Monday, 20 June 2016

99. Open-Water Marathon

Event: Open-Water Marathon 
Date: 18th June 2016 
Location: The Serpentine, London   
Cost: £4.80 
Rules:  The women's open-water swim marathon took place over a distance of 10k in the Serpentine in London. The event is a real test of strength and endurance. Athletes raced six laps around the lake, with the fastest taking the gold medal. 

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012: 1:57:38.2  - Eva Risztov, Hungary (10K)  
Ellie & Sarah: 0:48:37.1 (1K) 


Sarah: It's always a bonus to be able to complete our events in an actual Olympic venue, but for some reason it took us a while to link the fact that the open-swim was held in the Serpentine, and that it would be easy for us to do the same! We arrived early on Saturday morning to a grey and dull day, which meant we only had to share the lake with some serious wet-suited swimmers. 
It definitely wasn't as cold as I'd been expecting, but still fairly bracing when we got in! I love swimming, but feel nervous being out of my depth when I can't see the bottom, so have always avoided the Serpentine in the past. It took a while to feel confident in the water, and we did a fair bit of faffing about, but we soon both warmed up and got in to the swim, doing faster laps as we went along, and ended up steaming along with faces in the water. We swam the longest distance we'll cover in the challenge; 1km (one tenth of the Olympic distance!), and I definitely felt like I had more in the tank. Hurray for open-water swimming!  
Ellie: I really enjoyed this event and am happy to add it to the list of things I will try and continue when we finish in the summer. I'm so non-hardy when it comes to cold water but I really surprised myself by handling the Serpentine's chilly 15C without so much as a wince. 1k is the furthest I've swum in one go, as far as I remember, and it was tough going when you get your stride on. I felt a bit dizzy and disorientated at times but I think this all comes down to not really knowing my stroke to breath ratio. I also felt quite squeamish about the alleged snail parasites that could be lurking in the water... but bobbing along on my back or powering along front crawl were both really enjoyable and I'd love to see myself progress to longer distance, quicker times or events where I get a real medal not a chocolate one!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

98. 10,000m

Event: 10,000m
Date: 12th May 2013 + 14th June 2016
Location: Colchester 10K Race + Along the banks of the river Thames  
Cost: £16 + Free
Rules:  Athletes race around the track 25 times, completing the course in the fastest time possible.

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012: 30:20.75 - Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia.
Ellie: Sort of 2 hours
Sarah: 1:09:52

Sarah: It's strange writing about an event that happened three years ago! My memory is a little rusty, but I do remember how good it felt crossing that finish line! Greg and I signed up to the Colchester 10k and put the bupa training plan in to action. Despite all the preparation, we both felt a little daunted amongst the proper club runners. We decided to start from the back, take our time and run our own race. It soon paid off, and we started overtaking other back-runners. The course was nice and flat, and circled around the Garrison part of Colchester, and area I don't know to well. All in all, it was a surprisingly pleasant way to spend the morning! Having recently completed my 5k on the track, I can only imagine how psychologically difficult it would be to run this distance completely on the track.
Ellie: My 10k was a far more leisurely experience. I wanted to use the distance to see the more touristy areas of London on foot and to understand how the river joins them all up. I chose a really lovely evening which was an achievement in itself with the weather we've had recently. It felt like a really calm wander apart from the last 3k where I really needed a wee - made ironic by the fact that my route looks like a tap. I also saw my first ever London rat - he was brilliant! 

Thursday, 9 June 2016

97. Sailing - Laser Radial

Event: Sailing - Laser Radial
Date: 9th June 2016
Location: Alton Water Sailing Club  
Cost: £25 each for 3 hour lesson  
Rules:  The Laser Radial is a one person dinghy; a popular design of small sailing dinghy. It's a single-handed boat (sailed by one person).  The Olympic course had a target time of 60 minutes for races and 30 minutes for medal races, for which ten boats qualified. There were many course configurations that race management could choose from. 

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012: Xu Lijia, China. 

Sarah: One more time on the water, and I was sure we'd go in. We weren't banking on nearly completely still conditions, which may not have been ideal for sailing, but it was ideal for us! A quick refresher on the shore from our instructor James, and we took to the water for a gentle...well....'float' you could call it. Or 'drift'. The wind was playing games with us and appearing on the water everywhere but where we were. We tried to chase it, but as soon as we got to the spot, it dropped. It would have been nice if there were a little more wind so we could have felt some speed and attempted some tacks, but this was a lovely relaxing way to end our sailing events. 
Ellie: Our last sailing event of our challenge and we were trusted to be in charge of a boat by ourselves. I was certain I was going to capsize and/or ruin a really expensive boat. Luckily, for me and for the boat, the water was really calm and there was so little wind that we could really take our time and amble across the water. Surprisingly, this was by far my favourite sailing lesson. I felt that there was very little pressure because the weather was so forgiving and we had plenty of time to chat about sailing and Alton Water. We did have to give up on our sail when the wind gave up on us but we'd had a good outing and it was a lovely session to end on.