Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Tales from the fast lane-Part 3

The one good thing to come out of last week's Aquafitgate (and it's not that I survived in one piece) is the discovery of aqua gloves. Having felt the benefits of them, not immediately that is, but once the hurt had worn off (it took 3 days), I realised that I should be incorporating using some as part of my training. So unsure of the sizing, I ordered some online and hoped for the best.

As well as looking for new and different ways to improve my fitness I am also keen to get started trying different food options for the longer swims. I have to say that I really not sure whether food is allowed poolside but last year I successfully managed to avoid being detected and get away with a whole host of different foods including bananas, gels, Jelly Babies and Jaffa Cakes (only once). It's actually very difficult to be stealthy when the only terrain you've got to work with are blue tiles and windows, so actually it's hats off to me for being so successful! It's all about blending and frankly being a bit sneaky, so felt confident that I'd be able to pull it off again provided I continued using the same winning strategy. And so today's food of choice - a ClifBar. Being organised I had already broken it into bite size chunks in the wrapper to save time and the possibility of being unable to get it out later (looking back the irony is not lost on me). Today's approach for being undetected was to put a load of swimming related 'stuff' from my bag on the poolside making it less likely for the lifeguard to notice the bar, so I carefully choreographed a water bottle, goggles case, 2 spare caps, a float, 1 yet to be worn pair of (possibly child's size) aqua gloves, 4 hair bobbles, 3 earplugs (cant find the 4th) and of course the ClifBar. I strategically placed the objects around and on top of the bar, and began my swim.

I swam half a mile only using my pull buoy before then adding my, on the snug side, aqua gloves. If
I'm honest I'm not sure how tight/loose they are meant to be, but they did take a significant amount of time, and effort to put on-especially the second one, suggesting that perhaps I should have gone larger. I made a mental note to monitor the colour of my fingertips and if they had a purple/ blue hue about them, it will be considered a sizing error. I swam another 10 lengths before deciding to stop and have a bite of the ClifBar. I wanted to continue swimmimg with the gloves, and as I wasn't too sure that they would ever come off again I opted to keep them on. Unfortunately trying to open a small bar wearing gloves whilst being discreet is not something to be undertaken lightly. For starters it's really difficult pick up the bar from between all the swimming clutter I'd put on the side, and after fishing out one of the ear plugs and 3 hair bobbles from the pool (thankful I was wearing gloves, the clean up took no time at all), decided that my best option, without removing gloves or asking the lifeguard for help, and thus blowing my cover, was to use my teeth.

Ripping open a package with two gloved hands and your teeth should be an absolute doddle, so imagine my surprise when a piece shot out of its wrapper so fast I barely had time to react. In it's bid for freedom it bounced off the rope and plunged, at the speed of a bullet, into the neighbouring lane. In an attempt to salvage the situation and not draw the attention of the life guard, I used the gloves to propel me, at neck breaking speed, over to the offending escapee to retrieve it. I began to reenact last week's Aquafit class by using the scooping move to gather up the errant piece of bar, which to add to the drama, had by now divided, making gathering it up a bit like trying to herd cats! Some time later, and after what can honestly say was a not too shambolic effort of avoiding the attention of the life guard to the escalating situation, all the bits were successfully recaptured. Did I say only one good thing came out of Aquafitgate? Actually I'd go as far to say that there are now two good things. The first being how great aqua gloves are for helping with your training and the other is how amazing they can be in an emergency situation...

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