Time to man up!!!!!
O H M Y G O S H! The last couple of weeks have just evaporated. I can only hope that the same is happening to the lakes in Arizona, that way it will be less distance that I have to swim. Oh well, I can only hope, failing that, it is time for me to put on my big pants and get focused.
Training has been going pretty well although 8 km is about the longest swim I have done for a while. I am hoping that doing shorter swims very often is as good as doing LONG swims less often. Currently training 5 – 6 days a week and most sessions now last 2 hours or more. This coming weekend will be a bit of a breakthrough as I plan on a 10 km on Saturday. Till then I will be in the pool everyday after work. makes the days very long with a full days work then 2 of swimming. I do not get back home much before 9.30 in the evenings only to cook, clean, then bed. Although I do wake up at stupid o’clock, I really do not have the drive at the moment to go and hammer out 4 km before work, I can only imagine what my day would be like, I would be fast asleep at my desk by about 11am. For the next couple of weeks I might have to give it a go and see how it works out.
I am still managing to mix up my training a bit and last weekend I went off to Guildford Lido to meet up with a friend, Vicky Miller, who is swimming the north Channel between Scotland and Ireland. Guildford is not really your ideal training ground for a swim in Arizona. the temp is 10 degrees. When I arrived, Vicky asked how long I was going to do. After feeling the water I said, “I will be lucky to do about 20 lengths.” it was cold!! Well I jumped in and, pretty much immediately, lost feeling in my hands and feet, accompanied by a bit of brain freeze. After about 6 lengths, some feeling started to reappear as I warmed up. I managed to push on for 5.6km (112 lengths) before I called it a day. It was great swimming with Vicky, we are very similarly paced and both struggle from a “terrier like tenacity” If she was not stopping, neither was I!!! But after my 112 lengths, Vicky went on to do 140 lengths, I was enough. I got out and went for a shower and then had the inevitable 20 minutes of shivering, whilst waiting for Vicky to finish up.
On Monday night I was back to the Chlorine bathtub for 6.5 km which went fine, times pretty consistent and the last 2 km was done as part of a masters class so I used it just to stretch it out and do a fair amount of drill work. The rest of the week was a pretty awesome , albeit gruelling, week with regards to training. It all culminated on total of 31 Km in 5 days.
Saturday morning, I left to go and join the Charlton Lido Nutters at Charlton. They were all arriving a bit later so I took the opportunity to do a bigger distance. By the time Adrian and Mark had arrived, I had already done 5Km. I went onto do 8.6 km on Saturday followed by the chinwag at the pool.
After receiving a great little package from SBR Sports full of the wondrous products that would hopefully stop me trying to tear my hair out and rip my skin off.
Having used these wonderful products for the last week, I can definitely recommend them, The shampoo, conditioner and bodywash and cream are AMAZING. I cannot thank these guys enough and will definitely be using their products from now on. I will also be singing their praises to Everyone who swims. It only took one use to realise how effective these products are.
As I am training in Chlorine bathtubs, my costumes have taken a bit of a battering and I was in DESPERATE need of new ones, at least to keep my modesty in tact. My current costumes are more like drag pants than speedos, acting more like a parachute behind me rather than on me. Thankfully the lining is still intact. After much looking, I have settled on the following two little numbers:
At least divers will still be able to spot me if I end up at the bottom of a lake.
Hopefully these will now last me through the summer and I will not have to get anymore. I must admit, swimming in any colour other than blue or black can be a costly event.
So I still have a few things to get, lights for my night-time swim, I will possibly get a spare pair of goggles just in case, and I will be sorted. All these things to buy and so little money!! Oh well, I have the essentials, a body that has not let me down yet, a mind that can occasionally be called on to focus for more than a few minutes, orange everything and an awesome team behind me. I really do not need anything more.
The support Team
Colins IT continues its very generous support and is in the process of building a website for me which should go live soon. As mentioned, SBR have been very generous.
Now to the poor person who has agreed to kayak for me. Audra is coming along fine and this weekend has organised some professional kayak coaching. After the last episode, she skillfully managed to bruise her hand whilst holding the paddle incorrectly, Sadly this has put paid to her kayak training for a week or so but she is DETERMINED not to leave me up Apache creek without a paddle(r) – excuse the pun. Once she has had her training on the intricacies of holding a paddle. believe me, when you are doing it for 8 hours, those intricacies become VERY important. All should be good. She continues with her land training to get her core working correctly. She has been in touch with another kayaker, who has put most of her concerns to rest. I think? From the response that we have got from other SCAR swimmers, this is going to be a really great trip, the small problem of kayaking or swimming 40 odd miles seems positively tertiary in comparison to the other concerns that may appear along the journey. Like, What are the fish going to think of those costumes?
I am going to stand aside and let Audra regale you with her adventures to the River Cuckmere.
Take it away Audra……..
Greetings fellow support crew and swimmers! As you are no doubt aware, this is my first time as hands on support crew and despite Graeme’s relaxed outlook (‘You will be fine! What are you worried about?!’) I’ve been a little nervous about spending such a long time on a kayak given that up until very recently, they were just odd-looking boats floating by on the river. Thanks to some very good friends I am fortunately no longer a stranger to a sit-on-top kayak, but I thought it would be wise to learn the finer details, especially now that time is flying by. Cue this weekend; in true British fashion, overcast, the possible threat of showers, a stiff northerly wind and water temperatures of 9 degrees… practically tropical!
I donned my layers, gathered the necessary kit – waterproofs, wetsuit boots, lunch (essential items), suncream (ok, a bit tongue in cheek with that one) and EXTRA CLOTHES. Arguably the most important knowing my boarding skills! And I headed down to the Cuckmere River for a BCU-1 star course aka, the one for beginners. When I arrived, I was amazed to find I was not the only crazy person ready to brave the conditions. It was a full class, and after quick introductions, we were off – we carried the kayaks (I had a sit-on-top) to the water and for the first two hours, we learned the best and most efficient techniques to paddle. Its more technical than it looks! Reversing is my biggest bug bear – going slow? No problem! In a hurry? Forget it!! At least I did not lean back – the quickest way to capsize it seems! Anyway, the good news is I will not be paddling in reverse for 40 miles! A whole lot of river weed and unexpected visiting of the banks later, we moved on to the tidal river, where we practiced awhile and had that all important chat on safety. The time came all too soon to the part I’d been dreading – learning how to recover from capsizing! I listened VERY closely to the instructions! I can however tell you that once I hit that water, getting back into the kayak was actually pretty easy although somewhat of a blur. If they had been filming me they would have had to use a slow motion camera to show the details at normal speed! Amazing what a powerful motivator cold water is! This kayaking in the UK is not to be taken lightly and I will be investing in a wetsuit – but I’m pretty sure I’ll not need one for the US!
The course ended shortly after so that we could get warm (dry robes are truly magical garments!) – I am pleased to say that my hand has held up well, so the training has been worth it. All in all, it was money well spent and I feel more ready, so, here goes! SCAR swimmers, see you soon!