Race to London

There is a group of us who swim at Brighouse. I am, by a long way the oldest and slowest, but I share the discomfort of the others in not being able to swim. Swi=mming is like having your body ironed. You come out and all the kinks have been stretched and smoothed away (almost).
Anyway, short of being able to swim, we are left running. So a race to London (200 miles) was begun.
I am half of Team Bus Pass. My associate also may hold such a pass, and walks 3-4 miles most days.
We then have team Goldilocks. Two ladies, two good friends – very competitive, and the other very determined.
Last is Team Longshanks. Both 6ft or more, younger and athletic, but with other duties which are limiting their ability to compete (thank goodness). One is a proper runner, and the other can be if and when she tries.
I am resigned to losing this, but hopefully not by too much, and that Team Bus Pass can get back more easily on the Express Bus from London.

That was the last New Year Swim

Sad, but one day back, and it is gone. There are more things in issue than my swimming habit, but I will be miss it.
I think things are set to get much worse and quickly, but as the vaccinations system gets up and running, there must be introduced a small amount of additional freedom for those who have been spiked.

I hope so anyway.
I reckon that I am about 13 millionth in the queue – just for my age.

1st New Year Swim

The pool closed for longer over Christmas. It wasn’t said why, but I assume it was for Covid. Anyway, it was good to be back. Calderdale, our local authority have, to be fair, organised things quite well for social distancing.
Anyway, as ever, on a first swim after a break there was a lack of grip for the water, and the break leads to a loss of tone – and there wasn’t much to begin with.
Anyway I was happy to do a 1700m swim – 400 + 200 + 400 + 200 + 400 + 100.
Given where we are with Covid, I doubt that the pool will still be open in another week. I must squeeze in what I can while I can.

Simpler Swimming Goggles

(Other views are available!)

I use what are called ‘swede’ goggles. They are very simple, and usually really quite cheap. Three characteristics apply. The strap tends to be a simple elastic or rubber band or a tube, usually tied with a simple reef knot. Next, the nose bridge is usually a simple piece of string passing through a small tube to protect the nose. Most importantly, the lenses do not have any kind of rubber seal two cushion the face from the lenses.

Very simply, I do find these easily the most comfortable goggles. They are long lasting, robust and reliable.

I have lately they gone to use a compromise set. These are called Swedix Goggles. They differ in two ways. First, the base of the goggle is covered a rubber surface. The lens still sits directly onto the eye socket, but they assist with keeping them waterproof and possibly helps with the comfort. They also have a fold across the front of the lens – forming a ridge between two surfaces across the lines it with a fold just below the halfway mark.This is supposed to allow you to have improved forward vision. When swimming freestyle, it is important that the head is kept down, and with normal goggles this means that the edge of the surface lens interrupts the forward view. . The design of these Swedix goggles allows you to have your head down and to see forward at the same time. There is one peculiar result of this. It becomes easy to underestimate the distance to the wall and, still, after several months using these goggles I ssometimes feel that I am nearer to the wall than I really am when I begin a tumble turn with the result that I am further away from the wall then I would wish to be reducing the  push off from the wall.

Another element of their design is the use of a strip of rubber poked through the holes to  side of the lenses to work as a bridge.  This work very well. It is really quite easy to adjust the width across the bridge of the nose by small amounts so that the goggles fit precisely.  What I have also found out is that a standard 'posty's rubber band, cut appropriately, works beautifully on standard swede goggles

Swede goggles are a minority choice. There are many aspects to the goggles which people usually buy. Nearly always, complications are introduced which have very little to do with anything useful.  There are however circumstances which can require different sets of goggles.

  • Outdoors, it is proper to have goggles which are capable of dimming the sunshine (if you are lucky enough to be swimming somewhere where this is a problem).
  • People with very bad long-distance sight will wear prescription goggles. I have to say that in most swimming pools, nearly all the time is spent looking at the bottom of the pool, and to be frank, one tile looks much like another. The major indications you need are the line along the centre of the lane, the T marks at either end, and the breaks in the lines to show distance so far travelled. These signs are substantial, and simple, but it is right that somebody who has difficulty seeing them should get whatever assistance they need.

I do not like to swim with the goggles with cushioned seal / padding on them. Typically this padding is not long lasting, and also, as the weeks  go by horrible stuff begins to grow in the join between the lens and the seal. This gunge is not healthy. It is a very strong reason why it is inappropriate to borrow goggles from anybody else. Last and not at all least, such seals are quite unnecessary. Swedes just work.

Never forget – nobody looks sensible in swimming goggles. There are people who would look cool under any and all circumstances. For the mast majority of us, it is a hopeless task. The harder you try, teh harder you will fall.

Back on the belt

I am now 3 weeks post operation. The wound forms a splendid scar, but it is healing properly, with no infection or apparent disturbance. It still does feel sore from time to time.

I went to the consultant on Tuesday and saw the x-rays of the injury and of the repair. The injury was bigger than I had thought, with the clavicle appearing to be broken along a length of about 3 inches and quite separated. The plate that has been inserted had therefore to seal the bone together over that distance. I tried counting the screws, but gave up at 15. Talking to the consultant he was happy that the mobility I was already showing was better than I should properly expect, and of course this is pleasing.

I ceased taking the opioid drugs within the week after the operation and was then on paracetamol, but have changed now to ibuprofen. This does appears to be working better with what is now really a problem of muscles and the injury being inflamed and uncomfortable. The bony pain seems nearly to have finished.I am content with the ibuprofen and am taking slightly less than the maximum dose and hopefully less as each day goes by.
My swimming pal, Stuart also has injured his shoulder. Neither of us will be able to swim properly for some time. He was two or three weeks ahead of the, but his injury, I think, was more serious. In any event we have switched to the gym. I went yesterday, Friday, and this morning and I am pleased to say that although, clearly, I have lost some speed, I have not lost it all, and I feel that it will come back.
In particular, this morning, I ran on the treadmill and though these things are never the full story, I appear to have run 3 miles in 25 minutes at a small incline. This is, I think, an optimistic view of what I actually managed, but even allowing a substantial pinch of salt, I am pleased with it. Most importantly, I was able to run this morning without thinking all the time of my injury and the need to avoid any bumping of my shoulder. I was able simply to run, and to do so concentrating only on the difficulty of maintaining the speed government rather than worrying about the injury.
So far as physiotherapy has been promised it, I am to receive an appointment shortly. My main concern now is that I think I will be well beyond what would be the point at which they see me recovered by the time I get to see them. I really do need to get back to swimming and that does, and will require very full extension of my shoulder, regularly and repeatedly. The only thought I have is that my mobility is increasing every day and I have to persist in finding the balance between pushing too hard and making sure that improvements occur without any damage.
One of the sad lessons from all this is that at least two of the professionals I have seen have suggested that I need to start again swimming only breaststroke. It is uncomfortable to point out to them that that stroke involves at least a similar range of extension to the other strokes, and imposes probably the greatest strain on the clavicle because of the shape of the pull under the water. The simple truth is that I can only hope to get back swimming in a month or so.