After last week's spell of summer-like weather, the past seven days were in stark contrast with temperatures plummeting to -1deg!
I think I might have cursed it last week when I was getting changed at the Serpentine and commented that I felt 'cheated' that I wasn't shivering. Well not only had the water temperature dropped by a few degrees this week, but my swimming costume and flip flops froze to the ground when I took them off. The shiver factor was well and truly back!
Sadly the change in weather also put paid to the introduction of the fourth discipline in my challenge - paddleboarding. I had booked a 'paddle and pick' session on the Thames which would have meant I was not only getting some more mileage on the water, but also clearing the river of plastic at the same time. Ah, but it wasn't to be. The organisers rang me on the morning of the session to say that it was 'too cold' which made me chuckle having just spent 20 minutes swimming in it! BUT, the session has been rescheduled for 2 weeks' time, so fingers crossed this challenge which is currently stubbornly remaining as a triathlon will get a boost then.
The distances this week are looking like this:
I was also pleased to be back at the 'Be Fearsome' bootcamp in Hyde Park this week. Following the recent easing of Covid 19 restrictions, we are once again able to join the early HIIT/HIRT class on Wednesday. All socially distanced of course, it was great to be able to do my strength training around others. The photo above shows that the chilly 6.45am start was worth it for the view of the sun coming up over the Serpentine.
By now I would just have passed the city of Cajamarca in Peru. Situated in the Northern Andes, 2,750m above sea level it is known for its numerous examples of Spanish colonial religious architecture, beautiful landscapes, pre-Hispanic archaeological sites and hot springs in the nearby town of Baños del Inca.
Yet again there are few similarities between Cajamarca and London in terms of climate. Apparently in that part of South America over the course of the year the temperature rarely goes below 3deg or above 21deg. Whereas in London we have gone both below and above that over the course of one week!
And with 2,254km completed I am now officially one quarter of the way through my challenge. My next milestone will be next week when I hit my 53rd birthday, eek, how did that happen!?
This is a week that made me happy for many reasons!
The clocks going forward meant that the days seemed brighter and longer, and we actually had two days which seemed like summer at an unseasonable 22deg.
But the main excitement had to be that the latest easing of Covid restrictions meant that outdoor swimming officially opened up! So instead of a 3 hour round bike ride to Teddington, I could pop down to my lovely Serpentine within an hour. It was SO good to be back and what's more the temperature was now actually just tipping into double figures too! I could hear the shared excitement as the members giggled and even sang as they got changed after their much awaited Serpie swim. That's one thing about Covid, it really makes you appreciate the simplest things in life.
Having said that, I have made some really good connections during my swims in the Thames, so I couldn't resist a Good Friday trip back there. Well worth it if even just to meet myself in dog form - this is Dash in the video below (Dash by name and by nature) endlessly diving into the river enthusiastically after his ball.
So my totals this week are looking like this, with the swimming distance now creeping up:
Swimming 3.06km (whoop!)
It also sees me reach another milestone of covering over 2,000km which is a satisfying feeling.
This would see me arriving at the town of Bagua Grande in northern Peru. Known for its agricultural trade, the economy is based on the production of very high quality rice, corn and coffee. It is affectionately referred to by the locals as Coraźon de Amazonas (Spanish for 'Heart of the Amazonas') due to its location. Set on a hillside by the river Utcubamba, means that it is warm and rainy for a good part of the year. Yet again my challenge doesn't quite match the local conditions in London where we fluctuated between a sunny 22deg one day to anticipating snow in the next few days!
However, all being well, that riverside location might just come into play next week as I (hopefully) add a fourth discipline into my challenge which for the past 3 months has definitely been more of a triathlon than pentathlon. Watch this space.....
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.