Welcome, formerly known as 'Salford Swim Swim'. This is a Manchester blog about running and swimming and random stuff. Oh and mental health, it is good to be mentally healthy. Which we of course are not.......so if you're not too then check this out.........Moodswings

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Midweek training


3 kilometre run at 8.5k per hour pace
5 x 50 reps of arm weights
100 sit up roller bar things
1 kilometre swim - front crawl whilst dodging amorous couples, I reckon that added a few meters to the distance.


1.36 kilometre swim

I can't say I have been good with food, I had a massive binge on jaffa cakes yesterday and right now I am feel pretty sick from throwing pizza and cheesecake down my throat like Augustus Gloop. I have no idea why I am not losing any weight or why the top half of my body seems to replicate that of a pre-pubescent boy?

I must lose some weight, they don't make wetsuits for girls with the figure of Danny Devito. I reckon the only way to stop me eating is wiring my jaw shut. Plus Kath is like a lanky dolphin and is likely to lap me on the big day, irrespective of the age gap.

On another note, did anyone watch this tonight?? I don't normally like Robson Green, I'm ashamed to say I laughed at him when he wore a pair of budgie smugglers and when he was on the brink of hypothermia. Maybe I have chlorine poisoning. Fast forward to 6 mins 25 secs for one of the best bits.

Wild Swimming Adventure - this actually makes me want to go wild water swimming around Britain. I get swept up with such fanciful ideas though. I'm capricious, it will never happen.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A new start....

And so the day dawned when I was to give up drinking. My final assessment with the NHS was done. This one had concluded that the nurse was safe to come to my house (which had been ascertained by her coming to my house and surviving...) and the necessary medication confirmed. I was to take Librium in decreasing doses over four days, followed by Campral for the next year. The Nurse was to come to my house and check on me and breathalyse me over the first four days.

Given that it was the first day of the rest of my life I'd love to say I was up, dressed, and just preparing a fresh cup of coffee and arranging some flowers when she arrived. As it was, a friend rang me about ten minutes before she was due and woke me up. I found I'd passed out fully dressed and on top of a Cadbury's Creme egg which I'd bought along with my last bottle of wine. Yes, they really do start selling them before Christmas now.

The Nurse was very polite about my somewhat dishevelled and, erm, sticky appearance. I daresay she'd seen worse things. I was duly breathalysed (I was twice over the limit for driving, which luckily I can't do) and started on the tablets. These, combined with an absolute monster hangover, pretty much knocked me out for the day.

Tom from Moodswings and I were both agreed that I should be upfront with my kids (who are twelve) about what I was doing, so they knew why I was so ill and they looked after me that day. They went to Greenhalgh's and got us pasties for lunch and we had them as a picnic in my bedroom.

Given how very ill I felt, it was fairly easy not to drink that first evening. I just made sure I went to bed super early.

The best bit was the following morning when I set up a new savings account with the lovely First Direct, and transferred the £5 I'd saved by not drinking into it. I've done that every morning since. Tomorrow I'll have £500 in that account....

Running mixtape

stuff to make you run faster:

Hot Chip - Over and Over
The Chemical Brothers - Out of Control
Bloc Party - Banquet (boys noize remix)
Prodigy - No good for me
Pantera - walk
Link2manydj's - Joe le taxi/ crush on you
Rage against the machine - know your enemy
New Order - Blue Monday

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


this is not for people training or losing weight, it's just fit and very naughty.

Though a little cold and I didnt get as much sweet potato as usual.

jealous? you should be...................

chicken bibambap and tempura sweet potato from the little korean take away place behind sand bar

face shots

Kath and Sam

our glamorous ball blower - Pete


Monday, 28 March 2011

swimming pool etiquette

1. don't go the pool with your partner for a marathon snog-a-thon and get in everyone’s way - get a room perverts
2. don't winge and tut when someone who is 'proper' swimming splashes a couple of drops at you whilst swimming front crawl round you and your boyfriends synchronised doggy paddle.
3. don't get in the pool if you don't want to get your hair wet.
4. don't kick people in the face, especially if they are super phobic of feet
5. make sure you remove all eye make up before entering the pool - my face made a kid cry last week
6. regularly check your explicit body parts are tucked away - lads do not swim in your white underwear - it becomes transparent when wet
7. don't wee in the pool - i would hope you are all practising this one already

I don't have Kath's wit or literary talent so you are all just going to have to put up with my more shallow posts.

Sunday I went to the aquatics centre for a swim. I got a mile in (32 lengths of the big boy pool - 50m). though the pool was like some gross swingers party, full of couples pashing in the water with their legs wrapped round each other.

please note - the only reason i made it out on sunday without quitting was because of Kath's brave and truly inspirational post. despite the fact she herself sacked the sunday swim off.

and I did this on saturday, it was slow but i had a poorly foot didn't i.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Trying to keep up with Sam's prolific blogging....

So, with Tom's words of encouragement ringing in my ears, I started navigating the NHS' support for kicking the booze. This seemed to consist of them calling me in to ask me some questions, then making me another appointment in a fortnight's time so that someone else could ask me the same questions.

I had an assessment of my mental health - I was clearly none too well, but was told there was nothing to be done until I was off the booze. The Addiction Dependency Solutions service offered plenty of group sessions, but there was nothing I could go to as it was all in worktime. And I'm sure AA is a wonderful thing which works well for huge numbers of people. I just don't happen to be one of them.

Fortunately, during this time of waiting I saw Tom regularly. It was not a happy time - I was absolutely terrified of an impending life without alcohol - but Tom always helped me to see the brighter side and seemed to believe in me being successful. He worked with me on positive, practical solutions for how to change my life. Drinking takes up a lot of time if you do it as properly as I did, so we looked at ways that I would fill that.

Coincidentally, one of the plans that I came up with for filling that time was training for and doing the Great Salford Swim. Although admittedly I forgot to factor in blogging time....

And here is a picture of some stepladders. I include this as I had a huge panic attack on similar stepladders when getting the Christmas decorations down from the loft. That's the same stepladders that I was on when I was dancing on one leg to The Cure when decorating my bedroom a couple of weeks ago....

Bacoffee Milkshake

rocket fuel (on account of the caffeine)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 shot of coffee (instant is fine)
  • milk
blitz in a blender and serve with a straw

Saturday, 26 March 2011


my foot hurts, i get swelling under my heel (Plantar fasciitis) if i don't stretch properly. it's an injury i picked up ages ago when i was trying to train for the great north run. so i have to wear this rather fetching splint to stretch out my calf muscle.

the plan was to run another 5k at least today but i might have to go swimming instead to prevent further swelling.

i know the bottom photo has no bearing on this training blog but he is so flipping cute he had to feature. the good thing about the splint it i can sit on my fat backside whilst it works.

Friday 25th March 2011

Friday started well, I had a healthy breakfast and lunch but i slipped with a chocolate oreo milkshake from 'Shake that'. if you have not been you are missing out, they have loads of flavours. you can find it at the side of jabez clegg, just off oxford road.

When I got in from work I ran to the gym and back, totting up 5.3 k, 100 sit up bar things and some weights. I really need to build up my arms as they are the first bits to get tired when i am swimming.

the night followed with one of these, all good work undone.

images lifted from google images

Thursday night splash

I have been good, thursday night I went to my swimming lesson in town and was set a pace challenge. I had to swim 6 sets of 100m metres aiming to maintain the pace and swim each 100m in the exact same time.

So here's how it went:
  • 1. 2 mins 18 secs
  • 2. 2 mins 18 secs
  • 3. 2 mins 21 secs
  • 4. 2 mins 19 secs
  • 5. 2 mins 19 secs
  • 6. 2 mins 22 secs

I am pretty chuffed with that, Lucy (my instructor) is sure I will deffo swim the mile in under and hour and my aim is to do it in 45 mins or less. At that pace I am on track.

In total I think I nearly swam 80 lengths but i was concentrating on technique.

I wish I could show you a photo of the gorgeous 1920's pool but i think i would get arrested if i got my camera out. maybe i will ask Lucy to take a photo for me when it's empty.

Kath finally starts blogging...

OK, so I’m late as ever. Sam tells me that blogs are what people do when they train for sponsored events. She’s considerably younger than me, so I suppose she knows about these things. Left to me I’d be passing a sponsorship form round.

No one is more surprised than I am that I’m going to be swimming a mile. Outside. In Salford. It is just not at all the sort of thing I normally do.

I’m supposed to be doing a training blog to let everyone know I’m doing lots of swimming. I’m not sure how fascinating that will be, to be honest. You will, at any rate, be pleased to hear that I’ve rejected the idea of strapping a waterproof camcorder to my head so everyone can see a video of my arms flailing about in the water as I go up and down the pool.

Anyway, I thought I’d go back to where it all started. That was not, as may be expected, at the swimming pool, but in a small room at work where I first started seeing Tom from Moodswings.

He’s Fizz from Coronation St’s Dad, by the way. There are lots more pics of both him and Jenny on the Moodswings website http://www.moodswings.org.uk/.
Most people don’t know that I have depression and anxiety. I’m not one to go on about it. But anyway I do, and at that particular point I was more in a mess than usual.
My 16 year old relationship with my kids’ Dad had irrevocably broken down, but I didn’t have a clue how to move from living together to not living together. The kids, the house, the mortgage, the car, the cat – what was to become of all those things? The only thing I knew with any certainty was that, no matter what, he was having the CD collection. Anybody who has ever heard a cowboy yodelling or Ethel Merman singing disco classics first thing in the morning will understand.

So what to expect from counselling? Someone to listen, nod from time to time, and ask me how things made me feel? Someone to say “Hmmm” at intervals and look understanding and empathetic?
That’s not the Moodswings way. Obviously Tom listened to what I had to say, my random meanderings of half-baked plans for what on earth to do. Then he told me, ever so nicely, that I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

He followed up with lots of very practical advice for me, advice which knocked months, if not years, off the separation process. He made me see that it was in no one’s interests, least of all the kids’, to prolong being together. There was never going to be a “good time” to split up.

He also gave me the number of an accountant, Gordon Levy, who came to see me at work in my lunch break and went through my finances with me, free. It was him who worked out I could afford to stay in my house, on my own. From there it took me about eight weeks to be living on my own, sharing custody of the kids with my ex-partner, who now lives about ten minutes away.

This is my debit card (actually it’s not. It’s an image I downloaded, but it’s very similar. I LOVE First Direct BTW. There are many, many reasons why they consistently win prizes for their customer service). I smile every time I use it, because it is on my own account, rather than the old joint account. There may be less money, but it’s all mine!

The next session with Tom told me exactly what I already knew. He’s terribly good at stating the bleeding obvious in a way that makes it meaningful. My next step pretty much had to be giving up drinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bottle of vodka in my desk. I didn’t even drink spirits. I liked the process of getting drunk, rather than actually being completely out of it, though of course I generally ended up that way. I didn’t need a drink to get out of bed, I never had a day off work because I was drunk or hungover. I was a functioning alcoholic. Or, as I was to find over the numerous NHS assessments I had over the forthcoming weeks, I was “alcohol dependent”.

Many, many people have said that it’s coming to the decision that’s the hardest bit. They are right. I was fortunate, very fortunate, to have Moodswings there to guide me through that part. The actual stopping drinking was, relatively speaking, a breeze.

I had my last drink on 19 December. Well, to be fair it wasn’t just the one. There were 7 empty wine bottles in my kitchen the next morning. I hadn’t had all of it, but there were only two of us drinking that day....

It’s not much of a training blog is it? I haven’t even got wet yet.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thursday 24th March 2011

So I was naughty last night, I didn't go for a run or swim but in my defense I got some good news and had a celebratory tea and some cocktails. My aim is to train 4 times a week and I have been maintaining that but I can't seem to do anything on a Mon, Tues or Weds. So I hammer it from Thurs to Sun. Also I have a swimming lesson tonight and I get worked super hard when I go there.

So this morning I decided to get up a little early and squeeze in a tiny run in before work. Only 2.5k but it made me feel better about cheating last night and it certainly woke me up. I did resent getting out of my pit though, especially because Mr Sam is a student and was snoozing long after I left for work.
anyway, here's some nice ducky pictures from my run........

Mr Moodswings

This is Mr Moodswings himself, Tom McAlpine. Tom is a depression beating super star. I'm pretty sure he has done some modelling in the past because posing comes so easily to him.

Do you know anyone with a severe mental illness that you think would benefit from some Moodswings support?

If so, ring their helpline on
0845 123 60 50

apologies for the quality of the photo's, it's not the models fault. it's because i have been using my ipod.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Open water swim gear

We have to wear wetsuits as standard for the swim because it is going to be freezing. There are some comical accessories to accompany the suit, my particular favourite are the webbed gloves.

The humiliation never ends. all of this can be yours for the bargain price of £180! if anyone wants to donate some swimming wetsuits to us we would be super grateful.

I know this isn't a food blog but check this out for a 'fit' tea.

Cajun chicken
ricey thing with coriander and avocado.

it's better than what I had for breakfast but I am trying to make up for not going swimming last night. I did put together a
Ikea bookcase on my own and I got a deep neck sweat so I reckon that counts as training.

Plus I am going to do the double tonight - a 3k run and a swim. In your face
kath henderson!

This is the face I see when I open up a
webpage at work, Prof Cox is featuring on the University homepage at the moment. he is a talented man don't you think?

photo courtesy of the The University of Manchester website.

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