It's definitely feeling like Halloween!
In keeping with the theme, my week started off with an event that wasn't related to any of my sporting disciplines, but was certainly a challenge! I am a great one for giving gifts to people that are experiences rather than objects. And as the recipients also tease me, they usually involve doing said experience with me too....well I mean what's not to like there? Due to the pandemic restrictions, Ian actually now has a bit of a stockpile of such unused gifts, so it's been time to start cashing them in. Sunday's jaunt was to the AIM Escape rooms in Aldgate and the challenge was to 'Escape the Psychopath's Den'. We had previously done the Sherlock Holmes escape room and had really enjoyed it so I thought this might be fun. I realise now that a lot like watching 'Only Connect', escape rooms require a certain mindset and probably a lot of practice to get the knack of.
Shut inside a dark blood splattered room with the clock ticking, we initially wondered if we 'only' had to get out of this one space, but of course no, we were led into a series of rooms with increasingly sinister subject matter, like dark poems to decipher, jars full of body parts and one of those puzzles where you have to avoid touching the metal with a loop around some copper pipes. Much hilarity ensued as I was rubbish at it and Ian consistently fell at the last hurdle/bend. By the time we got into the last room with only 10 minutes left on the clock, we found ourselves wrestling with a large suspended maze to try and navigate a ball to the centre to unlock the next series of clues. Alas time ran out and we had to be 'rescued' with a couple of elements yet to solve. Of course we said with another 10 minutes we could have done it! (I'm not sure if Ian is pointing to me in this photo as if to say I am a psychopath, or if it was my fault we didn't get out...hmmm).
But that aside, the sporting endeavours continue despite the increasingly dark mornings. I am looking forward to seeing the momentary difference the clocks going back will have on things, especially for my Wednesday morning HIIT class at Hyde Park. There is something quite ethereal about doing kettlebell swings and burpees when it is so dark, but unfortunately there is still no shirking or hiding from the instructor!
This week also saw me undertake my 'wildcard' challenge for this month, which was to do at least one of my sessions off road. Where to do this when you are London based? Epping forest sprang to mind as somewhere that I could get to on two wheels and then tick the off road box. Of course the weather doesn't take into account my endeavours and true to form it was peeing with rain on Saturday, dah! Leaving the house when it is chucking it down takes a certain resolve, but I had someone's words ringing in my head. I was sad to hear on Thursday night that my old swimming coach from Aberdeen had passed away. Dave Olsson was awarded the Best Coach Award at the Aberdeen Sports Awards twice, and also led our swimming club 'Silver City Blues' to an emphatic run of 12 consecutive triumphs at the Scottish National Masters Championships. He was such an influence on me, encouraging me to move to Edinburgh in my thirties for a job opportunity when I couldn't see past my life in Aberdeen. He was also the one that indoctrinated into me the phrase 'winners never quit, and quitters never win'. And so with that in mind I layered up and headed out the door to tackle the elements.
I was absolutely soaked as I arrived at Chingford wondering what the hell I was doing. But once I got onto the forest trails I found it strangely enjoyable trundling through the puddles. there's something that taps into your inner child about being covered in mud.
In fact the rain eased off momentarily as I stumbled upon the lovely Connaught Water. Hello, could this be an opportunity to go for a swim? Sadly for once I didn't have my costume on under my clothes!
But at least this boosted my mileage this week, with the distances looking like this:
Swimming: 3,800m (12.3deg in the Serpentine FYI!)
This would now see me having passed the small town of Trevelin, taken from the Welsh word Trefelin which means ‘mill town’. The story behind this began back in 1865, when 153 Welsh settlers landed in Patagonia aboard the converted tea-clipper Mimosa on the invitation of the Argentine government, which wanted to populate the plains of southern Argentina with European farmers. The settlers landed on the Atlantic coast before making the perilous trek towards what is now Trevelin, sitting in a valley where the first mill was established more than a century ago. With its population of just over 7,000, Trevelin’s tea rooms feel straight out of Aberdare. Few buildings, now dusted with snow in the southern winter, are more than a storey high. Even road signs proudly bear their instructions in Welsh - they are the only people to have trilingual road signs in Welsh, Spanish, and [the indigenous language] Mapuche.” Nowadays, some 50,000 Patagonians claim Welsh heritage.
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.