Monday, 21 September 2015

h-i-i-t and run with Barnacle Joe

So today (Sunday) was going to be a recovery run and swim. I think. I wasn't really paying attention in class. Looking forward to the Falko's coffee and bun which we have got into the habit of having before. The coffee certainly fuels the activity. In fact it probably was the main reason Mary diverted into Gullane play area for an upper body workout 5 minutes into the run. What was she laughing about? I think I was saying although these rings look like they'll take your weight give them a good test before hanging upside down or they might be rusted through and you'll fall on your stupid neck and I'll be pushing you in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. And I was doing an inappropriate Steven Hawking impersonation.

Although cloudy it was warmish and the sun was trying to break through. It was so nice that Mary brought forward her 5k training and decided we could do a H-I-I-T session on the beach. We had tried some of this before and I was rather nervous as it is 100% full on and quite likely to end with a cardiac incident. The tide was WAY out and although the sand was a bit rippled there was a decent strip down most of the beach that was nearly smooth.

This could be the last photo I take of the chimneys. (Again)
Note the fence post doing an impression of the chimneys.

So we went to beyond the subs giving us about a mile and a half of beach. The session was 3 times 5 minutes with every minute being split up into 30 seconds at medium pace, 20 of fast and 10 of SPRINT, and without a recovery you are straight back into 30 seconds of medium pace. Which sort of becomes your recovery, although you are still travelling. After 5 minutes of this you get a whole 2 minutes standing recovery which is very welcome and passes very quickly before the next 5 minutes. I thought we were doing 5 x five minutes but it was just 3. You get a sense of when to up the pace after a while, but you also (due to exertion) begin to forget how many seconds are in a minute, or what the day of the week is, or pretty much everything. We covered a lot of the beach in each lap, turned around and went back to beyond the subs. This is great stress relief as long as you don't drop down dead. We would finish at different points on the beach absolutely spent. I could see Mary bent double, quarter of a mile off. And then we started again and finished the last lap nearly together, both totally done in. It is supposed to be a great way of training. The firm but cushioning sand was a good surface for avoiding impact injury. Once we recovered we both felt high as kites, if a little damp and wrung out.

loads of these about today
Had a search on google and they may well be Fox Moth caterpillars. Only I have never seen the actual moths at Gullane where there are dozens of the caterpillars which have the habit of curling into a ball when disturbed. I had to "let" this one climb onto my hand rather than pick it up as they stay balled for minutes after they sense a predator.

We then went for a swim. The water was calm and not too cold. We probably did about 30 mins. The tide was well out and so I opted for snorkle and big mask to see who I could see. I swam out to about 10~15 feet depth and the first chap I saw was Barnacle Joe an impressively large crab possibly with an eye and some legs missing from previous battles. My first instinct was to get my hand close for scale. My second was not to put my hand close enough to get it chopped off. He ran at quite a speed (faster than this gif suggests) and was absolutely fearless. His body was about the size of a saucer and if he had stretched out his legs, would have been about dinner plate sized. He was in about 10' of water so I would take a breath and dive down for a photo before the bouyancy of the wetsuit pulled me back to the surface. 

The water was particularly clear. You could see anything on the seabed while floating 12 feet over it. I was enjoying using the snorkle which means not having to disturb your vision to breath every few strokes. Like watching the tiles on the pool bottom it mostly keeps you right (swimming parallel to the shore.) I would lose myself just watching all the underwater stuff going by and only every now and then look up to make sure Mary was still swimming along ok. The clarity of vision does occasionally grab your imagination especially looking out into the green depths and my mind asks questions to freak me out... "what if you see a LARGE shadow lurk past just beyond the event horizon?". It is a exercise in mental strength to deny the shark-panic-button, to tell the caveman brain to get real, that there are no dangerous creatures lurking in the depths, waiting to drag me under. Most of the time I believe the evidence and logic to overcome this, and most of the swim today I was totally relaxed, blowing the water out of the snorkle every time I surfaced, without having to disengage from the underneath and splutter to the surface. Just occasionally my head trips me up and wonders what it would be like to feel 2 rows of teeth suddenly grab my ankle. Woah! brain put that thought away. I only freaked out once today; when I bumped into a Portuguese Man-o-Seaweed (photo above) which was floating on the surface. I had been looking down and only saw it after I bumped headlong into it. I played a short high-pitched tune on the snorkle-trumpet.

There were many Harry the Crabs about today. (Or is that Harries the Crab?) This one was not paying attention at all and when I came into view he nearly jumped out his shell. We said hello and he offered to shake my hand. Hmmmm.

Got almost all the length of the bay then got out and walked back with M who was feeling a bit cold and knackered. (Mainly from that sprinting.) Great swim. Very relaxing and so busy having fun and looking at underwater scenery I wasn't even thinking about swim training or technique or having to empty goggles. Just getting lost in having a good time.

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