Training update – early January

January is off to a flying start.

My swim buddy Lance is raising money for St Mungo’s charity by swimming the distance of the channel crossing (22 miles) in January. Despite needing to get extra time out hiking I want to swim with him to keep him company. To meet his target it means swimming an average of 44 lengths every day, so that means we’re going to have to swim far more than that each session as they aren’t every day.

We did our first double session (still limited to 55 minutes in the pool then we have to get out and wait 5 minutes before getting back in). We smashed out 128 lengths (TWO MILES!!!). Not every session is going to go that way but what a great start!

I am also hiking whenever I can with my backpack and my friends are getting used to my backpack joining us on walks.

On Bank Holiday Monday I made an amendment to my old 10k running route and grabbed a coffee in Henleaze at the half way point with my backpack weighing in at about 15kg. Going to need to build up that weight fairly significantly I think as I’m not yet sure how much all of the expedition gear is going to weigh and I need to be confident that the weight won’t bother me even when I’m tired.

I had a fairly sedentary day just doing DIY and so I decided at about 9pm that I needed a hike. Ended up walking about 6km, grabbing a breakfast pastry from Lidl and getting to prove how amazing my lightweight rain jacket is on the way back. I also met a gorgeous black cat who was super friendly and joined me for a little bit of the hike. I’d love a feline hiking buddy!

Friday night’s swim was unbelievable. Fuelled by IKEA hotdogs, Lance and I managed 142 lengths across the two sessions. That is 2.2 miles. We were aiming for 128 maximum to make sure Lance is really comfortably ahead of the target, so it was astounding to see how quickly we managed to get ahead of the pace for the second session. And we celebrated with pizza because that was the only restaurant we could find open late enough!!!

On Sunday morning I headed off early from Bristol to the Brecon Beacons and met some folks from re:act, the disaster response charity that I volunteer for. Paul lives really nearby and knows the area well, he brought his awesome dog Hercules, who is nicknamed King of the Hills. Chris and Selim were the other members of the group. It was a genuinely great hike – spot on for what I needed. I found it really tough with my backpack but I need to push myself in training and the company made it totally bearable.

View of Paul and Hercules (King of the Hills) on the trail up to Fan Fawr

We met up at the Storey Arms and headed in the opposite direction to all of the other hikers. We headed straight up to Fan Fawr (734m) then we dropped down the other side into the valley and across the river with a beautiful view of the reservoir along the valley. Then we struck out straight up to Fan Dringarth, gaining 300m over a surprisingly short distance. The views were lovely and we also saw little patches of snow 🙂

Patch of snow!

And then I went back to Bristol, lay on the sofa for a couple of hours and then I went for a double swim session with Lance and we swam 150 lengths!!! 2.3 miles. Madness.

Unsurprisingly, my legs were really achy after the hiking and swimming but I went out for a weighted stroll the following evening to keep moving.

My swimming days are now Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and we’re doing a double session each time, 128 lengths (two miles) is the minimum target, but we’re getting around 136-140 depending on traffic in the lane. As at the middle of January, I’m up to 36 miles swum!!

The weather is still unseasonably warm and so it’s only every now and again, on an evening stroll with my backpack, that I’m able to try out some of my warmer clothes. But at least I can build up the weight – I can really feel the different muscles working these days!

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