Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ocean Swim Race

Today was the day!  Today was the day that I have been training hard for since January 7 2010. 

Last year when I joined the gym I suggested to the instructor who took me through my paces that I would like to do the Ocean Swim at Corsair Bay.  The instructor said "I can see you doing that & it won't hurt your knee either."  So he developed a strength training program based on building upper body strength.  I admit that last year things really got in the way from about July onwards & really I didn't do much of any exercise, let alone building upper body strength.

I decided this year was going to be a different year to last year & when we came back from Wanaka I decided that I would do the Ocean Swim & that I did have time to train for it.  I started seriously training from the 7th January, taking the boys swimming with me during the holidays.  This was easy to do because for the first time since the boys have been born I can leave both of them in the pool secure in the knowledge that not only am I legally allowed to do so but they can both swim if they get into trouble.

I had thought that I was going to swim the race in just my togs, to keep the cost down but after doing a training swim at Corsair Bay I quickly realised that was not really going to be an option.  So last weekend I went and bought a swimming wetsuit & then on Tuesday & Thursday I went out to Corsair Bay to try swimming in it.  Thank goodness I did try the wetsuit out first because the buoyancy it gave me made me feel like I was a little cork bobbing around in the water.  It also was a lot heavier on my arms (that hadn't had any real weight training happen on them since last year) & very constricting to breathe in.  Even on Thursday I came out from my swim wondering whether I would be better just to be in togs.

Today dawned bright & clear & over at Corsair Bay the water was like a millpond. Brent came to watch me & he took the photos, Scott & James had to go to James' cricket match.  Brent & I watched the kids do their swim of 300m first & Brent thought that he might give it a go next year.  The kids race was all in the shallows so they could put their feet down & touch the bottom if they wanted.  Then it was my turn.

It was perfect conditions for my very first Ocean Swim.  I got my wetsuit on full of trepidation still wondering about how sensible it was to be doing this & whether I should be doing it in my togs.  I went for a warm up swim & the wetsuit felt right.  I no longer felt the weight of it around my chest or on my arms so I knew that I had made the correct decision to swim in a wetsuit.

At 10:40am we had our race briefing & then we were off.  The start was pretty choppy, a lot of argy bargy happening.  I seemed to be either getting hit by other people's legs and arms or doing that to other people.  By the first mark we were all more strung out & it was easier to swim "my swim".  The next mark I found really hard to see.  That white yacht with the red sails closest to beach seemed to be right in my line of view of the next mark & although a lot of people swam on the shore side of it I decided to swim behind it as to me it looked like a more straight line than what the leaders were doing which was swimming back out to sea.  I rounded my last mark & knew I was on my way home, I should have been relieved but there was a stage in that part of the swim where I felt like I wasn't moving at all.  I'm not sure if it was a tidal thing or quite what but the trees when I took a breath on my right didn't seem to be moving away behind me any.  I just dug in & kept my arms moving a bit faster & then I seemed to be making some forward traction.  I got towards the beach & there was another swimmer approachiung from my right & then it was a race up the beach & up a bit of a hill to the finish line.  I just couldn't beat her, so Sadie Scott came home 4seconds ahead of me.

I have to say I am thrilled with my race time of 14minutes 36 & my worries on Thursday that my swim of 14minutes wasn't quite long enough came to nothing.  When I started swimming this distance I was doing it in 18minutes 41 so I have really knocked some time off that. Here are the official results

This picture was taken after I came back from my warm up swim.

And then there was the horrible run up the beach & up a slight hill, I cut my foot on some sharp stones on the run up the beach.

What an accomplishment & I can tell you I feel very proud of myself for getting out there & doing it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book Review - The Bolter

Synopsis (from the book jacket)

On Friday 25th May, 1934, a forty-one-year-old woman walked into the lobby of Claridge's Hotel to meet the nineteen-year-old son whose face she did not know.  Just over fifteen years earlier, as the First World War ended, Idina Sackville  had shocked high society by leaving his multimillionaire father to run off to Africa with a near penniless man. Now, three more husbands later, she was back to help the son whom she had been banned from seeing. 

An inspiration for Nancy Mitford's character The Bolter, painted by William Orpen, and photographed by Cecil Beaton, Sackville went on to divorce a total of five times, yet died with a picture of her first love by her bed. Her struggle to reinvent her life with each new marriage left one husband murdered and branded her the 'high priestess' of White Mischief's bed-hopping Happy Valley in Kenya. Sackville's life was so scandalous that it was kept a secret from her great-granddaughter Frances Osborne. Now, Osborne tells the moving tale of betrayal and heartbreak behind Sackville's road to scandal and return, painting a dazzling portrait of high society in the early twentieth century.

I found this a very easy book to read, which was a great surprise because I don't usually read biographies because I find them hard to get into. I found the time period fascinating & I had always thought that they were prim & proper but it would appear that there was an unspoken rule that an affair within a marriage was acceptable as long as it was with another married woman. 

I found myself feeling sadened for Idina that her first husband chose to take that course of action & that really the rest of her life was left trying to find love & inevitably never really finding it. I did feel very sorry for the children of all the different marriages & I can understand why they tried to keep Idina from being mentioned a lot within the family.  I think they never really understood her, & how could they when she was never around for them. 

It was a really interesting read & I ended up thinking that really in some aspects our society is not as bad as we think, it is just it is discussed more these days than it was back in Edwardian England.