Katy...ish

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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 »

Forest of Dean 10k

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I ran this race last year, when it was called the Skechers trail run.  New sponsor this year, so new name - Salming trail run. The course had changed slightly, bringing it to 10.5k (with 2 and 4 lap options added if you wanted to run a half/full marathon).  There was also a 5k option, and before the main race started, a 1km kids route.

The weather was warm and dry and sunny!  Last year I ran the (downhill) first 3km a bit too quickly, and this year I intentionally did the same as I knew the hill in the second half would slow my pace.

finish line

I was running with my soft bottle so didn't stop at the first water station. Grabbed a cup of what I thought was just water at the second, and it turned out to be something vaguely lemon flavoured. An unpleasant surprise. Yuck. Good thing I still had a bit left in my bottle to wash it down with...

After about 7km my right achilles/calf decided to start being a bit niggly, so I slowed my pace. My time for 10k turned out about a minute slower than last year, which is a bit annoying but I'm not unhappy about it!

What is disappointing is the lack of photos of me. Especially as the photographer took half a dozen or so of the lady who crossed the line just ahead of me..... Maybe I looked particularly sweaty and awful or something ;)

ice cream and a medal

Anyway, once again I had an ice cream afterwards.  Does that make it a tradition?  Let's see what happens in 2019!

Kymin Dash

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It's April, which means the clocks have gone forwards, my skiing kit has been packed away until next winter (boo), and I can slowly drag myself out of semi-hibernation.

This year I've set myself the challenge of getting the Strava 10k run badge each month. So far so good - four down, eight to go! April's was also my first race of the year - the Kymin Dash.

Having grown up in Monmouth, I know the Kymin pretty well.  We used to walk up it quite often with Scouts, including in the dark, and I still look out for the white tower if I'm driving back from Wales along the A40.
That said, it's about 4 years since I last walked up there, and I remember the footpath (Wysis Way/Offa's Dyke) being rather steep and leaving me out of breath.  So running up it?  Yeah, that'll be a great idea...

kymin dash start line.
waiting to start

So many people in running club kit! I did feel a bit out of place as a non-club runner, and I think this is probably also why I had a recycled Gloucester marathon number/chip instead of the ankle tags that most others had.

I started near the back as I knew I wasn't going to be sprinting the 2km of uphill!  Instead I did a mixture of slow jog and power walk, which seemed to be a popular technique.  The road isn't as steep as the footpath, so it wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting. Along the way they'd put out plenty of motivational signs - "it's only a hill" etc, and I was very pleased to reach the top and the first water station - complete with jelly babies!!  I ran carrying my soft flask because that's easier to deal with than paper cups.

Once the hill was out of the way I was able to speed up a bit and, as the paths widened and the crowd thinned out, even did some overtaking.  I did have to stop and wait at the road crossing, which lost me about 3 minutes but isn't exactly the end of the world.

When we entered Highmeadow Woods we were greeted with a lovely muddy bog, which gave me flashbacks to doing Forest Warriors a few years back. *shudder*.  There was also a downhill section that was reasonable muddy and narrow, but apart from those bits (and the walk to the start line!) the course was all tarmac and hard forest roads.  I'm still pleased I didn't wear my shiny new shoes though, haha

me running.  photo from facebook.
A rare photo where I am actually sort of smiling - and overtaking the lady on the left!  Photo by Rod, from facebook.

There weren't medals (unless you actually won, of course) but I do now have a lovely purple technical tshirt.  We were also handed a Wild Trail bar at the finish line, but that's long gone... continue reading »