Katy...ish

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Highnam Court Run

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My 2019 goal of "get the Strava 10k badge each month" hit a bit of a stumbling block in June when half way through being one of Those People who run to parkrun, run parkrun, then run home (total of 12km) I fell and sprained my left ankle.  And then stupidly though I could 'walk it off' and kept going - managing a 31min parkrun, oops.  It didn't hurt that much until I took my shoe off - and then I couldn't walk for a couple of days.

So that ruled July out. I probably could have managed August but instead I was lazy and did barely 10k total all month.

And so to September, and the Highnam Court 10km run. Back on track with a race I've done twice before (in 2015 and 2016).  I wasn't expecting a great time (see aforementioned laziness) but was looking forward to it anyway as it's such a lovely location.

highnam court run 2018 medal

Sadly, the course had been changed a bit and despite the addition of an extra mini-lap, when I crossed the finish line my Garmin reported 56 minutes for just under 9km.  Disappointing.  Lots of others had recorded a similar distance, and there was a fair bit of grumbling going on.

Other differences this year - the race was in the afternoon rather than morning, and the 5k was done completely separately.  There certainly wasn't anywhere near as much of a bottleneck at the start as last time, which was an improvement.

I'd like to say I got a September 10k done later in the month but nope, still being lazy...  However I've entered another race at the end of October which is UKA certified, so it had better be the correct distance!

Plastic Patrol in Gloucester

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Recently I took part in a Plastic Patrol session in Gloucester Docks. The idea is simple - after a bit of stand up paddleboard tuition, you get to float around the waterways armed with a litter grabber and a bucket.

I joined the final session of the day, and was actually quite surprised to see how (relatively) little rubbish had been collected so far - apparently last year it was much worse. I was not surprised to see the obligatory rusty old bike that someone had fished out.

We paddled around the main basin, then down to just past Sainsbury's. I spent quite a while picking at this patch of water lilies.  It may look clean, but actually there was a lot of very small bits of rubbish caught up in it: polystyrene balls, bottle caps, chewing gum, and loads of corners torn off from opening chocolate bar wrappers. Yuck.

waterlilies
Just out of shot: a dead pigeon

This is everything I collected. It may not look impressive, but it all adds up.  I know about microplastics affecting the oceans etc, but it hadn't really sunk in that not-so-micro-but-still-small rubbish would be so plentiful closer to home.  Think carefully when opening your Mars bars!

me on a paddleboard

This was actually the first time I'd paddled in Gloucester Docks, despite having lived just a metres from the main basin for three years with a kayak stored in my living room!  I have been on the canal further down a few times though (including swimming around in the water doing safety training)

I've paddled boarded once or twice before, albeit several years ago, so it didn't take me long to decide I was going to try standing up rather than kneeling.  Grabbing tiny bits of litter was a bit more difficult from higher up, but it gave me a better view and took the pressure off my knees/quads - which were complaining rather a lot the next day.

Definitely want to do more in future!

Swimathon

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I can't remember where I first read about this year's Swimathon - so probably on Twitter - and I'm fairly sure my criteria for entering were "ooh, it's half price at the moment" and the thought of getting a participation medal for something other than running or cycling.

I don't swim that regularly, but when I do I tend to swim between 1 and 2km.  I chose the 2.5km distance (a nice round 100 lengths!) as it seemed like a sensible and achievable target - bearing in mind that I entered in January, and the event wasn't until the end of April. 

I then promptly forgot to do much in the way of 'training'.  Strava tells me I went swimming 4 times, and I did also make a token effort on holiday by swimming a few laps of the small grotto style pool on most days before heading to the hot tub/sauna/steam rooms...

swimathon medal, cap and my new goggles

I will now take a slight break in my waffley "I went swimming" write-up to tell you about two recent purchases that definitely enhanced the experience:

Prescription goggles

Oh wow these are amazing! I can't believe I've gone 20 years (if not longer... eek!) without being able to see when in the pool. I put off buying some for years on because I'm only an occasional swimmer, and I also wasn't sure how much of my vision they'd actually correct, thanks to astigmatism.

Turns out they're good enough - I wouldn't be able to drive or read a book, but I can clearly see the clock, the other people, and all the plasters and hair and general mank on the bottom of the pool.  Lovely. 

Garmin Vivosport

Towards the end of last year the battery life on my two year old Fitbit charge HR fell off a cliff, and the strap started to show a lot of signs of wear.  After christmas I replaced it with a Garmin Vivosport. Same size/form factor, but with added GPS and fully waterproof.

It's got various activity modes - walking, running, cycling, weights, cardio, 'other'... but no swim mode.  If I was swimming outdoors this wouldn't be a problem as I could use the GPS, but for indoor swimming it's only really useful for keeping track of time.

Originally I'd planned to participate in the official event, at GL1 in Gloucester.  But that clashed with the Outdoor Bloggers weekend, so I changed my entry to a 'mySwimathon' - ie swim my distance wherever I want, within about a two week window.  Very convenient, and I'm grateful that swapping was an option.

I swam at Leisure@Cheltenham, because it's less faff to park and seems to have more sensible opening hours.  I turned up on a Friday morning to find that the pool was in 33m mode, so had to do some quick mental maths to figure out how many lengths I needed to do.  75.75.  No longer such a nice round number - obviously I did round up... continue reading »