Posts filed under ‘Week 11’

31/11/08 [77]: bloody sunday

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 77 days, 1374 lengths, only 42 lengths to go, £585.00 sponsorship

Ahead of today’s swim, my plan for finishing this task was for a nice quiet 20 lengths or so today, a normal (but now reasonably leisurely) 30 or so lengths tomorrow morning and then the last 10 or so lengths on Tuesday evening followed by a celebratory meal accompanied by a nice cold beer. What could possible interrupt such a calmly thought out and measured plan?

Well, on arrival at the pool this afternoon there was a notice up saying that part of the pool was taken up with a party (for children). Hmmm… part of the pool? More like over half. So, that meant that I was forced outside which was a pretty intimidating experience given that it is really cold at the moment. I think I have mentioned before that swimming outside in such conditions has something of an Icelandic feel about it, with a gentle mist of water vapour rising continuously from the surface of the pool, but normally the water at least seems warm, whereas today it was decidedly cold. Still, being pushed outside to do ~20 lengths isn’t really such a big deal and I duly swam the 25 lengths that I needed (25 outdoor = 20 indoor). What made things out of the ordinary was the fact that I went to the pool with my youngest daughter and one of her friends, Chloe, with the idea that the two of them would amuse themselves while I swam up and down. This part actually went to plan but the excitement started properly when we left the pool and made our way in and past the indoor pool (and the hoards of screaming children and shocked looking parents). While I was swimming, poor Chloe had somehow managed to cut her foot on the pool steps – “it doesn’t hurt”, “it’s okay”, “it’s not bleeding much”… But as I followed the children in I noticed that with each step the tell-tale smudge of red on the ground grew larger, brighter and more shocking until by the time Chloe had gone all around the pool and was by the entrance to the changing room there were real puddles of blood marking her progress. We grabbed one of the lifeguards and after using up an unfeasible amount of paper towel to staunch the flow a couple of plasters were applied to what was a surprisingly long and deep cut. Chloe was fine, but the bloody trail was really very spectacular and if it had been me I would have been making the kind of considerable fuss that only a man could make in such circumstances. (Obviously, I have exaggerated a little, especially if you are reading this and happen to be Chloe’s mum…)

So, I got my 20 lengths in and now have just 42 to go. I have pulled a muscle in my left arm a little (in my desperation to combat the cold and get moving quickly) but I’m not expecting this to cause any problems tomorrow (although wouldn’t it be exciting if I got injured at this stage…). Here’s the timswim worm for the end of Week 11:

timswim worm Week 11

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November 30, 2008 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

27/11/08 [74]: too many titles

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 74 days, 1354 lengths, 62 lengths to go, £550.00 sponsorship

Whilst I swim I usually think about what I will write in my next blog entry and try to come up with a title for the next entry. Today, I found that I had a problem. With the challenge almost complete and only a few more blog entries remaining there were simply too many topics spinning through my head that I still wan to cover. So today’s entry is titled “too many titles” because it could have been called “under 100“, “record session“, “swimming v marking” or “prize time” to name just four possibilities.

For the record, I swam 50 lengths today. My original target was 32 to get my overal total down to the nice round figure of 80, but as I swam I realised that I probably didn’t have another opportunity to achieve a personal milestone that I have been thinking about for some time, namely to swim 50 lengths in one go. So I ploughed on and decided to ignore the chance that I might get caught in traffic on the way home. 12 lengths into the swim I passed the first of today’s key points, namely getting the total down below 100 lengths, then ultimately (and relatively easily really) I hit my revised target of 50 lengths. I am also pleased to report that the BMW 5 Series (see yesterday’s entry had done the decent thing and parked elsewhere…).

While I was swimming I was reflecting on the fact that today I will be working my way through a big pile of marking (57 first year scientific experiment reports) and considering the similarity of that task with the swimming that I have been doing. Both tasks involve repeating an action which is relatively straightforward over and over again and the challenge comes from keeping going and ensuring that each individual length or marked piece of work is achieved effectively and with consistent quality. Repeating the task over and over again introduces negative factors such as boredom and fatigure and an ever increasing risk of succumbing to distractions. But having successfully demonstrated to myself the “power of small” in the context of my swimming (one length at a time) it will be interesting to see if I can transfer this across to my marking activity and perform this more efficiently also.

There have now been six entries to the Limerick competition I set a few of days ago. I think that all of these are excellent because the Limerick really wasn’t that easy to complete due to the lack of words that rhyme with “Tim” (especially as “swim” was already used up on the second line). As with any competition there are always losers as well as winners so I’d like to commiserate with my Mum and the Norwich contigent of our family who despite sending in fine entries didn’t quite reach the pinnacle. In the end I am going to award two special prizes. One prize goes to my youngest daughter (aged 10) for her entry, the first one sent in, and reflects her overall enthusiasm towards my task and the encouragement she has given me throughout (plus, life here wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t make her a winner…). There is one condition for her prize, and that is that she only gets it if she reads this entry because I am not going to tell her. The other prize, which goes to the originator of my favourite entry overall goes to Roger from RS Aqua Ltd. I don’t actually know Roger but he has picked up on my challenge via some professional email correspondence we have had and for some strange reason seems to have enjoyed reading this blog – so much so that he has claimed that my entry on buoyancy a few weeks back left him needing to go for a drink after work (yeah right…) and has even looked in on the blog whilst on a work trip in Shanghai. Roger has also been a generous sponsor. My favourite limerick is his second entry (the fish one). So Roger, your prize is two-fold; first you get a really, really valuable advertisement for your company RS Aqua Ltd and much more importantly to the work of the charity Epilepsy Bereaved (this link explains why); second, as the overall timswim limerick competition winner you now have an excuse to go out and celebrate…

November 27, 2008 at 10:49 am 1 comment

26/11/08 [73]: old friend returns?

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 73 days, 1304 lengths, 112 lengths to go, £540.00 sponsorship

30 lengths this morning, but imagine my dismay when I turned into the car park to find that in the whole of the area where I usually park there were only 4 cars (with ~100 spaces) but one of these was parked in my favourite space. To make matters worse it was a brand new BMW 5 Series. (Check back to the Lucky Lockers entry a few days back to find out what I am going on about here). Fortunately, I managed to get my favourite corner in the changing room and Locker Number 2.

Several weeks ago I wrote about how I had my towel “stolen” while I was swimming and had to dry myself with a very small hand-towel. Now, during the period since then I have spied a blue towel that looks very, very similar to the one that was taken hanging up by the side of the pool as I swim. This towel was there again today and as I was showering after my swim there was a bloke drying himself with it. In fact, he wasn’t just drying himself with it – don’t worry, this isn’t about to get all graphic – but was almost flaunting the fact that he was using this towel, wrapping himself up in it so that the maximum possible area of towel remained visible, smoothing it down, holding it up in front of himself. I couldn’t help feeling that i) it was my towel and ii) he knew it was my towel and iii) he knew that I knew that it was my towel and iv) he was making sure that I knew that he knew that I knew that it was once my towel but wasn’t any longer. I don’t know, perhaps I was being over-sensitive, but I’ll tell you something else – he left the showers before I did and when I got back to the car park, the BMW 5 Series wasn’t there anymore…

On a separate point, I’ve received two more entries to the Limerick Competition – I think I will probably judge the entries and award prizes tomorrow. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that I suspect that someone is going to be delighted that he’ll have an excuse to go for a celebratory drink after work…

November 26, 2008 at 6:40 pm Leave a comment

24/11/08 [71]: under 150…

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 71 days, 1274 lengths, 142 lengths to go, £530.00 sponsorship

34 lengths this morning, I’m down below 150 lengths to go, and look at the size of that little green bar at the top-right above. I am now down to the last 10% and have to average 11 lengths per day (but as I know that I can’t swim tomorrow then this will pop back up to 12 lengths a day before I next swim). It is interesting to feel how much more tired my legs are today, having swum twice in less than 18 hours. I should only need a maximum of five more trips to the pool now so sadly that means I only have limited scope for more blog entries. I still want to write about inspiration and also the act of writing the blog itself and I still need to pick up on one or two items from past entries such as last week’s limerick competition (for which there are now three entries – go on, have a go…)

November 24, 2008 at 12:23 pm Leave a comment


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