#DofE Diamond Challenge week 3 – LOVED it!

I properly loved this week. Went to work as usual on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but at this end of the week cannot remember much about that. Which means that all the non-work stuff has been blotting it out, in a good way- is this the work-life balance tipping in the right direction?

DofE Gold-wise the three long-term sections have all been in action again…

PHYSICAL -swim swim swim. And run run (third run still to fit in). The Tuesday group run ramped us up to 2 minute runs, with 1 minute walks – which happily felt quite do-able on the flat paving of the seafront. Liked it.

Run 2 took me to the eastern edge of Dartmoor. After a cuppa with a friend, I’d allotted some ‘me’ time to run up a tor on the (very) long way round back home. Ascending the narrow lane up to the moor, the fog drew in until, on parking up in a gritty bay on the side of a cattle grid, the visibility was down to 30m, and the wind and rain was very much with me. Not a natural solo-walker (or runner), there were lingering feelings of wanting to go home and run on flat ground, with no possibility of meeting cattle in the mist, or falling in soggy bog. But off we went, my stripy legs and #MyOutdoorFeet, for a trigbagging, sole slurping, chilly but smiley run. Trig on top, mud both ways and COWS in the car park – unusually (perhaps because there was no-one to hide behind?) I managed to walk/run past these without crumbling mentally, and sat in the car with a flask of tea feeling like I could be like the chap who loped out of the mist and disappeared quickly in the opposite direction – give me few more months.

Not sure that Thursday morning would be most busy mums’ definition of ‘me time’, but I LOVED it!

Physical part 2 – Since last April the Devon Wild Swimmers, notably our Torbay Shoal, have broken me from the mum/wife/teacher humdrumming, and shown me the absolute fabulousness of swims in brown or blue, glassy or frothy, smooth or heaving seas. All weathers, all times of day. This week brought two events – on Friday I had the pleasure of in-the-flesh meeting twitter friend @jasonrawles on the Breakwater beach in Brixham, and extolling the virtues of this crazy immersion hobby! With water at 9.5c, he did brilliantly to get in and experience the fwaaaaar factor, whilst Mark and I did a few lengths of the beach. A sunny walk and coffee rewarded us. A great morning – meeting Jason was fab, he’s a real motivating force on Twitter, and well worth a follow. I think he enjoyed himself!? I LOVED it!

Breakwater pano

The second swim event involved penguin hats, water colder than the sea, wild swimmers in chlorine, and some excellent yet skimpy fluorescent czffqe4w0aakdhmtrunks (not mine!). After a twitter tutoring skills/share in the pub on Wednesday (during which a plan for a film festival was hatched on a beer mat – like all the best plans are) a rather cool King Penguin hat was rustled up by Mark @toughfabrics and the relay team Stepsisters 2 (there were another 2 teams of Stepsisters – all of us who swim at the Steps in Torbay) was complete. An Ice Gala – unheated pool, short races. Loved it!

SKILL – One crochet hat completed (a little last minute admittedly) as a raffle prize for said inaughatural Buckfastleigh Ice Gala, in aid of the community run pool. I love crocheting, having taught myself from YouTube videos a couple of years ago it is so satisfying being able to whip up a quick present or donation. Aiming to be more creative with it as the year goes on – the next project is in preparation for an event at the start of March, more on that next week.

Am I feeling ‘up’ because of the physical activity, or the socialising, or because the proportional effect of work has seemingly been squashed…who knows?

Thankyou to Guy (cuppa and checking me off the misty moor by text – always leave a route card folks!), Mark (for Brixham swim/penguin hat), Jackie (for twitter tutoring suggestion and film making ideas), Jason (for turning up to winter-swim, and coffee), Stepsisters 2 (for penguin team capers), and Buckfastleigh Ice Gala team. And of course my husband and boys for showing any interest at all in what I am choosing to spend my time doing – I am a happier, better mum/wife for it!

To come…

  • film festival ‘Swim Shorts’
  • night nav #Do52 with @seekingadventure
  • crochet cnidarians
  • residential plans…
  • expedition work – but not mine yet.

 

 

 

Diamond Challenge Week 2 – a week in numbers…

 

Last week’s progress, rather belatedly blogged…

7 – PHOTOS #MyOutdoorFeet – I am loving this photo project that I’ve set myself on Instagram/Twitter- this week’s pics have earned me a wildswimming name (like hash runners) of ‘Daily Feet‘…

6 – Gold Expedition teams with practice route plans to be checked (around , digitalised and set off towards their route card deadline

5 – day Residential that is proving tricky – how to fit this around family life, in school holidays…ideas welcome!

4 – CROCHETED rounds of hat – about 5 more rows to the end, and then I can move onto something more entertaining than black yarn!

3 – RUNS – a week, in the C25k programme. Tuesday is group run, and the other two need doing before the following Tuesday – which comes around all too quickly…

2 – SEA SWIMS (so far) both in daylight, sunshine, and with much handstanding and diving 🙂

1 – Bronze Training day in the organising – 110 Bronzes, 7 training sessions, many many spreadsheets…

 

 

 

 

Diamond Challenge Week 1 – Trigs, trainers and trebles.

One week done in my 12 month challenge – to re-do Gold DofE 25 years on…

Progress…

Skill: Crocheting a hat this week (top done, moving down the sides), to be donated as a prize for the upcoming Buckfastleigh Ice Gala – which is part of my…

  

Physical: After last week’s sea swim to bring in the New Year, this week the focus has been running – the first meet of the THHN ‘Slippers to Trainers’ group was on Tuesday. A 62-strong turnout for the first session of 1 minute reps along the seafront, and then we were tasked with completing the other two runs for the week on our own, or by buddying up with others through the Facebook page. My second run was alone, very muddy, and through the woods into a field of cows (eeek!), before sneakily finding a just-out-of access trig point for Trig 1 in the #TrigAWeekChallenge2016 instigated by Aleks Kashefi, or the Barefoot Runner @BarefootAleks.  

 My aim from running is to make legging it about after expedition teams on Dartmoor and in Wales a little easier on my ageing limbs, which brings me to…

Volunteering: Any spare minute last week was used in preparation for a DofE weekend Fri-Sun.  The DofE Leader/Manager role is one that takes up some of my contracted work time, but takes many many hours on top of that as it does for thousands of other volunteer adults across the UK – this week photocopying, designing quizzes, writing session plans, counting compasses and answering repeated emails from the Golds about their food, sleeping arrangements and so on. Shopping and packing the staff food turned out to be a major task – but you have to keep your volunteers happy, and the volume of sticky brown cake consumed on Saturday was a big box ticked.

38 Golds and our 6 staff went to our favourite bunkhouse and completed a large chunk of the expedition training syllabus before tracing out routes for a practice expedition later this term. 

  Returned on Sunday with a lot of damp kit, and very tired, but a lot achieved in a concentrated space of time, including…

Expedition: This section will be hard to complete, as at some point I’ll be demanding (yet another) 4-5 days out of life as a wife/mum, in order to go and “mess about” (thankyou husband) on Dartmoor with some friends who want to do the same thing (Claire, we need to fix a date!). I am slipping this weekend’s training for Golds under the radar as my own training as well…

and finally…

Residential: Still batting ideas about – could be craft based- but not sure I want 5 days in a row. Outdoor activity – would love to do a Winter Skills course, but transport from Devon and time to get to Scotland for guaranteed snow looks like a hefty time-away-from-family tag…will keep looking…

DofE Diamond Challenge PHYSICAL started!

2016 is the 60th year of DofE, and the  DofE Diamond Challenge runs all year, for anyone to take up. Some might be choosing challenges that happen as a one off at some point in 2016, others are going for longer term option…and I am one of the latter.

My #DofEChallenge is to re-do my entire Gold DofE Award, all five sections (for details see a previous post). So today was all about getting physical – my physical activity will be a combo of running and swimming…the running gets going with a first outing with a beginners group on Tuesday…more on that later this week, but today was the wet one – and wet it was, from all directions!

We met at a pre-arranged car park in deepest Devon, and stood about a bit looking at the waves – which were sizeable enough to have drawn in a good wave of local surfers (that is the real collective noun for surfers apparently).  After faffage of an average length (not bad for wild swimmers), the signal came – Carl in some luminous green trunks – and we hurriedly changed in the pelting down rain.

P1070143P1070137Within minutes nearly 30 of us were in the sea, this side of the harbour wall, and swimming out to the end of the breakwater.  Some even dashed along to the more southerly beach for a double dip…

In this weather it was not long before the post-swim scuffle with damp vests and sandy socks ensued, and then we headed to the pub. It is a well documented fact that outdoor swimming is at a least 50% about the social, and after 8 months of swimming I can certainly add to the anecdotal evidence that swimming outdoors is great great great for my mental health as well as physical wellbeing…I arrived home full of fish finger sandwich, toasted by the pub fire, with a big grin – they are right when they say “You never regret a swim”.

It looks as if the swimming may have to become more than 50% social, as a friend and I have out eye on an event later in the year…to be continued…

So my year of #DofEChallenge is ON!

What will yours be?