Saturday, 30 July 2016

Swim Trek Slovenia

I didn't blog about my annual trip to Tenerife this year but I did have a lot of fun with my two friends H and F whilst I was there.  So much so, that by the Monday after we had got back, H and I had booked a swimming trip to Slovenia.  We went last weekend and had a great time.

The trip was with SwimTrek and you can see the itinerary here which I'm not going to rehash in this blog post, just share a few thoughts.

Slovenia was an incredibly beautiful and unspoilt country.  Fabulous mountains and astounding lakes.   I got to see a good amount of the country and I definitely want to go back there with Mr JKS for a more relaxing break.  I found that the trip itself was quite full on - not so much in terms of the swimming, which was around 4k a day - there was a lot packed in, and as an introvert I struggled with the large amount of time spent in a group.  I don't think that totally puts me off going on another SwimTrek as the advantage is that you are able to do things which would be difficult to organise on your own.  The Slovenian Guides in particular were fantastic, both in the kayaks and driving the vans and telling us about the things that we were passing.  It was fab spending time with Super H and we had a good laugh!

Here are some photos of the places that we went to.

On a very hot day, spent mostly travelling around in a mini bus, we did a 20 minute walk to this amazing waterfall.  The water was so cold but it was really refreshing!  That's me to the bottom left of the picture, to give you an idea of scale.

Malcolm the bear by Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj.  We stayed adjacent to this lake and swam the length of it on the last day - 4k.

This is Lago Del Predil, a lake just over the border in Italy.  It was incredible swimming in such a beautiful place.

This is Lake Bled where we swam on the first day.  Lovely and warm.

Anda view over Lake Bled.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Lock to Lock Swims

The other swim events that I have done this year have been the Swim Oxford Lock to Lock Swims.  They are a new company who launched with a 4k swim last year which Super H did and really enjoyed.  This year they are running a 4k, 6k and 10k event.  As the events start less than 10 minutes drive from JKS HQ, it seems silly not to enter!

The first event was the 4k in mid June.  This involved swimming from Eynsham Lock down to Kings Lock. I felt a bit frustrated as I couldn't keep up with the front pack and was quite some way from the second pack so it was quite a lonely swim.  I was also still suffering from a chest infection and had to stop to cough my lungs up a couple of times.  On the plus side, armed with my prescription swimming goggles, I was able to sight around the bends of the river very easily.  There had been an enormous amount of rain in the week prior to the event and the river was flowing incredibly fast.  So much so that I was actually surprised to be being ushered out at the finish!  I doubt very much I'll ever swim 4k in under 52 minutes again...  I was pleased to discover later that I was the 3rd woman to finish (although there was only a prize for first).

In mid July it was back for the 6k event.  This time we started in the same place at Eynsham Lock and began with the same 4k stretch of the river.  I felt incredibly lethargic on this swim and found it hard to feel like I was going at the pace I wanted to.  There were more faster swimmers than on the previous 4k and it was hard not to feel disheartened.  As the river wasn't flowing quite so fast, it took a little longer to reach Kings Lock, but only a couple of minutes.  Then it was out of the river for about 200m walk past the lock to get back in and finish off.  On the walk, I was able to catch up with the group of swimmers that I'd been trying to catch up with all swim, and then had some company for the last leg, which really helped.  The final leg was *very* short, there was absolutely no way that that was another 2k.  The swimmer who got out ahead of me had 5.25k on her watch which sounded more realistic.  (Super H did manage to achieve 6k on her watch, but she's not always the best at sighting!).  This time I was 6th back.

All in all very well organised and friendly.  The organiser recognised me (presumably from facebook) before the 6k and said hello and then remembered my name when I got out at the 4k mark.  I don't really eat cake (Mr JKS ate mine) but there is a huge array of amazing looking cake at the finish and very cheerful ladies serving it who give everyone a cheer as they finish.  There was also peppermint tea and bananas and I got a jelly baby at the get out point of the 6k.

I really need to get some longer swims in ahead of the 10k.  Obviously I'm totally capable of 10k but I have not really been swimming further than 4k recently and I'd like to have the stamina so that I can properly enjoy it!

Seahorse Swim Dorset

You wait for ages for a blog post and then three come along at once.  At least, that's the plan as I have three that need to be written!  I have a shiny new laptop on loan so there is no excuse.

First up is a swim that I did at the start of July, the 3.8k Seahorse Swim from Studland beach in Dorset.  Mr JKS and I decided to make a mini break out of it and had a lovely afternoon in Dorchester (where we visited the Teddy Bear Museum, the Dinosaur Museum and bought some Dorset Knobs), and a night in Weymouth before getting to Studland on the Sunday morning.

I'd had a slightly mixed run up to the event.  I was swimming incredibly well on the Wednesday before.  Then on Wednesday afternoon I went KneeBoarding for the first time.  This was great fun but after only 3 goes, my arms felt like they were about to fall out of their sockets, so I sat and watched for the rest of the session.  Unfortunately, the day after, my arms were totally shot to pieces.  I'd been looking forward to a tuning up massage but instead, Jo had to try to make my arms move even a little bit.  I got grumpier and grumpier as Sunday approached and even the morning of the race saw Mr JKS trying to ease my triceps.

I got into the water not having particularly high hopes for success.  I'm never especially fast in the sea and with arms that didn't quite pull properly I felt especially underwhelmed.  However, I wanted to give it my best shot and I did.  There were 2 diamond shaped laps, with pretty equal legs for each side of the diamond, although there was obviously a bit of current/wind in one direction.  I swam as hard as I could and really put my head down for the final leg in.  I exited the water in around 1h5 feeling pretty pleased with myself as I had given it my best shot.

There were lots of very fast and experienced sea swimmers there, mostly swimming without wetsuits, so it was difficult to know where I had finished.  We were in a hurry to get off as Mr JKS needed to do a long run in the afternoon.

The next day I was looking online to see if the finish times were available to confirm the time that I thought that I had done.  As I scanned through the race report here to get to the bit with the results on, I suddenly to my surprise spotted my name!  Although I had been slow by some standards, it turned out that I was actually the fastest westsuit female!  (I would like to note that my time was TWELVE minutes slower than the fastest non wetsuit female).  I emailed and apologised profusely to the organisers and it turned out that I had won a crystal trophy.  Luckily I have an amazing friend who is a courier and he happened to be in Dorset the following week and very kindly picked it up for me.