Friday, 30 December 2011

Chesty cough

No swimming today. Developed a horrible cough yesterday afternoon and it's still with me. Is this from going back into the water after a break or just because of the excesses of Christmas? I doubt I'll get back in again this year so time for some statistics!

In december 2011 the water temperature ranged from 8ºC to 2ºC
I swam a total of 138 lengths and 12 widths
Which is 14196 yards, about 8 miles or 13 Km
I did 17 seperate swims
Longest single swim 18 lengths, shortest 4 lengths

After a mild start and a couple of one mile swims the temperature did drop and on the 19th we had ice on the water for the first time this season. Christmas and partying got in the way of my swimming but not as much as last year. I fear January and February may be colder but I hope to beat last years distances.

Year review 2011:
January 10L 5W
February 106L 4W
March 258L
April 586L
May 706L
June-September 4x600L (a safe guess between the May and October totals)
October 548L
November 446L 2W
December 138L 12W

Total: 5198L 23W
520,559 yards
about 296 miles
which is about 473 Km 

With other swimming and a Swimtrek holiday I must have broken both the 300 mile or 500 Km mark this year!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Egg nog

Grey damp and cooler today, but that didn't stop Egg from enjoying his very brief dip. Saw David who told me the water temperature is 4ºC exactly. The windy weather has blown all the leaves back in the pool and it certainly felt colder than yesterday. I did six lengths but on the fifth I was really glad there was only one more to do.

Taken from the pool side this is Ian getting his training in for Latvia. He usually does a couple of widths without the suit after his sauna. I like the leaf coverage on the surface.

Reaching for the end of the pool. Pictures are coming out a lot better because I'm that much later than on a work day, my camera needs a bit of light.

A game of handball, Vince is covering his face having just served the ball onto the cafe roof. It's alright Jonathan has a spare one and the game continues. Swimming isn't the only sport at the lido.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Back in the water

And what a beautiful morning to choose, a bit windy but the rain had passed and the sun was out over the pool at just after 9 when I got there. No work today so I wasn't in a rush. Great to see the familiar faces again, Nando just leaving having a chat with Ian. Sue just arriving and setting off on a run.

Here comes Hilary! I wasn't sure how far I'd go, I haven't been in the water since last Thursday. I changed and got quickly into the water, 4ºC it said on the board but this was from Boxing Day and it's been quite mild since then. It wasn't too bad, Ian, Hilary and another wetsuit were in the water. I did six lengths and thought about doing two more but instead I grabbed the camera to get a couple of shots of Hilary finishing her swim.

Lots of leaves but I like them, gives it that real outdoor feeling. Hopped out of the water and went to the sauna to get warm and have a chat. Gus had cooked Christmas dinner for twenty two! and Ian's daughter is in the ROH production of Die Meistersinger which I'm going to on New Years day. I'll look out for her in At three wearing a green smock and a red hat!

The mild weather allowed the well wrapped coffee drinkers to sit outside and chat while they added up the distance to Latvia, we've done over 900 miles so far.

Giles was adding to this distance with a bit of butterfly, he just looks like a splash in this picture but I liked the sun on the water, it looks like a lake.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The hangover

Not quite as cold, no ice today. A slow cycle to the lido. Elizabeth overtook me on her bike, racing to get back in the water feeling a bit better than yesterday. I was feeling rather tired, only Tuesday and I've already had too many parties. The water is supposed to be up to 3ºC, good to swim lengths again. Four was plenty followed by a sauna.Chatted with Batch, Elizabeth and Vince then off to work, head feeling a little bit better.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Iceberg alert

A cold but beautiful sunrise as I made my way up to the lido. A heavy frost on the common and ice on the lower third of the pool. The sun looked magnificent coming up through the trees. The water was a chilly 2.5ºC according to the lifeguards.

After a mishap with my signature trunks (They were still damp) I had to wear the b-team today. Widths in the deep end are permitted when there's ice around, so I changed and made my way up the pool just as Carl, Kate arrived. They had cakes with them for afters, an incentive to get in the water.

Feeling rather cold I told the lifeguard 'I don't want to get in', 'neither do I' he replied. So I plunged in and started to swim. Not too bad really, quite different doing widths, lots of tumble turns. Twelve was enough and then I made my was to the steps and out. Ian was waiting for Pip who was going to show up in ten minutes.

Only Batch in the sauna when I went in but in the next ten minutes it filled up with all the other dippers. I was running late as usual so had my shower and left, once again without time for a cake. Ian was still waiting for Pip, perhaps he cycles the same speed that he swims.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Snowmen only

Someone decided to give this cubicle door a festive make over. The early morning had been sunny and crisp with a hard frost but by the time I swam it had mostly clouded over. The past couple of evening have left the water at just over 3ºC.
The Sunday racers had all left apart from Pip, he told me he'd done four lengths but Carl had done six. Four seemed like the sensible option. I had to delay getting in while Dr Andy made his way down the steps and swam past, I hope I can still swim when I'm his age.
I was puffing slightly as I swam but I felt I had a good rhythm. I find this happens when the water is really cold, breathing in is a gasp so you have to puff the air out. In the end I did six anyway, without having to rush to work I enjoyed a good twenty minute sauna.
I saw Fran again, she told me Alfonso had been on Skype telling her how hot it is on Mexico.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Through wind and rain and snow

A dark black sky, rain then sleet and snow. It was hard just getting to the lido through the weather. It wasn't icy but the wind was bitter and the idea of getting in the water wasn't very appealing. Why do I do this? I was thinking as I walked down the side of the pool. Vince and Elizabeth were also contemplating the prospect.

I couldn't hang around, the air was colder than the water which was just under 4ºC. Quick change and get in, the water thick, the sleet still falling. Elizabeth took some pictures here, thanks! Six lengths was plenty then into the sauna. Although the water is very cold I'm not in it that lon, perhaps nine minutes. The sauna soon warms you through. It's when the water is at 10ºC and you swim a mile that the cold goes to your core.

Elizabeth swimming a width after her sauna, something I never want to try. The sauna had been busy. Panto King Chris swam for the first time in a while, four lengths which was impressive. The weather hadn't got any better but it was time to go to work.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Far and near

A late start, recovering from the night before. The sun coming through once again, the light in the morning has been wonderful this week. Stephanie is leaving but Vince, Hilary, Sue and Batch are all about to swim.

Hilary a blur in the distance, beyond the dead leaves and twigs. The water has dropped a bit more, just over 4ºC according to David.

Vince in extreme close up. In fact you can just glimpse Hilary on the left as well. I set my goal of six, not easy, I'm tired. Rush from the pool to the sauna, Elizabeth is in there along with everyone else, She kindly gave me her place on the top shelf to thaw out.
Showered and changed the sun now bright above the trees I saw Nando and Carl arrive before I left.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

There and back again

Overcast, the moon still shining low in the sky as I left home. The wind had dropped and it wasn't frosty. Entering the lido is like sneaking into another world, it was calm, quiet, the light seemed brighter. Michael was just setting off on his swim, he starts at the steps nearest his locker, swims to the deep end, returns to the shallow end then back to the steps.

Breaststroke down the pool, getting a picture is hard when you can't see what you're picturing. Crawl on the way back up, I love the glassy sheen to the water with leaves dotted all over it.

I then got in and did eight, the water was heavy. Ian started at the same time as me in wetsuit and boots. I think the boots slowed him down, I expected him to cruise up to me as a pace setter but I left him behind. He doesn't like to tumble turn in his wetsuit because water goes down the neck.
The sauna subject was your strangest relative, if you don't have one it must be you!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Currant bun

A stormy dark night, black clouds and rain when I got up. I thought about not swimming this morning. Full wet weather gear on I left the house and the rain stopped, by the time I reached Tooting the clouds had broken and the glow of the sun could be seen.

The water was strangely calm reflecting the trees in the early morning light. Elizabeth and Vince arrived when I did and Kate and Carl were already changing. Expect lots of blogging today from Elizabeth and Carl.

A distant Carl swimming in the leaves. Carl was first in on his way to ten lengths ,we all soon followed. Did the water feel a little warmer than yesterday? After my first two lengths I saw Kate get in, I then swam six more lengths to four of hers. I got out but Kate carried on doing a total of eight as well, but spending much longer in the water than me. We repaired to the sauna to warm up again and gossip.

After sauna and shower I snapped this picture of Ian wetsuited and covering the distance. I changed and chatted with Margy, who'd done her swim but spurns the sauna. Just as I was leaving Carl emerged from his cubicle with a tin of currant buns Kate had made, Elizabeth and I shared one as I rushed off to work. Delicious!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cold water addiction

Too cold for pictures, no time to post either. Six lengths under 5ºC then 20 minutes in the sauna. We sat a chatted about how good the water makes you feel despite the cold. If swimming one length were the equivelent harm of smoking a cigarette would you still swim?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday rush

Sunny and cold but no frost. Bought some Christmas cards from Sue with one of Elizabeths winter lido scenes on it. An eight length swim followed by a sauna. Suddenly it's nine o'clock and time to go to work, such a busy day I've had no time to post a message until now.

It's really too cold for sub-aquatic photography now, the sun was bright and the sky was blue but at 5.5ºC that water isn't very warm.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Great eight

I realised yesterday how good six length was. I felt warm and energetic afterwards, so much better than pushing too much now the water is that much colder. Today would be eight on the eighth, a couple more couldn't do any harm. Not many photo opportunities and at 5.5ºC rather too cold to stop. Eight was excellent, followed by a good sauna. A new person called Peter was in the sauna chatting a lo. When Barbera left the door handle fell off! Vince put it back on and John gave it a builderly thump to keep it in place.

Taken pool side this is another John, a bit of a blur but I like his arm and the line which give it a bit of dynamism.

A double image of Alfonso, he arrived a little later than me so we didn't swim together today. I wonder how many lengths he managed?

And the other way. Pip arrived as I was leaving all set to do ten, I'm sure he could do more if he chatted less.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Six of the best

Late. Chain came off my bike. Sun a bit higher, not quite so cold the wind picking up a bit. I set my sights on six today, that'll give me sauna time to spare. Wait for a width swimmer to clear my path before I launch myself into the water, is it colder? I don't think so.

Elizabeth and Ian racing toward me, if I'd been a bit earlier you might have seen more of Elizabeth but you only get one chance in the water and I couldn't hang around.

Diving down I take a picture of Sue, her arm a blur as it moves through the water, the wind had blown a lot of leaves into the pool. Turning around I stayed under to catch Ian again.

I like the way the steps reflect upon the surface. I kept to plan and finished the six, it makes such a difference to half the distance. Within about five minutes I was too hot in the sauna and had to move down a level.

As I changed I watch the lifeguards get out a long net, what or who were they hoping to catch? The water was empty as they dragged it the length of the pool removing the majority of the leaves. The wind was still blowing so they might have to do a few more passes, it's hard work being a lifeguard.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Frozen planet

I was watching the David Attenborough series last night, I didn't expect to wake up to a mini version of it in London. The first heavy frost and another clear skied morning with the sun inching slowly above the trees. The temperature on the board said 6ºC, I thought it must be a mistake, it can't have gone down 1ºC in a day.

The leaves in the gutter were frosted and wet foot prints were turning icy beside the pool. Carl is away but Kate was early visitor again, I saw her taking my picture as I got in and started swimming, perhaps she will post it here later. Of course it was cold but it didn't really feel much different to yesterday, too cold to stop for pictures but I saw Elizabeth doing her thorough documentation of the days activities which I'm sure she will post here. The water felt heavy, the first two are hard, the up to four isn't much fun then I start to get a rhythm, six, eight, ten, my hands are numb but make good paddles. Sue and Ian set off too far in front of me, I can't catch them but try, the black lines come into view, nearly done now, twelve. I touch the end of the pool, the steel rail is freezing, too cold to pull myself onto the side so I take the steps and dash to the sauna.

A good twenty minutes sauna, I found out a lot of people have eaten curry for breakfast (not today though) but only David has had lettuce and jam sandwiches. Kate has baked a cake but I won't have time to try it. Shower, change, David takes the temperature, it really is 6ºC.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Feel the drop

Clear and cold, it would be sunny but the sun hasn't got above the tree line yet. We are down to 7ºC, this is a new level of cold. I feel alright plunging in, the neoprene cap works it's magic. Fingers soon freeze but it's my armpits that feel really cold, did you ever have frozen armpits?

Michael arrived just before me this morning. He and Vince were in the water when I got in, it was really too cold to stop but I grabbed a couple of pictures while I had the chance.

Vince is a distant blob, I couldn't wait for him to get closer. Sue got in toward the end of my swim and we did a speedy length together, made it twelve lengths in total enough for today. The first ten minutes in the sauna I was still cold, a little bit of a shiver before I felt better again, another ten minutes and I was getting too hot. I doubt I'll do another mile this year.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Accidental mile

I got to the pool about 11ish, the racing crowd had mostly left. Stephanie was walking around the water trying to warm up, she told me it was 7.5ºC and that the half degree drop was really noticeable.  She had done eight length and was taking a break before doing a second eight. I said I planned on twelve but would see once I was in the water.
Perhaps I'd prepared myself for a bigger shock but it didn't seem too bad, twelve came and I knew I could do more so fourteen, sixteen, oh well might as well do eighteen. In no rush I had a good sauna to warm up again, had a really good shiver to begin with even though my limbs were soon hot. We all had a good gossip and I met Alfonso's wife Fran for the first time.

Friday, 2 December 2011

December mile

I did it! A December mile. Some people had no doubt that I would but it's not been that easy for me. Thanks to Elizabeth who took some pictures of  me here. The water was hovering around 8ºC, not too bad but pretty cold for the almost half hour it takes to swim eighteen lengths. It was my personal goal, a target to reach which as much as anything made me keep my distance up through November. December is always a difficult month for swimming, too much distraction, I'm very busy at work and the party season has already started.

I took pictures on the way! I don't know this swimmers name but he waved at me when took to the depths to get this photo, quite a funny shot don't you think?

With the lido crawl hat I at first thought this was Sue but actually it's Claire, swimming beautifully, I love the perpective along the side of the pool.

Later Sue did swim with me for a couple of lengths before joining Ian in the water. Instead of diving down I took this shot standing in the water. Ian is hiding behind a leaf but you can see he has a really good roll to his stroke. I had a good sauna afterwards and was quite late getting to work. I will reduce my distance now but do my best to help with reaching Latvia.
It seems Carl and Pip egged each other on to great distances yesterday, read about it here. Just for the record I'll not be trying to beat them and won't be swimming in the nude either!
I'm posting this on the Friday because I didn't get time at work yesterday. I went to a party last night and forgot to take my swimming things home from work so no swim this morning but don't worry, I'll be back.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

November statistics

The month ends with a beautiful sunny morning but it takes longer and longer before that light hits the water at this time of year. Being clear it was also cold, perhaps not as parky as Monday but certainly down on yesterday. I don't know if it's the water temperature or the fact I set myself a goal of a December mile but I really had to push myself to swim today. Luckily after the first eight length Alfonso joined me in the water, he was only going to do six but stayed in for eight, we had a good pace and it helped the lengths go by. We saw Sue set off with an unwetsuited Ian, he managed two lengths but Sue carried on. She wasn't far ahead of us but going at quite a speed.

I still had a couple more to do to make eighteen. I managed to also get this shot of speedy Sue. The light was now over the pool, the cubicle doors looked amazing reflecting their colours into the water.

See how clear the sky is but the deep end is still in shadow, it takes ages for the sun to get over those trees.

Time for the November statistics:
In November 2011 the water temperature ranged from 13ºC to 7.5ºC
I swam a total of 446 lengths and 2 widths
Which is 44666 yards, about 25 miles or 40 Km
I did 24 seperate swims including the Serps gala
Longest single swim 22 lengths, shortest 2 widths at the gala
Scores on the doors: nine blue, four red, five green and four yellow.

Another mild month but cold enough for the sauna to make a welcome return. I'm glad to still be doing a mile in the water at this time of year and hope to do a December mile tomorrow. This week has already been much cooler and we'll see what December brings.