimming).

– – – – –

Knockburn Watersports

Location: near Strachan / Aberdeenshire, AB31 6LL

It’s a wee bit out in the middle of no where, but it’s easy to find. Watch out for not much mobile service when you get there, but there is WiFi in the cafe if you really need it.

Access: For all sorts, bookable vis the website.

Price: £10 to swim for a weekend day swim pass (9-12), through the summer months (good for visitors like me). There’s also an annual pass that can be purchased, for regular members.

Parking: Free, and plenty of it.

General: the loch is man made and around 750-800m as a lap of it. You’re advised to swim anti-clockwise, and there are some bouys and other bits in the water so you can practice sighting. As it’s man made there ground seems to be of mud, rather than anything else. I did swim into some reeds at one point, but it’s easy to stay on track because if the bouys.

Website: Here’s a link to the open water swimming section of their website.

https://www.knockburn.co.uk/open-water-swimming

Overall, I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was great scenery, and great facilities, and the car park is handy for everything. The cafe was nice too. It was all a little expensive, but you pay for what you get and I’d do it again. Particularly for the safety, and the warm showers and changing room, lockers and toilets for before and after the swim. There’s lots to do, not just swimming, but trails, cycling and football and all sorts of water sports. I’d highly recommend it.

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Loch Lomond Go Swim 3,000m event

As I summarised on my Facebook page; yesterday I did the Loch Lomond Go Swim event. It was great fun and I’m sure this will be a great sport for me to be involved in going forward.

My first open water event, after a false start and buying and selling of a wetsuit maybe 6-8 years ago, then the Great Scottish Swim I’d entered being cancelled due to algae, I was off the hook then.

But this year was the year for it. So after selling my old and unused wetsuit years ago, I invested in my new Orca wetsuit, and all of the other paraphernalia around it to help keep me safe and seen in open water swimming. Then in June I had my first dip in Loch Ness, with the wonderful Pennie who lives near there.

After that I’ve trained in the pool 1-2 times a week, and then added in some loch and open water swimming some weeks. You can see more about my loch swims here:
https://lornpearsontrains.co.uk/?s=Wetsuit&submit=Search

In the middle of July I saw the Go Swim event in Loch Lomond and I thought it would be a good thing to enter. With 6 weeks to continue my training and get more into lochs / open water to get used to it, the timing was just right.

I took advice from two other swimmers / triathletes as to which one I should enter. I’d been regularly swimming 2,000-3,000m in the pool and I could build up my distance training in the pool and in lochs.

One said go for the 3,000m, you’ll be fine. And I had a look at the entry, to then find they the 1,500m was sold out. I did a training plan to check that it would be achievable for me, then that night I entered the 3,000m swim. Eeeek. Then the other guy came back and said, ‘definitely the 1,500m for your first swim. Oooops.

I felt a bit bad that I’d asked their advice then entered the 3,000m, but it was my only option, and to be honest, I had faith in myself that it would be the better challenge for me and that I should be able to train and deliver.

Anyway, I was in for it, and then came the test for me, to swim more regular in open water. Here’s where I swam:

Loch Ness
Stonehaven harbour
Lochan Spling
Dumbrock Loch
Loch Venachar
Loch Lomond (west side)
(River Nevis, but I wasn’t really swimming)

I didn’t much like the salt water, and I don’t think I’ll swim at Stonehaven again. I’m planning a swim this weekend at a loch up there, so that should be good. I might try Troon or somewhere, but I have a feeling I prefer real water, then the pool, then salt water.

I had done all of my training and I felt ready for the day – in 10 weeks I did:
– 25 swims
– 55.5km / 35.5 miles
– 1 mile and 1,000m time trials
– around 1,450 lengths

Back to the event. We were up early snd headed to Balloch Shores to register. There were already 5km and 10km swimmers in the loch when we got there, and my start time was meant to be 9:45. I got up and had ready and got breakfast before getting there about an hour before the start time.

There was plenty parking in an area not far from the start, and registration was straightforward. We were all given blue caps for the 3,000m swim and timing chips, a tshirt and a bottle.

I got the number 399, and got myself ready for the start. There was the adult and junior aquathon happening from 9am, them all in pink hats, so it was nice to see them all getting ready to go in, and come out.

I met Cath from the Glasgow Triathlon Club who id coached the week before and we had a good chat as the pink swimmers went in. It was a glorious morning for it. Nice and sunny and getting warmer by the minute. The loch looked nice and calm too.

The time was ticking on though, and when I thought we’d be ‘in our pen’ by 915 to get warmed up by 930… we weren’t… by 945, the start time, there was finally an announcement to say the start would be delayed.

Fit girl had my phone, but I was getting some nice messages from friend and colleagues through, on my watch. So that was also a nice way to pass the time. And thanks to Fit Girl for being there with me and helping me at the end too (and for buying me the burger too!)

It was probably a bit of pre race nerves for me (although it didn’t seem as bad as for a run event somehow), but it would have been good if they’d communicated it at 915. But it was clear we wouldn’t get on there course until a bit later / until the aquathon athletes were out the way, and it was good to see them all competing.

At about 950 or so we were in the pen, and we’re allowed to pop down to the shore to get in the water very briefly to warm up / wet up.

This was meant to be 15 mins, so I thought this could have been done better (not sure how as the aquathon was there and there wasn’t another access point to the water)… anyway, I got in for half a minute or so, bent down up to my neck, so that did fine.

We were rushed to get back up the slipway so they could start us and make up time. Then they set us off in groups of six. I managed somehow to be up front and I got out in the third group of 6, starting my swim just after 10am.

In the water I felt in a good flow right from the start. It was a little busy at the start, and a swimmer next to me stopped to wave at their supporter at the side which seemed a bit odd but each to their own.

I’m the one with orange arms from about 35 secs in

I had told myself to relax into it and get used to the water and before I knew it the first 250m was ticked off on my watch. Based on previous swims I’d estimated 5-6 minutes for that distance, and this first one was 4:17. I was pleasantly surprised and knew if I kept this up, I’d definitely be on for under an hour.

With it being my first open water swim and me swimming 250m in 5-6 mins, I sort of estimated my time as anything between 60-72 minutes. So this was great if I could keep it up.

Swimming out, facing north up the loch, the swim felt good, and I could see where I was aiming for. The next 250m ticked off under 5 minutes again, and after that my mask sort of steamed up so I couldn’t see my watch so clearly.

Then I turned left and was then hit with the low sun on my left each time I took a breath to the left. I was tempted to breathe on every 4 or 2 to my right, but I decided to stick with my natural, breathing every 3. I was able to sight ok again.

Then I turned again in the first lap, to swim south, and I could hardly see a thing. Mostly due to the sun in my face, but also because my mask probably needed a clear. Anyway, I kept swimming and sighting and before I knew it I saw a bouy. I started to turn left, but a lovely kayaker told me not yet, and I headed for the next one.

It was a bit like swimming blind, and I’m going to use my mirrored goggles in future loch swims, to see if they work better than my 6-8 year old mask. Anyway I got to the bouy to turn left again, and my watch ticked off half way.

I was feeling good, and still ticking along. By this point I couldn’t see my watch, but it all felt pretty steady. I swam to the next bouy and turned left again… and some how a little further up I started to veer off course (see the map). Another kayaker shouted and got me back on course.

There were a few swimmers close to me at points, one touched my right thigh at one point mid race (no idea how) and my ankle I think. It’s easy done especially when visibility is low.

I got to the end of the north stretch and took a left, I think I’d veered off on the first lap up the top, so I tried to keep straight. At the top corner I took a quick second to clear my goggles so I could see better again.

With about 500-750m to go, and with the precious experience of not being able to see with the sun in my face, I was thinking, why can they turn the sun off?? Ha … but seriously, I was thinking I just need to keep swimming and I’ll get there in 10-15 minutes.

I swam along side a few others and that’s how I knew I was still on course (and because no kayakers were shouting at me to straighten up!). At one point I was swimming next to a woman with yellow on her arms… I seemed to swim faster than her, then all of a sudden I felt a bit disorientated when I came up to see where I was, and she shouted in a friendly and helpful way – IT’S THAT WAY – pointing in the direction she was swimming in.

I kept going and headed for what felt like it should be where I was going … there were two other swimmers near so it felt right. I nearly missed one of the bouts to get between, then I saw the beach and started swimming towards it. Then I saw the yellow opening and the big blue finish line and redirects myself towards it.

I swam as far as I could, then attempted to walk / run up what felt like a rocky beach… once I was on the mat I ran for the line. Once across the chip timer, the lady at the end sort of shouted out my name ‘Lorna Pearson!’ … mmmm. At least she tried.

Afterwards I got my medal, took of my timing chip, got a banana, water and crisps and was greeted by Fit Girl who had just got there (because I said 60-70 mins and this was me in after 58!) and was filming me.

I cooled down, dried off, had my banana and got some pics. Then started to go towards the changing rooms to get changed. It all felt great.

My pacing splits were as follows… I did slow down towards the end (or went out a bit fast)… but I felt fine aerobically throughout, any delay was probably due to trying to stay on course or stopping briefly to check that I was on the right course.

My average heart rate was 136, max 158… so swimming events is probably easier for me than running… as my heart rate goes a lot higher in running. ❤️ anaerobic effort as well as aerobic (or so Garmin says).

It was a really good day for it, the weather probably made it even better, even though the sun was a nightmare in the water. I guess that just adds to the challenge and makes me think about making sure my gear is right for the day too.

Thanks to al the marshals who helped on the day too.

I would have said that the event could have improved better with slightly better timed communication about delays, but it being the first event I’ve done since March 2020 due to covid, I’ll let that go. It all worked well really.

Afterwards I got warm, and changed and had a walk and a coffee. Then we stayed at Lomond shores for a bit and I refuelled with the ready salted crisps, and later a cheese burger and coke.

We had a brief walk in a wooded area before went went home. I made quite an effort to rehydrate after it all, and I had quite a bit of ice cream later on, and. A good long sleep to recover too.

Later on the results came out and I was pleasantly surprised to have placed in my age, gender and category group – 3rd sunroof veteran. Since turning 40 in June 2020 this is my first event where I’m a vet.. so I’ll take that. I’m very chuffed.

It turns out I was 8th female and 20th out of 87. And I can also see some room for improvement if I do this more often. We will see.

The overall results are here:

http://www.thistletimingresults.co.uk/results.aspx?CId=20032&RId=106&EId=3&dt=2

I had a really great time doing the challenge, and I’m pretty sure it’s something I’d like to keep up and do again. I know my training helped a lot and I felt ready for it on the day.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be back to do some more like this!

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Pinkston Swimming & my Training plans

Today I’ll split this post between my swim at Pinkston water sports in the north of the city, my training so far this week, and what I’ll do for the next few weeks.

I had this pre booked for a few weeks, and early Sunday morning swim at Pinkston in the north of the city. Not far from the M8 / city centre, it’s a body of water that comes off the canal… and it’s been made into a wstersports place. It’s pretty cool, and very accessible.

I say pretty cool, it was also pretty cold this morning I thought. I don’t know what temperature it was today, and it could have been more to do with the cooling summer / autumn weather, but it seemed colder than the loch swims I’ve been doing.

Anyway, I was there early. Even though it’s only about 15 mins away, I took a coffee with me and was a bit early, but sat for a bit before going and parking up then going over to the decking to put my stuff down around 750am.

I met a guy who had opened up the place and told him it was my first time. He was friendly and explained that the loop of the pool of water was around 300m (where people cut corners) and usually people swam around it clockwise.

Around 8am I was the first one in… and a few others were getting ready to go in. I stepped off the pontoon bit and floated for a bit whilst I acclimatised myself to the water temperature. I’m always conscious bit to swim if I don’t feel right, but I slowly got myself used to it and after about what felt like 5 mins or so (but was maybe less than that), I started to swim.

I’ve set my watch to beep every 250m so I know how far I’ve swum. I didn’t really have a plan for today’s swim, but once I was in, I decided I would do two warm up laps or 250m, then 4 laps (1,000m) non stop, then another 2 laps to cool down.

Altogether it took me about 46 mins, and I was doing 250m in about 5:30-6:00 minutes ish. Around half way through, I felt really at ease… like something special had happened where I was gliding through the water, nice and relaxed, and settled in the cold water. It’s probably the magic that some people say they get from open water swimming.

Anyway, after the 1,000m, I did a few more laps to cool down, and before I knew it I was ready to get out. My feet were a bit cold, but I was fine to have been in for that amount of time.

Afterwards I got out and sat for a bit, took my wetsuit off, then dried myself and got to my car. I chatted to one of the other swimmers (there were about 10 or so there I think), then before I knew it I was warm in up in my car with a coffee and a rego shake for afters.

Afterwards my feet were really cold, it they warmed up in time. And I’ve managed to get some nasty chafing on my neck from the wetsuit. Ouch. I felt like having a nap this afternoon, so I did. All good.

The session was pre bookable and £5, a good well controlled no nonsense open water experience and good place to try or do open water swimming for sure. The website says the changing rooms aren’t open, but today they were. With restrictions easing it looks like things are more back to normal.

You can book sessions, or other watersports / fun here:

https://pinkston.co.uk/about/

Onto my training last week… I did quite a bit of swimming – 3 sessions of 7,500m in total, 2 runs, 3 walks (including 3.5 miles today), and 2 rest days (Monday and Saturday).

I didn’t do any strength work as I prioritised swimming, but I’ll try to remedy the at next week. I enjoyed swimming coaching for the Glasgow Triathlon Club on Monday morning, and I’ll be doing great early doors on Mondays for most of the next 8 weeks. It’s nice using those skills again, and helping others to train / improve.

Here’s my plan for training next week:

I think I’m moving my run at the start of the week to Tuesday night, but other than that it should be as planned. I’ve arranged my runs to be with others, and I’m booked into the Gorbals on Wednesday to swim.

Then at 9:45am on Saturday it’s my 3,000m open water event at Balloch Shores, Loch Lomond. It should take me up to 70 mins to complete I think… as long as I keep going…

I feel my swim fitness is up; and I plan to just chunk it down into 12 x 250m… maybe taking a breather or two at 1,000m & 2,000m or at 1,500m. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll do it non stop.

If you’re at a loose end and live nearby why not come see me at the end, around 10:50-11am… although I might not be worth much / might be a bit tried. lol.

There’s info here about where it takes place:
https://go-swim.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/GSLL21-Athlete-Guide-FINAL.pdf

After that, I restart my training and with the aim of keeping my 10k run distance up… for the Brighton 10k on the 12 September. My runs have been going well, touch wood my leg seems ok..

…and I’m gingerly training doing two runs a week to ease myself back. I’ve decided I’m going to keep the distance at 10k and below.

And I’m excited to go visit my Dad and step mum the weekend before it. I’m hopefully going to get an open water swim in up there; with them watching maybe. Up at Knockburn Loch hopefully.

Here’s my training plan after next week:

And another two weeks:

I’ll mostly swim in pools in September, maybe with one or two trips to lochs… Then I’ll hopefully get to some more open water swimming in a loch or two into October I think. We’ll see.

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Replica necklace continuing the journey

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’ve had a special necklace nearly forever, given to me by my best friends on my 21st birthday many years (20) ago.

I wore it so much that 2 years ago the end snapped off it and my good and very talented friend Sally fixed it for me.

I wore it so much, nearly every day… that was until lockdown happened and I didn’t wear it as much. Then all of a sudden in about May time this year, I couldn’t find it.

This was the last photo I have of me wearing it… on a sunny day at the end of April in Shawlands. I was gutted.

I can’t find it in the house anywhere, I’ve checked all my pockets in case it’s there. And it’s not in any of the obvious places, or even in my car or anywhere.

The only thing I can think of is that it maybe eventually broke when I was out and it’s gone. I really miss it.

So I went and contacted the jewellery shop my friends got it from – ORRO – in the merchant city – maybe see if the jewellery designer is still around. They came back to say that it was a German designer and they stopped making the jewellery about 10 years ago. Booooo.

I looked online for German designers and did find one, but it was too complicated to follow up.

I have so many pictures of me with it on!

Anyway. I figured, since it wasn’t coming back, and I missed it so much. I couldn’t get a replacement made by the designer, I might as well have a go at re-making it.

And here it is… after a few attempts … it’s a bit slimmer than the original, but the about same size and pattern – with stainless steel tube beads, blue beads and clear beads.

It feels similar to the old one, but clearly not as quality as it had been. The beads are 3mm and I think I’m going to make another which has 4mm beads. But this one will do as a start / prototype.

I also have some spare coloured beads and stainless steel tube beads, so I’ll likely make a few necklaces and maybe a bracelet or two.

Here’s the 3mm version on me now. I’m quite pleased with it. Now I can continue my journey with this replica necklace, hopefully for another 20 years or more.

And I’ll always remember how generous my best friends were with their present that I wore so much I maybe wore it out!

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2,550m swim in Loch Lomond

Another Sunday, another swim in a loch. I’m two weeks out from the swim event at Loch Lomond and thought it would be a good time to get a swim there. I arranged to meet my friend Vanessa, and Linda for a swim just south of Luss.

Vanessa is a pro in open water swimming, so I met her at a place she usually swims. It’s about 35-40 mins from mine; so a good location… unless you get caught in an accident on the A82 on the way back like I did… hopefully everyone involved is ok.

I met Linda and Vanessa at just before 11am. And we walked a short distance to the shore before getting ready and going in. Vanessa is doing the open water swim next weekend, so it would be good for both of us to get some swimming in. It was one of Linda’s first dips, so it was good to all together.

Last weekend I did a consistent 2,300m swim… this weekend it was less consistent, but it was good to engage with Vanessa and Linda in between swimming.

Here, the floor was quite stony so it was a little tricky getting in in bare feet at the start, but once I was in enough I plopped myself and and started floating to get me out a bit more. Then we were away.

We swam out a bit, then went back and fore in front of the shore. I must get better and sighting and going in a straight line.

Sometimes I seemed to be heading out into the loch when I didn’t mean to be. Possibly the currents, and a reminder to stay close and parallel to the shore.

The water was quite choppy at points, (probably a reaction to the water traffic on the loch). It wasn’t too cold once in, and I felt comfortable swimming in it. If I’m honest, it was good to experience the choppy water.

I had my safety whistle with me, along with my waterproof camera, and I had my phone and keys in my tow float.

We were in for about an hour and 10, and by that point I’d managed to swim 2,500m comfortably. I could have probably pushed it a bit more, but it was really good to have the company.

I didn’t have socks or gloves on and as I was swimming a lot of the time; they felt fine and not too cold. I’ll need to do that for the event so it’s good I was in for so long without them being cold.

Linda did some swimming in her wetsuit, then got out and released herself into her swim suit to do some true cold water swimming. Brave of her, but I bet it was nice and refreshing too.

Vanessa was a machine, swimming on and on, powering ahead. She ended up doing about 2,300m in total. A great distance and time in the water ahead of her open water swim event next weekend.

Overall a good swim – 2,550m in fresh loch water. Pity about the delay getting home with the car accident on the A82, but eventually we got turned around and headed back another way. The road was closed for at least 90 minutes, so I imagine it was quite serious. Hope everyone was ok.

It was good to be in for 72 mins as above – the sort of time I think it’ll take me to swim 3,000m in Loch Lomond in two weeks time. Maybe between 62-70 mins or so.

Here’s my summary of the visit / swim:

Loch Lomond, south of Luss at the big gates on the right as you go north

Parking: quite a few spaces, especially if you go early. See the big gates and park up. Then it’s a short walk to the shore but be careful of the big potholes / puddles.

Access to shore: to the left of the big gates, then along a path for about a 5-10 minute walk to the shore.

Type of water: Freshwater Loch.

Surroundings: on the lovely Loch Lomond, on the west side, in a sheltered spot

Size: 22-24 miles long.

Shore: stony beach.

Water: usual fresh water loch, deep and dark at points, shallow and muddy bottom at others. It was a bit choppy today, possibly from boats further out in the loch.

Refreshments: take them with you or stop off at Balloch or Luss

Toilets: none – it’s in a bush.

Water traffic: a few kayaks and other swimmers / family groups. You could tell there were big boats further out but no where near us.

Overall: a good bit of fresh water, not too far from home, and easy to access. The A82 can sometimes be a bit of a busy road though, so make time for traffic and delays. Good location and a nice sheltered spot to swim in. I’ll go back. But I’d go earlier next time, and try and be out by 9 or 10, rather than being out by about 1pm like we were.

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Too many watches?

Some women have lots of handbags and shoes, some others have lots trainers (me), and some others have lots of nice jewellery and designer things.

I was having a virtual chat the other day, with someone in work, and I was sort of a little embarrassed to say that I’ve got 4 watches.

I sort of uncomfortably explained my reasons…

1 – my Apple Watch as my cool every day watch, that connects to my phone and plays my music, tracks my activist and motivate me to achieve my activity goals. It also syncs to Apple fitness and has lots of different straps to suit my mood / outfit / activity.

2 – my garmin 645 music, for on runs and cycles, and the track my walks, and other activities. I’ve had a Garmin since 2008, since before Apple had watches, and I think their superior for exercise. So I wouldn’t drop them for an Apple Watch. It shows so many measures to enable me to track and measure my fitness and progress – vo2 max, training performance, workouts, training calendar.

I also have all my data in Garmin, showing Ive run over 10,000 miles, nearly 6,000 activities and over 28 million steps since I’ve had a Garmin. My Garmin running watches have motivated me and help me to track and compare my fitness and training. I’ve had about 7 different ones, and this one is great for almost everything I need exercise wise.

3 – which leads me onto my third watch, which I wear all the time. My Garmin Vivosmart fitness tracker. It’s on all the time, and before Apple Watch came along and before it tracked sleep, my vivosmart tracks sleep, stress, body battery, steps and can actually as a fitness tracker if I need it to. But wearing it has enabled me to track my 26 million steps. 😂

4 – I recently bought a Garmin swim 2 watch. If I had a triathlon Garmin – a 745 or a 945, I wouldn’t need the swim watch… but my 645 running watch doesn’t track open water swimming or heart rate during swimming. And the Garmin swim 2 goes exactly that plus a bit more in the pool. Plus I won £117 on the lotto that month, so decided it was a sign to get me to buy the watch. And it’s been great so far.

Anyway, I didn’t need to explain any of that… to my colleague, or on here – but it all makes sense to me. Why shouldn’t I have 4 watches?

The nice colleague that she is, liked the fact I had 4 watches and saw it as a part of me that might be a bit eccentric, but it was a part she was keen to get to know.

Most of the time I wear my Garmin vivosmart fitness tracker all the time, plus my Apple Watch. But when I run, I wear my Garmin 645 on my left arm, and (in order to track my calories / totals on apple) I wear my Apple watch on my right arm, under a long sleeve or under a sweat band.

I’m happy with that. But when I swim, I just use the Garmin swim. Maybe too many gadgets and watches would weigh me down to the bottom. 😂 only kidding.

And then as my good friend Gill said, it’s par of who I am, it’s part of my idiosyncrasies, my character. Who I am.

So I’m embracing my multiple watches and my multiple Apple watch straps. I probably don’t NEED them all, but I use them for different things, and it suits me.

And what my colleague did right there with a warm and welcoming acceptance of my gadgets habit, was inclusion much more than any attempt to include people because of their more well known characteristics.

I’m able to talk about my exercise and training and gadgets openly on our coffee breaks, and my colleagues are genuinely interested in that part of me. I’m bringing my whole self to work, and I love it.

Embrace your eccentricities and the bits that makes you you. Be you. You’re magic.

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Downward weight trend – in 3 weeks plus

I thought I’d do a post about my weight and body composition… and tell you about one simple thing I’ve done, and got good results easily.

My weight has been pretty stable for most of 2021… but it seemed to be going up again from April to July, so I thought I’d experiment a bit. I’ll tell you what I did soon.

Here’s my weight graph since 2013… mostly up up up until 2020 when I experimented between March to July by simply eating less, still exercising a lot, and not being greedy, and lost 10lbs.

But when I when back to my usual (perhaps greedy) ways, my weight bounced back up to just below what it had been in early 2020. It’s called the set point I believe, where your body strives to get back to the weight it was used to.

The numbers are all relative to me, my height, and my body composition, but I got down to about 130lbs by Autumn 2020 and averaged around 130-134lbs.

Then nearly a year on, and by the middle of July I’d gone back up to about 140lbs and decided it was time to make a change.

This has become the top of where I want my weight to be – mostly because clothes tend to get tighter at this point, but also as I feel more good about myself when I’m at about 135lbs. It’s as simple as that.

So this time, in July, my starting point was:

19 July 2021 – 140.0lbs
24.2lbs body fat / 112.2lbs lean mass

See the wee peak in the faint line in the image below… then nearly three weeks on, and I’m now nearly 5lbs lighter.

Here’s where I’m at now:

6 August 2021 – 135.1lbs
22.1lbs body fat / 108.1lbs lean mass

A loss of -2.1lbs body fat,
and about -4lbs lean mass.

Down about 5lbs from that point in July anyway (water weight probably increased).

The graphs above compare month to month, and it’s showing losses of:

Weight -1.5lbs
Body fat -1.8lbs
Lean mass -1.4lbs

It’s all going to plan – downwards anyway.

So how did I do it?

I kept my activity levels the same. But I changed HOW I eat.

Instead of eating out of habit (breakfast / snack / lunch / snack / dinner / treat = between 1,500-2,200 cals a day)…

… I followed a very lose intermittent fasting routine – 16:8. So eating in an 8 hour window, and mostly fasting in the remaining 16 hours. It was that simple.

I had my feed window between 11&12 to 7&8pm… and had coffee and water before I broke my fast in the mornings.

And on swim days I had a 200 cal rego shake to get coke calories / energy in, right after my swim at 8am (Thursday) or 10am (Sundays).

At weekends I was a bit more flexible, if we went out for breakfast, for example, but I did that we usually aren’t out that early so the routine worked fine then too.

The other thing I did was have any snacks at the same time as my neals, so I’m eating quite a lot of calories 400-600 at 11 or 12, then maybe a lunch sized portion 400 calories around 3 or 4 (or not) and then an evening meal of between 500-800 cals before 7 to 8pm.

All in all, I’m snacking less, making better choices (apple or higher protein foods instead of apollo / mars bars!) and eating less overall, but still getting enough energy. Although I am having the odd treat or ice cream after meals.

I’m hungry at points, but I see that as my body liking for energy, and hopefully getting it from some of the stored energy I have – carbs or body fat. We’re not used to being hungry, but it’s natural.

About a week to ten days in something odd happened. I started to not mind being hungry, and found it quite easy to get on with my morning after exercise, without breakfast.

There are also other benefits – as you’re not having breakfast, or saves you about 20 mins or so… and it’s also saved me buying all the extra food I’d usually eat.

It’s a win win. I’ve done something similar before but found that 2/5 fasts longer than 16 hours were too much for me … and apparently there’s theory to say that fasting longer than 16 hours doesn’t bring much more benefit.

This time I was inspired when my American friend Kim posted that she’d lost some lbs, and to check out Dr Jason Fung on YouTube. So I did.

Here’s a link if you have a spare 75 mins to watch it – https://youtu.be/7nJgHBbEgsE

It all makes sense – here’s my layman’s understanding of some of it and why it works:

– why do we need to eat 3-6 times a day? We don’t, but society has told us that we need to.
– if we eat less often, our bodies will have less insulin spikes. When insulin spikes our bodies tell us to store the energy we have (unless we use it).
– when we fast, our body goes to our stores of energy we have. This could be glycogen (carbs) or energy from out fats stores.
– if we skip breakfast, we wont die.
– fasting doesn’t need to be too rigid, make it work for your lifestyle, and be flexible.
– eat healthy food, and balance it to include high protein, limit or don’t eat processed / sweet foods.
– because you embrace the hunger, it means you don’t go grab a sugar fix, which leads to less calories / crap calories being consumed overall.
– And you fill yourself up well at 11 or 12 and 6 or 7.

And I was aiming for about my body weight in grams of protein, which ends up being about 1/3rd of my macro intake.

So that’s what I did… I did eat less calories overall…

1,700-1,800 calories per day on average when I wasn’t fasting.

1600-1700 calories per day on average when I was eating in an 8 hour window.

Not much difference overall. Around -500-700 less cals a week. But that, along with the fasting, and my body getting its energy from itself when I really need it, has led to the -5lb drop in weight in 3 weeks.

I have to admit, it’s very simple and easy. It’s easily something that I could change to as a way of life, and not see it as a ‘diet’… and it seems to work with my exercise and work in the morning too.

I’m still having a Chinese takeaway on a Friday night, and eating what I want,nice creams included, it’s just it’s a bit more regimented and I’m refraining from snacking out with when I have a meal.

Oh and if I’m hungry, I’m making sure I’m hydrated too. And I was careful around giving blood too, not being too restrictive then, and ensuring I drank lots of water to recover.

It’s not rocket science, or complicated, but it works for me. I’ll stick with it for a bit longer and see how it goes. It would be way to keep as a way of life / eating easily. And it might prevent me over eating when I don’t need it, and maintain my weight well.

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