Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Biking, running and swimming too!

My blog is about cycling, but some of you may know that I also run - something I have done since childhood. I am a member of the Serpentine Running Club, and also run second claim for South London Harriers. Earlier this year I did a 10k race around London, and hope to get out and do a few more running events (as well as the informal Park runs).

Many people don't know that I even swim, albeit not massively well!

My sporting story goes like this - I got into cycling when I realised I needed to know how to ride a bike to get through a triathlon, back when I was doing them in the early noughties.

Once I had a taste of cycling through multi-sports I got lured away by all that the two-wheeled sport has to offer, and now I do more cycling than anything else.

I found the training for the three disciplines of a triathlon difficult to juggle with a normal life. I don;t know how people do it. In fact the people that I have met who do well in age group triathlons just don't live a normal life. Call me boring, but maybe I like just doing normal!

So regular triathloning went out of the window about 12 years ago, and as much as I like watching the exploits of the Brownlee brothers and Non Stanford, I don't really miss doing it myself! However, I still do get a wobble and do one or two cheap, local triathlons a year.

What I do like enjoy though is doing the individual disciplines one at a time. So I do cycling races (which you, dear reader, may already know about), I take part in running races, and now I've discovered swimming races in the open water.

There is something quite refreshing about swimming in the open water. I am not a particularly strong swimmer. In fact I was regularly one of the last  people out of the pool in a triathlon!

But putting on a wetsuit and being in the open air just feels fun. I am not confident enough to just swim anywhere, like the folks from the Outdoor Swimming Society, so I go to one of the various organised sessions and races that take place around London and the home counties - or wherever I happen to be.

There are lots of places to go to. Recently I was at Shepperton, in South-West London, and on a trip to Cheshire I went to Boundary Park, near Joddrell Bank. In all cases the atmosphere was nice and relaxed with changing area, cafe/lounge area, music, and because there were a lot of regulars it was a good place to meet people. I hope to get to other venues in London - West Reservoir in Stoke Newington, Hampstead Ponds, Divers Cove near Redhill, Surrey. I have swum in the Serpentine in Hyde Park as part of an Aquathlon, but hope to go there at a more leisurely pace.

A couple of weeks ago I did the Great London Swim at Royal Victoria docks. I swam 800m and it was fun, if a little salty! The great thing about these swims is the level is so varied, and has ordinary people, not just hard core triathletes, so my result didn't look that bad! I took more than 20 minutes to complete the distance, but I still finished mid-pack! In a triathlon I would have been one of the slowest swimmers!

So that has given me the motivation to carry on with open water swimming events. I hope to do the Great Scottish Swim in Loch Lomond at the end of August, and then Swim Serpentine in September.

And of course I will carry on cycling and running too.




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