Friday, 30 December 2011
The Eve before New Years Eve
Another year over, another year perhaps a little wiser, the last swim of 2011 and a fond farewell for 3 months to a friend.
The wind kindly left us alone this morning, although it was still very cold in the air. The sea was relatively flat with some rogue waves coming along every now and again to add some sparkle to the morning dip. The team this morning was Sean, LB, Lindy, Martina, Charlotte, Bella, Mike, James and Moi; a nice crowd to bid a farewell to Dr Sean who is off tomorrow to far away climates for 3 months to stay with his daughter. Will miss the old boy.
I stayed in for some 15 minutes this morning and swam to the donut groin and back and then played a little in the waves before heading in with slightly bent hands – seas temp around 6.7 degrees – cold, yet a lot warmer than this time last year. Great shame Big Bob isn’t around at the moment because if he was here then no doubt he and I would have pushed each other for a longer swim today which would have been good for the body, mind and soul. It’s simply too easy when you’re unchallenged to just go in for a quick dip.
Afterwards it was a very nice trip to the Roaster to send Sean on his merry way. Then of to the office for our half day New Years Eve work. Not planning on much work today though as really it’s a sweeping up day for me, then an hour with Ross in the gym 11am – midday, then back to work to lock up and home for the rest of the year!
Come on 2012, let’s be having you.
Thursday, 29 December 2011
Who turned the wind machine on and then turned the temperature down?
It was certainly better this morning without the rain, but the wind……..!!!! Walking to the arch this morning I was tired but unlike yesterday wasn’t questioning why I was there; walking down the beach however I was most certainly questioning why! Just six of us this morning at 7.20am and we were literally pushing against a wall of wind just walking down the beach. Once again a low tide meant it was safe to go in, but the actual swimming was almost impossible. I don’t think I felt a stronger sea than that, it was a case of just trying to walk and keep going let alone swim. As for the cold, the wind had such a chill in it that my whole left hand side (the side that I kept to the waves) was actually starting to ach from the cold. I think the total time in the sea was no more than perhaps minutes, but it as enough to hurt. Getting back to the arch and into the shower I couldn’t even tell if the shower was hot or cold I was that numb. Saying that, the cold was definitely more from the wind that the sea as warming up was very quick (just a few minutes) unlike last year in the snow and ice which took ages to thaw out from.
Hopefully the wind will die down tomorrow and we can actually get some swimming in!
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Back to work today and therefore back to the sea (with some trepidation; it’s always like that when I’ve been away from the sea for a few days).
Walking down the seafront at 7.am in the dark and getting soaked and windswept I did get that “what on earth am I doing” feeling again. However once at the arch with my BSC friends it felt as naturally crazy as ever! Not a massive number down there, but enough to make it fun and have a laugh; LB, Lindy, Mike, Leo, James & Martina. Walking down the beach meant we were cold and soaked before we even hit the sea. The wind made the sea crazy rough, however it was such a very low tide that even though we did the long long walk we never made it out of our depth. I think the total swim (if one can call it a swim) was no more than maybe 10-12 minutes, but it was refreshing, mind clearing and fun. Great to be back to it.
As from next week I’ll be back to my channel training which means at least twice a week in the pool for 2 hr swims (including speed swimming – very needed), plus 2-3 gyms, 2 runs and 4 sea swims a week. In an odd way I’m looking forward to getting back to really challenging myself physically and wearing myself out; whilst still getting my early morning sea swims in (very important for the mind).
An exciting year ahead and definitely going to get my channel swim done and dusted and move on!!
Friday, 23 December 2011
And the slippery slope continues downwards, but in a good warming way.
Usual 7.20am swim to avoid the total dark. My cast today were LB, Lindy,
, Bella, Big Bob, Mike, Dentist James, Paul, Paul Smith and Moi; a pantomime cast if ever one existed. The sea was a lot wavier today, plenty of swells and decent size waves. Temperature UP to around 7.5 degrees though which was fab and the rain dribbling down on us as we walked down the beach. We all played mostly; Bob, Paul Smith, James and I heading off to the west groin and back and swimming around; actually really feeling it in my shoulders so must have been some strong swimming. Total swim was 15 minutes, which was a decent time. Charlotte
Afterwards back at the Roaster Paul did his Captain Morgan once again and we headed back to work with a warm glow. Nice as it is, we really must make this a Christmas only treat!
Doubtful I will swim tomorrow and definitely not Christmas day; so the next swim will probably be the day after boxing day. Then it’s into 2012 and once again the countdown to my channel adventure starts.
Happy Christmas and a Happy Chanukah to all x
Thursday, 22 December 2011
A nice warm end to the swim courtesy of Paul Smith and Captain Morgan.
The conditions were much the same as yesterday; however the hat was in the right place so no wibbly wobbly for me. LB, Lindy, Bella, Sean, Mike, Paul Smith etc all in for their usual dip; Big Bob and I headed to the pier, then back to the groin then back to our landing spot mid beach. Total swim 11 minutes, temperature up a bit today to 6.8 degrees – cold but bearable.
Afterwards a few of us headed to the Roaster for our usual coffee, however today Paul joined us and sneaked a spot of rum into our drinks. Rum at 8.00am is perhaps the start of a slippery road downwards, however at this time of year it's far easier to slip downwards than struggle upwards!!
As I won’t be swimming Xmas day (it’s kids time and not mine) it means tomorrow is my last official sea swim before Christmas. I might do Saturday morning (24th), but we shall see!
Now nice and warm inside I shall head of to the office and get some strong coffee inside me.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Not a great swim today, although the conditions were pretty much the same as yesterday. I think that my swimming cap was slightly above my right ear rather than over it as I felt it starting to hurt when Bob and I reached the pier. Swimming back to the shore I was feeling a little odd, however when I came out of the water I was swaying quite badly. It took a lot of concentration just to get my shoes on. Back at the arch I sat for 5 minutes whilst the room span around me and then was able to grab a shower. Not the nicest of starts to the day! That aside, after the swim I joined LB, BB, Mike, Sean and
at the Roaster for coffee and that did make it a nice start to the day. Tomorrow I shall take “cap placement” more seriously! Charlotte
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
No swim yesterday for me as exhaustion won out. I hate using the “e” word as I so rarely lose energy to that extent, but I think a very long & busy weekend, plus lack of sleep, plus a lot of pressure at work, plus pain from the op last week just took me over the limit. I did get up in time for my swim, but Jesse (who’d joined us in the night once again!) pulled my arm, told me he loved me and snuggled back in; that along with the “e” word was too much and I fell back to bed until 7.30am and then headed off to the office.
This morning however I was up as usual by 6am and ready for my energising swim and down the arch by 6.45am (too early as it was pitch black still!). I was soon joined by Little Bob and Lindy and then at 7.15 by Big Bob, Shoichi, Damien and a couple of others; still not a massive turnout, but it is winter! Big Bob and I went in on our own and headed West in a flatish sea against a fairly weak tide. The temperature (my watch showed 6.3 degrees) certainly slowed us down as it isn’t long before your arms really feel heavy and your mind starts to wonder a little. We swam from middle of our beach along the coast passed the groin to the next beach and then turned around and swum back along our beach to the pier and then back to the middle again to collect our shoes. Total swim 11 minutes. A good cold swim to energise one before work. A very painful walk up the beach with frozen feet on freezing stones to remind us the madness of winter swimming.
Off to the gym at lunchtime for an hour with Ross. Looking forward to it as I have not been in the gym for a week; although the area around my kidneys is still hurting so I really hope that a gym session doesn’t aggravate it too much, otherwise it’ll have to be a complete rest from the gym for a couple of week I think; hopefully all be ok.
Alls good and only 5 days until Santa.
Friday, 16 December 2011
Can Starfish commit suicide? If so then how? I guess more importantly; why??
Got back from
after 7pm and then straight to the local pizza pub to join the 30 + Starr Trust volunteers for a Christmas get together to thank them for all their hard work. The Trust volunteers are just incredible and give of their time so freely; without them the Trust just couldn’t grow – thanks to them all. I had another one of my Train moments coming back from London yesterday. I was sitting next to a chap who engaged me in conversation about business, the economy and world politics. An interesting chap and an interesting talk. At the end he said to me “can I buy your company”! Normally someone may suggest buying you a coffee after 20 minutes, but not your company! Turns out he is a Venture Capitalist from London Japan who wants to bring Japanese Technology into the UK Insurance market and needs a based Insurance Company to facilitate this. After my “thanks, but no thanks” he suggested a joint Venture instead. An hour later, after bidding farewell at the station I receive an email from him suggesting a meeting; of which I will gladly take. Life is so funny, you never know from one minute to the next what will happen and what doors open. Just like the sea, you never know which wave will turn you over and which one will lift you up high. UK
Talking of the sea I guess I should explain my opening comment. Basically this week the beach has been littered with Starfish. Just this morning I walked passed 23 of them (I stopped counting at 23) on the beach; on Wednesday Charlotte and I counted over a dozen. Maybe it’s annual Starfish suicide day or maybe it was a Starfish sacrifice to the great Seagull in the Sky; either way it was an oddity.
This morning it was raining cold raindrops on the beach (and apparently snowing on the outskirts of
Brighton). Not many at the arch once again, but enough of us to make a happy bunch. The sea was playing nice today, with some very decent high waves, but at the same time feeling safe. A lot of fun if you can forgive the cold (6.8 degrees today). The worst part for me was the cold on my face. I am taking the cold hands, body and feet cold OK, but for some reason my face is really finding it hard; to the point where I almost couldn’t stay in for more that a Little Bob (my term for a minute!!! – sorry LB, just a joke!!). We stayed in for maybe 15 minutes, which was enough and then off to the Red Roaster for a gorgeous chill out warm up. No today, so a nice easy day at the office. All good for the swimmers, but sad for the Starfish. London
Another cold day, cold sea and some crazy waves. Low tide kept it swimmable, but it was still a little challenging. Pain starting to subside at last thankfully, however I had to get off to
again straight after my swim so no time to chill out (I chill out by warming up!!!) with a coffee. London
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
The pains NOT gone, in fact I would say it’s worse today than yesterday. They took some 50 biopsies from inside me, so no wonder it’s sore I guess. The gym is certainly out of the question until next week and if I listened to the women in my life (wife, mother and sister) then so would the sea. However I don’t listen (some say brave, some say foolish) so I was at the arch at 7am awaiting my swimming buddies for our morning dip.
Not many of us; Big Bob, Little Bob, Mike, Shoichi, Bella, Martina and Charlotte. The sky was a very ominous colour, threatening not just rain but sinister things to boot. The wind was not the 100mph of yesterday, but it was still enough to give the sea a hard time. A relative low tide meant it was safe to go in, but it was more a play than a swim. The temperature was a shocking 7 degrees and having been out of the sea for four days made it really uncomfortable when I got in; to the point where I almost came straight out. But Big Bob and my crew went in so who I was to not join them. From a “pain” point of view, the cold totally numbed my pains and in fact it wasn’t until about an hour afterwards that the pain returned; so once again the sea helped rather than hindered. Now, being 4pm and after a long day in London, I am about to head home as I need to rest up; otherwise tomorrow will be a hard one for sure and I definitely want to have a swim and I have another long day in London as well.
I’ve decided that with Christmas just around the corner I am going to cut down on the gym and avoid the pool until January and just stick with my fun in the sea until then. Come January I’m going to get in the pool a lot and totally work on my speed and strength, but until then I’m going to just enjoy the sea. What I can’t work out is if it is normal or somewhat crazy to enjoy the sea in these temperatures; have I officially joined the crazies at Brighton Swimming Club as one of theirs or is this a temporary blip on my sanity chart?
I guess once my channel swim is done next year I shall be able to answer that; until then insanity prevails.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Sunday and Yesterday was my annual Crohns tests at the hospital. Sunday just horrible with the medication, felt sick and in pain from about 10.30am until about 2.30am the next morning. The yesterday was the more invasive tests which meant a hospital stay. Unfortunately they didn’t give me enough anaesthetic and I felt a lot of the pocking around without being able to say anything; boy was it painful. I got home from hospital about 5pm yesterday with the hope that a nights sleep would help; however two children being kept awake by over 100 mph winds put paid to that. As such no way I could go swimming this morning and no way I can use the gym today.
Hopefully by tomorrow the pains will be gone and I’ll get back to it. Very pleased though that it’s over for another year!
Friday, 9 December 2011
Yesterday afternoon the wind was ferocious with much of the country getting battered; in some parts the wind turbines were spinning so fast that they caught fire! Driving down the seafront in the afternoon I had to pull over and watch the sea, the same sea we braved that morning. Only now it was as if world war three had started under the surface; magnificent to watch and deadly to be in. Leaving the seafront inspired by the action in the sea I took myself to the gym and did a massive 90 minute work out followed by a 30 minute swim.
This morning, with the wind almost gone, I headed to the arch to find that even though the wind had gone the sea was still kicking up a bit of a fuss; nothing too mental, but a fuss nevertheless. A few of us headed to the shore on our beach and I watched as Bob, Sean, James, Mike & Leo headed in. I stood watching for about 20 seconds too long and by that time (and it can happen that quickly) the waves suddenly opened up and I was faced with about 2 minutes of just standing there trying to find my moment. Meanwhile Bob & Co had been spun a couple of times and were now out in the depths waiting for me. I found my moment and went for it; the cold hit me like a brick wall. I had to keep going as otherwise would have been hit by the next succession of waves, but it was painful and hard to do. It seemed that the madness of yesterday brought cold waters into our shore. Reaching them a minute later Bob and I headed west, Leo headed to the silver ball and the others all headed back in to shore and the luke warm shower at the arch. Bob and I made it across our beach to the next beach along, but then turned and came back as fast as we could; not only was it extremely cold but the sea was getting bigger and bigger by the second. Safely landed on our beach a few minutes later (total swim about 14 minutes and temperature UNDER 7 degrees) we painfully walked up the stones to the arch. The walk hurt a lot; our feet were so cold from the sea and the stones that every step was an ouch step.
After we were all showered and dressed it was off to the Roaster for the best coffee in
Brighton and a reflection on yet another crazy start to the day and another crazy end to the week.
Now, mid afternoon, the sun is shining, the wind has gone and no doubt the sea is as calm as a sleeping baby. But that baby can wake at any time and then step back and watch all hell break loose!!
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Fear factor kicked in today, which was quite annoying.
The sea was not like yesterday which meant we could get in, however it was still really windy and the sea was chopping up minute by minute. Again only a few of us at the arch; Sean, Yvo, Martina,
, Mark and Mike all did a micro swim and Shoichi went to the silver ball and back. Big Bob and I headed West to the thistle. Getting in was interesting as Bob went straight in whilst I was adjusting my goggles and in those few seconds the sea raged up and I was standing on the shore trying to find a break to get in for about 2 minutes; I just couldn’t find a gap safe enough to let me in! Eventually when I made it in we headed away from our beach, staying as close to shore as we could without being taken in by waves, and got to the thistle very quickly. At this point Bob seemed happy to go a bit further, however my heart was racing and I just wanted to get back to our beach as soon as we could. The sea was really starting to rage and it was still very dark out there (even at 7.25am) and my goggles kept steaming up; it was like driving completely blind on the M25 in a stormy windy day; not pleasant. Luckily getting back was as quick as getting there and in minutes we were back in our area and heading to shore. I was ahead of Bob as he was doing breast stroke and as such when the next big wave hit he was behind me riding it up hi and I was caught in it’s hands as it hit the shore. In milliseconds I was under the water not sure what was up and what was down; fortunately I was close enough to shore that as I was spinning I was also heading inwards and when my hands touched the bottom it allowed me to push myself up to standing enabling me to quickly walk out. As Bob surfed out behind me shouting in delight I noticed two people standing high up on the groin, no doubt wondering what on earth we were doing; I was wondering the same! Charlotte
No idea what the temperature was as it was the last thing on my mind. I would guess at 8.5 degrees again; certainly cold.
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
What a difference a day makes!
Only 7 of us at arch today and none getting in. Our beach would have been complete suicide, so we headed worringly to the girly beach will little faith that we could get in. It wasn't even worth a serious try. Big Bob and Sean walked into the wash and then gingerly walked out. I decided to give it a go and waded in and within seconds was faced with an absolute monster that drove me quickly back up the beach; Charlotte, Martina and Yvo went for the pilchard and had a lie down.
Martina & Charlotte having a sit down (crazy chicks)
No chance of swimming at all. Only thing left for it was a groin shower......
Whilst I was taking this the wave hit me square in the face and it was so cold it gave me an "ice cream headache" ; ouch!
Tomorrow is expected to be 80mph winds - we shall see!!
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
After a rather emotional and stressful day yesterday my stomach was somewhat topsy turvey last night, which in turn plays a little with the crones. However it’s all a state of mind so all one has to do is refocus, get the mind back on the road to smiles and we are back in business!!
I was a little late getting up this morning which meant a rush to the beach, but I got there at 7.10am, which in these dark mornings is early enough. Not many at the arch this morning, just six of us. Four of them (little bob, martina, sean and paul) headed to the girly beach for one of Little Bobs micro swim, whilst Big Bob and I headed to our beach for a short swim west. The sea was choppy again, but lighter than yesterday and the temperature was about 8.5 degrees. We didn’t waste time getting in as we had to literally just run and dive to avoid being held back by waves. Really it’s the best way of doing it, but it is a shock to the system. It always gives my face the worst shock and it takes a good couple of minutes to become bearable. The tide was mid change which meant it wasn’t pulling either way, so in terms of effort it was only a case of having to deal with the cold and the waves. We stayed close to shore and headed to the west, reaching the end of the thistle hotel in about 9 minutes, then turned around and headed back in similar time. The cold started to get to my breathing, but only as we reached shore. In fact the most painful part of the swim was the walk up the beach to get our crocs back on; walking on the cold pebbles after a cold swim is extremely painful; I imagine it’s way worse than walking on hot coals.
Tomorrow we’ll probably to a similar swim as long as the weather allows; someone did say that the wind may pick up tonight though, so we shall see.
To our friend David, the oldest and bravest member of BSC, so sorry that you're unwell. Wishing you the speediest and safest of recovery. David, even when unwell and immobile, remains an inspiration to me; to think I could do what he does at his age with his illness is almost inconceivable; a superman for sure.
Monday, 5 December 2011
5th December seems to come around so quickly for me; it is the anniversary of losing Dad, this year being the fifth year. It is inconceivable to me that it’s been 5 years; so very much has happened in that time that it’s hard to think Dad wasn’t here for it; the Twins being born, the Starr Trust being set up, house moves, the changes at Seico and my Swimming career just to name a few. I hang on to the fact that whilst he’s not here with us he still participates in it all, if not guiding it forward still. I miss you Dad and always will.
The beach was cccccold today. Air temperature about 2 degrees and sea temperature registered at just 8.3 degrees. Walking down the beach to the shore it looked a little choppy only, but when we stood at the beach edge there were some whoppers heading in and crashing; the sea was coming so far up that we were standing way up the beach. So we headed to the girly beach instead; the walk from beach to beach was cold enough to put some people of going in altogether. Unusually there were more non swimmers than swimmers today; with just three of us going in and 6 others standing on the shore in their costumes. We swam as far as the café and then headed back in. Coming back up the beach afterwards my feet were really starting to ache from the cold and my hands were slightly numb (still are in fact). I fear my swimming around the pier days are over now until next May; which is a long time to wait; hopefully though a day will appear when it’s not too cold in the air and the sea is pancake flat and I’ll persuade Big Bob to join me for a fast swim around. Until then though, as in the wise words of Little Bob, it’s Micro swims for all but the very hardy and very lardy.
Other news is that today I sign a significant contract for work, something that is rather life changing in many ways for me, especially after 20 years. Something I shan’t elaborate on, but something that could be the making or breaking of me workwise; sometimes one needs to take the leap and see if one can reach the other side safely. So hear I go; best feet forward. Funny how it has fallen on 5th December; divine plans maybe?
Trust news are two exciting events. Firstly I have a meeting today with a new Patron; jazz supreme Claire Martin. She has agreed to be a Star Trust Patron and wants to really do things to get involved and help us; very exciting for me, especially as Dad was a great fan of Clair’s. Secondly, and this is really something, our CHOCS schools project has taken a massive leap forward. As from next year
are not only joining us as CHOCS partners but they are actually including CHOCS as part of their curriculum. This is astonishing! I planned (hoped) for this by 2015 at the earliest; I never expected we could get there this quickly. It is the start of us taking CHOCS nationwide and having it included as a chosen subject in schools. Now the hard work starts, but boy oh boy is it exciting! Shoreham Academy
Friday, 2 December 2011
No blog for a few days as not much to say (unusual for me I know!)
Wednesday I needed to be in
London for 7.00am start and didn’t leave until after 7pm; no chance to swim or train that day. Having not swum in the morning actually left me in rather a foul mood, which was not good as I at a conference and was a guest speaker! Oh dear. London
Thursday I was also in London at the same conference and was a specialist guest speaker again; luckily I had a swim first thing so by the time I got to London (just in time for my speech) I was buoyed up and raring to go. A morning swim really changes ones mood, amazing that it can do that. The swim was a physical and wet one (obviously!). The rain was pouring down, the wind was up and the sea was throwing big and strong waves at us. As it was a relatively low tide it meant that it was dangerous, but it did mean that it was more of a play than a swim. Temperature felt really cold even though it was still 9.5 degrees; however a great start to the very long day ahead.
Friday – I was planning on a swim today and by all accounts would have enjoyed it as Big Bob and Shoichi swam around the pier – a December pier swim would have been great, especially as last year it was not possible. Unfortunately
Sharon was really ill over night and I had to get the three kids up, dressed, breakfasted and to school and then dash back home to get settled before heading off to work. Really so unlike Sharon to be ill, so feel really bad for her. Bloomin shame to miss the swim though as really could have done with it. Also going to miss gym with Ross today as need to get home sharpish for Sharon . Hopefully if I can get everyone to bed and settled tonight I’ll use my home gym for an hour. Roll on an illness free Monday! Sharon