26/11/08 [73]: old friend returns?

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% 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

23/11/08 [70]: invisibility cloak

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% days:    
totals: 70 days, 1240 lengths, 176 lengths to go, £520.00 sponsorship

30 lengths today in a crowded Sunday afternoon pool. Rumour has it that I look a bit like Harry Potter (I have dark hair, wear glasses and, strangely enough, I do actually have a small scar on my forehead…) but today I started to wonder whether I might actually be Master Potter and had forgotten to take off my invisibility cloak. There I was swimming lengths and taking care to steer a path avoiding everyone else, only to find that everyone else in the pool appeared to be oblivious to my presence and seemed hell-bent on leaping randomly into my path (or throwing small children through the air to land in the pool just ahead of me). Fortunately, after a short spell of this, the slow lane became free and and I was able to swim in freedom.

There are now two weeks left in which to complete this challenge. I have swum 1240 lengths which is 87.6% of the required distance with 83.33% of the time gone. I have averaged 17.7 lengths per day and so continuing this rate of progress I will finish on the 79th day, which is Tuesday 2nd December (with 5 days to spare). I have to complete 12.6 lengths per day from now on. There is just one cause for concern at the moment, namely that every other member of my family has suffered or is suffering with a bad cold so if it hits me I might lose a few days. Still, there’s nothing like making things more exciting eh? The timswim worm shows my overall progress. This week (Week 10) has actually been the third worst week so far in terms of distance covered.

timswim worm Week 10

November 23, 2008 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

20/11/08 [67]: lucky lockers

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 67 days, 1210 lengths, 206 lengths to go, £500.00 sponsorship

34 lengths this morning – I would have done a few more but I thought it was later than it actually was and I didn’t want to get caught in the pre-work/school traffic on my way home.

Today I was reflecting on how when you do an activity on a regular basis you tend to like it if things follow a nice stable routine (well I do anyway). So, I was delighted again this morning when I entered the changing room and found that my favourite corner was free (in on the left with plenty of bench space). Even better, I was able to use my favourite locker (Number 2) which is the one closest to my favourite space. Number 2 is the best one as far as I am concerned but its next-door neighbour Number 4 is pretty good also. I don’t like the odd numbers (the top row) at all. If I can’t get my favourite corner then I’m happy if I get my second favourite corner (in on the right) but this one is a lot more cramped than the other one. If I am forced across this side then it is some compensation if I can use locker Number 42 (which was my age when I started this challenge off and is also, of course, the answer to life, the universe and everything…). Strangely, Number 42 is not located right next to my second favourite corner but four lockers along – the magic of the number makes up for the extra distance.

Other parts of my routine for morning swims include – one glass of water and a banana to eat before I leave home; Gordon Sparks (Radio Devon Plymouth Breakfast Show) on the radio on the way to and from the pool and parking in a particular spot in the car park (it’s hard to describe which one and, in any case, if I told you you might park there just to see if you can get a reaction out of me – grrr…..).

This is all normal behaviour isn’t it?

November 20, 2008 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

19/11/08 [66]: limerick competition

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 66 days, 1176 lengths, 240 lengths to go, £500.00 sponsorship

I’ve had a bad start to this week by not swimming on Monday and Tuesday, but today I was back in the pool and added another 40 lengths to the total. In some ways the challenge has become much harder now that I have nearly completed the full distance because it is more difficult to get motivated and get out of the house and up to the pool – a bit of mind over matter is what is needed now.

Today I thought I would not write much of an entry but instead test my readers (as if there are some…) by setting you a limerick competition. Here are the first two lines – now it’s your turn to finish the limerick off in suitable fashion. Just send me your ending by leaving a comment on this entry. All entries that can be published will be and if there are any that I really like you might even get a prize…

A fellow from Plymouth called Tim
Decided to go for a swim

Over to you…

November 19, 2008 at 10:54 am 5 comments

16/11/08 [63]: vote for Archie

% swum:    
% days:    
totals: 63 days, 1136 lengths, 280 lengths to go, £500.00 sponsorship

A Sunday afternoon swim today and because of this the indoor pool was very busy so I went outside and put in the equivalent of 24 lengths. I am now into the last 20% of the swim and should be through in about nine more sessions. The main thing I need to guard against now is the feeling that I am already there and so I can ease off, but if I think back to the start of the challenge and the effort that went into the first 20% of the swim then this should keep me going.

I don’t have any swimming related comments to make today but occasionally you see something that makes you smile and this has happened to me over the last few days and so I thought I would share this instead. Every year, the local newspaper in Plymouth, The Herald, runs a competition called Baby of the Year. For this competition, the babies don’t actually have to do anything except have their photograph taken and look cute so it’s not much of a competition really. Imagine how much more interesting it would be if there were various rounds that the babies had to compete in. One round could be to see how many valuable ornaments each baby can break in a 10 minute spree around their house. Then there could be the noise round, where the baby that made the loudest noise would win the most points. There could be a poo production round and, of course, a round in which the babies have to try to deprive their parents of as much sleep as possible over a one week period. The finale could be a round in which the babies have to try to be sick over an adult in the most embarrassing way possible without the adult noticing. That would be much more interesting surely. Anyway, in the competition this year there are hundreds and hundreds of babies and the local paper has produced a supplement in which there are pictures of all the entrants grinning out at the reader. It is really quite an extraordinary summary of the productivity of Plymouth over the last year or two… Now I am not actually going to vote, but if I was, then my vote would go to baby number 2137, an entrant in the 10-18 month age group. I have selected him not because he is the cutest, or the funniest looking, or the most smiley, or the one with the most interesting hair, or because he is a distant relation or the baby of a friend (he’s not, I have no idea who he is or where he is from), but because I absolutely love his name – Archie Pickles. So if you do fancy voting (unfortunately it’s not an online competition) and can’t decide who to select, vote for Archie…

One last thing – here’s the timswim worm, progressing upwards faster than the Indian cricket team’s score against England last week, and that’s saying something:

timswim worm Week 9

November 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

14/11/08 [61]: £500 and counting

% swum:    
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totals: 61 days, 1112 lengths, 304 lengths to go, £500.00 sponsorship

Wow – I was going to write a bit today about how my efforts here seem to be serving as an inspiration for others to get into the pool, but after 32 lengths this morning I have just logged on to write today’s entry, checked my Just Giving page, and discovered that the sponsorship total has been bumped up the £500 mark (thanks Matthew). When I set out on this challenge I didn’t really have any idea how much money I might raise so I plucked the figure of £500 out of thin air. It seemed large enough to be useful and a challenge to achieve but small enough not to result in inevitable failure. Early on in the challenge my children kept telling me that the total would never reach £500 (thanks kids…) but it has steadily climbed and thanks to everyone’s generosity we’ve made it. So now every donation is a bonus – I’ll keep putting in the lengths up to my target and all of you can see how much you can smash the sponsorship target by. So, here are five hundred £s:

££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££
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££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££
££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££
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November 14, 2008 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

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