Aspire Channel Swim 2014

Medal:  Yes

Required distance:  22 miles

Actual distance covered:  37.4 miles

IMG_20150321_171444Ok, so this isn’t really a race, and it’s definitely not running, but it’s the first medal I’ve received since September, so cut me some slack.

A few weeks P.I. (post injury), I realized that I was going to have to make some drastic changes to my weekly workouts that were:

a.) not running, therefor possible for me to actually do; and

b.) taxing enough to burn enough calories to stop me from tormenting defenseless buttons once more:

19 year olds should not be twice the size of their moms.

19 year olds should not be twice the size of their moms.

After deciding on swimming, I became that person who gets involved in every possible forum that has to do with swimming.  This is where I stumbled upon a thread on the Fetch website dedicated to the Aspire Channel Swim challenge.  Despite already being two weeks into the 8 week challenge, I signed up, because all finishers’ were promised a medal, and I am weak.

Although not exactly challenging – you just swim a total of 22 miles in any pool, in however many sessions it takes you, at whatever pace suits you – it was still a size-able distance to swim, and I’m not sure I would have made the time to complete it if I still had running.  It did, however, create a spark of enjoyment for swimming because I was working towards something instead of just treading water with my training until I could run again.

Well, despite my complaints about swimming laps being about as interesting as watching someone in a coma attempt to knit a scarf, it turns out it ain’t half bad when you’re with other people.  And there I was thinking swimming couldn’t be a social thing.

Since the Channel Swim I’ve joined the local triathlon club that runs the lessons I’ve been going to twice a week, and I’ve started to notice some improvements in speed.  In December, my average 1000 meters would take around 20 minutes, and my fastest 5k swim was 1:42:00.  Yesterday, I swam 4k after work and was pleasantly surprised to see 1:13:39 come up as my total time.  Even if I took a full 25 minutes to swim another 1000 meters, I would have ended up with a 1:3x:xx time for my 5k.  Clear progress!

I’ve also joined a new ‘Fetch challenge’ to swim the length of the Thames – 210 miles – in 2015.  I’m at just over 65 miles so far, so definitely on track.

As concrete proof that I’ve taken swimming on as a steady mistress, Ian pulled through on his birthday promise, and my very first wetsuit arrived recently.  I’m pretty attached to it already, partly because the brand happens to be my childhood swim team’s name.  It’s totally normal to wear a wetsuit as lounge-wear, right?  Don’t answer that.

IMG_20150321_171727Anyway, the wetsuit will be necessary in a couple of months when the tri club starts outdoor swim training, which in turn will help me prepare for an open water 5k and a river 14k this summer.

Although I doubt my love for swimming will ever eclipse my love for running, I will openly admit that I am warming to it.  And speaking of eclipses, we were lucky enough in Scotland to be treated to a 94% solar eclipse yesterday morning.  I let my class out of the fire escape to soak up the experience, and managed to snap a single photo in between shouting calmly advising everyone not to look directly at the sun, despite no less that 15 reminders before we had even left the classroom…  Although my shot is very atmospheric, and caught the parking lot lights on because it was so dark, it sadly did not capture the natural beauty of this significant event.

IMG_20150321_171934Luckily, everyone took it upon themselves to upload half a million or so photos onto Facebook for my benefit.  I have no idea who took this photo, I just downloaded it because I liked it, and now I can’t find it anywhere to add a source, so if it’s yours, sorry.


Found out who took the photo: Isla Robertson

Maybe it’s about time to mount my medal rack in my new flat.

13 thoughts on “Aspire Channel Swim 2014

  1. Can’t believe that is you age 19!
    Photo of eclipse is taken by Isla Robertson, I saw it on Aberdeen in Colour on FB.

      • Give me swimming over running any day of the week – but this tightwad notes that whilst running is free with the biggest urban park in Europe a five minute jog up the road, the baths are THREE POUNDS EIGHTY per session. So I run 3 times a week and save more than a tenner to buy beer. Salt in the wound – the baths are FREE TO USE between 9 and 10am – like what normal person with a job of work is free then?

  2. Great running achievement after all the crap injury stuff – and the swimming, too. Bet when you were the size of a barn at 19 you would never in a million years think that 10k was a cop out due to injury. BTW – think I had your mum’s blouse – she looks better in it that I ever did.

    I guess that I’m going to have to banish you from my friends list on DM and add your on my Feedly list instead, which means I will only have 5 friends on DM – so unbalanced on the side bar. *tut*.

    • My mom sometimes gives me (stretchy) clothes she bought that she finds she is “drowning in”. You know how stretchy clothes become a bit see-through when they’re at max-give? Yeah, I’m pretty much toeing that fine line between acceptable and obscene when I try them on. And that’s now.
      As for my DM departure – I began to hate logging in to find that there were no numbers being posted (by me), and it was basically a reminder of why I was pissed off. Jan 1 I started logging with Fetch, and it’s too much effort to switch back (plus there’s loads more detail).

  3. If I lived closer I would swim ALL THE TIME with you. Even though I’m in the pool daily I don’t actually swim that much! Still plucking up the courage to do an open water swim. Need to borrow a wet suit first to see if I like it as I don’t want to spend a fortune on one and then never use it! Could be tempted into the Great Scottish Swim this year though as currently it doesn’t clash with anything! 😀

    • Go for it! Would be great to have a familiar face at some of these things. I know what you mean about the wetsuit though. Those things are not cheap.

  4. Since I have no real idea of how long miles are when swum (just that they’re LONG), I had to do some Ironman-level maths to figure this out. If a 2.4 mile swim corresponds to a marathon, then one mile in the water is equal to 10.9 miles of running. So this 22-mile swim would be the running equivalent of just over 240 miles.

    F me that’s an ass-ton of miles. So yeah, a medal most deserved!

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