Swimming, 24th May 2019

I don’t know why I type this any more 😀

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

I felt quite tired today so I wasn’t sure how things would go. I certainly wasn’t expecting too much. Just to get as far as yesterday would have been good. But as it turns out I managed to complete fifteen reps before failing on sixteen: one better than yesterday. I failed again on twenty-one before swimming the set out. As a result I was quite pleased with my performance. Hopefully I can continue to improve next week.

USRPT distance this year: 129,000m
Total distance this year: 131,550m

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Swimming, 23 May 2019

And again…

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

A little better again today. First fail on rep fifteen, then things got a bit messed up, I think because I misread the clock due to my goggles fogging up which meant my timings were off. I had a second failure on rep twenty-one before finishing the set.

USRPT distance this year: 127,300m
Total distance this year: 129,850m

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Swimming, 21st May 2019

Getting a touch bored with this now, but I need to keep on.

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

A little better than yesterday. First fail on rep thirteen today, and then again on twenty before swimming the set out.

USRPT distance this year: 125,600m
Total distance this year: 128,150m

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Swimming, 20th May 2019

Keep going…

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

An improvement on last week today, this time failing on reps twelve and nineteen.

USRPT distance this year: 123,900m
Total distance this year: 126,450m

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Building an observatory. Construction #72

The last week has mostly been one of flooring. I finished off the foam tiles around the last pier, taking a huge amount of time just to make sure I didn’t get things wrong and varnished the floor in the warm room.

A used pier adapter arrived for the HEQ5, so I set that up on the last pier, but it doesn’t come with a suitable alt-az pin (the HEQ5 mount has the pin cast as part of the tripod). I’ve not yet found a solution for this that I like, so that requires more thought. I have tried a threaded rod with flats filed on for the adjustment bolts to bear on, but it really needs a locknut and there’s just not space — any nut seems to foul the body of the mount.

I also ordered a pull strap to allow me to lift and lower the flap.

Once the warm room floor was dry I laid most of the carpet tiles. The only ones left now are those around the ducts for carrying cables to the mount where they come through the floor, and a small area I’m going to have carpeted immediately inside the external door. I’ve decided to put a box around the ducts to make the carpeting easier because it’s quite hard to cut. It will have to be removable, but that’s hardly the end of the world.

Finally, I cut the ply to line the flap and fixed it in place only to find that the flap is such a snug fit that it fouled the roof with the ply on. I had to remove it all and trim a little off the edge. With that done and the ply fixed back in place again I painted it the same colour as the walls and fitted the pull strap.

I’m not entirely happy with the pull strap, actually. As the flap folds down at about shoulder height and is not particularly light, it’s hard to control as it is lowered and difficult to get moving to lift. I’m going to look at other ideas that might help with this. In the long run, it will probably involve counterweights.

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Swimming, 17th May 2019

And once more, with feeling…

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

I struggled today. I ended up swimming next to a one-man wave machine and I couldn’t really get settled in. In the end I failed on reps six and twelve. Shortly afterwards Mr Wave Machine left and I swam the rest of the set out. Not entirely happy with the result, but I can live with keeping the number of fails to just the two.

USRPT distance this year: 122,200m
Total distance this year: 124,750m

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Swimming, 16th May 2019

Here we go again:

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

I could feel fatigue in my arms during my warm-up today. I didn’t think it was going to be a great day. In fact I’d kind of set a target in my head of trying to make ten reps before failing, such was my lack of energy.

Things didn’t quite turn out that way though. Despite that tired feeling I managed to keep going, mostly in the 48s until my first failure on rep nineteen. I had a couple in the 49s, but those I think were due to poor turns. After that I had another failure on rep twenty-two at which point swimming the set out was hardly troublesome.

So, not actually a bad day at all. I have to keep reminding myself that I have never performed this well before. Every time I improve is effectively a new “personal best”.

USRPT distance this year: 120,500m
Total distance this year: 123,050m

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Swimming, 14th May 2019

And once again…

  • 400m f/c warm-up
  • 24 x 50m f/c, target time 50s, turnaround 70s
  • 200m swim down

Felt reasonably comfortable today and whilst I had one rep over 50s in the first five whilst I was finding the pace, after that things went pretty well. If anything I think I was probably going a bit too fast with quite a few 47s and 48s, but as long as I’m making progress I guess I won’t worry about that too much. My first fail came at rep eighteen and after that I failed again on rep twenty-one, but I was only just out and for some reason had a very lazy finish so I really ought to have made it. I reckon I’d have failed on the next anyhow though, as I was definitely feeling quite tired at that stage. Anyhow, from there it was easy enough to swim the set out.

It’s interesting how things progress with the USRPT sets. It seems quite common when the set changes that I struggle initially with failures quite early on, but then move forward quite quickly after a while. So let’s hope the next session is better yet.

USRPT distance this year: 118,800m
Total distance this year: 121,350m

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Building an observatory. Construction #71

A little delayed, the foam floor tiles for the scope room arrived today. I couldn’t just leave them sitting there so I spent a good half hour just playing with arrangements to try to minimise the cuts around the piers. I even thought about offsetting rows from each other, but the edges of the tiles are effectively “keyed”, so that isn’t possible. In the end I came up with something that meant two of the three piers were fairly straightforward to work around. The last requires a hole to be cut from the middle of a tile, or I accept that there will be at least a couple of joins that aren’t keyed together.

A couple of hours or so later, here’s what I have:

That last tile standing up is the awkward one to fit around the pier and it is the last one I have. There is no room for error. The waste (from two dozen tiles) is what’s lying on the floor. In fact that’s not entirely all waste, as I have a couple of little bits still to fit around the trunking and on the right hand side of the closer pier. It was 10pm and I was feeling a little tired, so I decided I’d leave the complicated bit until tomorrow.

Overall I’m very pleased with them. They’re comfortable and warm underfoot (I was working barefoot again) and very easy to work with. They cut very easily with a sharp knife and can be marked with a pencil when measuring them up. I was a little confused initially by the fact that the edging pieces didn’t all match. They are one of two shapes and won’t fit along an edge together. It’s necessary to stick with one of the edges or cut a little piece off the second so it matches. Hardly a big problem. They were really quite smelly when I opened the packaging too, but either that got better during the course of the evening or I got used to it 🙂

I have cut the tiles to fit a little more snugly than has been recommended to me. As I don’t really know how much expansion there will be over the area I have I decided I’d leave a small gap and if I need to take off a little more that won’t be a problem.

Also arriving today were the “feet” for the posts to support the ends of the roof rails. They’re basically a U-shaped bit of galvanised steel plate to hold the end of the post with a short section of rebar (also galvanised) welded to the bottom. The rebar just goes into a bit of concrete in a hole in the ground. I’ll take a photo when I get around to fitting them. My cup truly runneth over as that wasn’t even the end of it. A new (to me) PSU arrived to replace my old Maplin XM21X that died a while back.

I was hoping to get the power supply plugged into a mount and sort out a telescope to do a little lunar viewing tonight and perhaps even some imaging, but tiredness has caught up with me a bit. Saturday after next is the first anniversary of breaking ground on this project though, so I’d really like to have an opportunity to use it by then.

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Building an observatory. Construction #70

Gorgeous day today, though it started a little chilly despite the sunshine. I mowed around the observatory and did some prep work for laying the foam tiles, and as suggested by other observatory builders used some off-cuts of EPDM to close off the gaps between the piers and the floor (though I haven’t fixed them down yet):

Because it was such a lovely day I had the roof rolled back and I thought I’d get a picture of the mounts “in situ”.

And between doing other jobs I started to move some things down to the observatory to clear space in the house, which has involved finding some things I’d pretty much forgotten I had, they’ve been stored so long whilst we’ve been doing work on the house. I’m still not quite sure how I have so many of these.

Need to give the locking bolts a bit of a clean-up before they go back onto mounts. There’s some corrosion around the threads on all of them and one is particularly bad. Might need to look into something I can put on them to help prevent the dew getting to them that isn’t likely to get spread around places I’d rather it wasn’t.

Disappointingly though, my floor tiles were due to arrive “by 8pm today” and there is no sign of them as yet 🙁 It seems unlikely I’ll get them this weekend now. Looks like I might be sealing more of the floor whilst I wait.

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