Lets Get Challenged!!
A new day and a new year, and already the year is getting off to an interesting start. As it is a new year, there is only one thing for it, a New Challenge!
2016 was a great year in a lot of aspects of my life but this blog focuses on my wallowing so it goes without saying that in the water I managed to surprise myself many times and feel that I am nearing the point of being able to swim the longer distances. I have been lucky to have completed quite a few swims over 25km in the last couple of years and each swim brings with it new challenges and another opportunity to learn and hone my skills in the open water. No matter how many marathon swims I do, I always learn something about myself and also how amazing the team of people is that help me in every aspect. Not many out there would give up a perfectly good Saturday to kayak support for some madman who thinks it is a good idea to swim around a lake in Italy, Zurich, Arizona or Dover habour. But there is one who does just that – and does it willingly. Huge hats off to the Slimhippo, without you and your support, I would not be able to do half of what I have done. Another faithful supporter is Colin Durrant from Colins IT who still finds my ability worth nurturing and is crucial with all the help that he has given me over the years. I have him to thank for this website and much much more.
A few 2016 highlights include yet another Jubilee swim, a 27km marathon swim in Lago D’Orta (Italy) and to cap it all of I really pushed the boat out of my comfort zone by completing my 2nd 100 x 100 on 100secs. ———–IN WATER of 30 Degrees Celsius. I also won a few short events at my local lake to keep me in free swimming passes to the Lovely Shepperton Open water swim venue. I look forward to the lakes opening again so I can keep going on another challenge
So what Challenges are ahead?
It looks like it is going to be quite a busy year away from the water so I have had to curtail my swimming in 2017 and have had to choose just a few swims this year and bearing in mind for about a month in the summer I will be out of commission, I have spread them across the year.
1st up – the PHISH endurance event. PHISH stands for Parliament Hill Icy Swim Hootenanny (no, I did not come up with the name) and the challenge – approximately 1km of swimming in water below 6 Degrees Celsius (42.8F). I have just been informed that last year the water was a bone chilling 3.2 degrees Celsius (37.7F).
I have never really gotten into cold water swimming but many have tried to tempt me. Well, this year, with other things on the to do list. I decided to try and keep things a bit more local so figured that I would try it out. I hope that I have not bitten off more than I can chew. After doing a few cold water swims, the latest being this morning with water at 4.7 degrees Celsius, I find it very interesting what happens with my physiology. Every time I enter into cold water, things go a bit differently. For instance, today, I did not suffer from the dreaded ‘afterdrop’. My body was absolutely fine, I did not even get the shivers that badly. My fingers and toes, on the other hand (see what I did there), took a good couple of hours to get back to some form of normality. All in all I am now fine and will do it again next week. I will also make sure the tech is working before I jump in so that I can get an accurate distance and time in the water
2nd – Jubilee river. I have done this a few times now and will be more focused on getting others into the water so will not be doing this on my own but in the form of a relay. I might just swim with my teammates the whole way, if they will let me.
3rd challenge will be the Bridge to Bridge 14km swim in the Thames. I have tried to enter this many times but have failed as I have always wanted to do it without a wet-suit and it seems that such places are very hard to come by. I finally managed to get in though and I’m looking forward to it.
4th – Double Windermere. This is a swim that I have entered before but never managed to get to the start. Hopefully this year will be different and I will be at the start line. It is an overnight swim so with a possible start at about 9.30 pm, I should be done by 7 am in time for breakfast.
5th Challenge – to keep up the short races at Shepperton and keep at the top of the Bioprene group.
Two further challenges that are a possibility at the moment are trying and get into the 2 swim 4 life swim(I am on the waiting list) so that could be a 6th challenge. There is also a group of us thinking about a Jubilee Thames Loop in one day – 28km so this might happen at the end of the season.
A final challenge I have thought about and this is probably going to be the hardest one of of all. It will help me with respect to focus and try to get me away from my usual Modus Operandi of cramming in a bit of training just before a swim and hopefully spread my swims out evenly over the year. It ties in with another milestone in my life so The challenge is – before the 1st December 2017, to swim at least 430km. I will endeavor to keep a log on my website for people to follow and later in the year I will choose a charity to do these challenges for. I need to have a few discussions before I reveal the Charity(ies) I will support.
It will be a diversion away from my normal way of training. I have never ever logged how much swimming I have done over the course of any period so it will be quite interesting to see how things go and will hopefully keep me exercising REGULARLY.
Throw in a wedding, a honeymoon and a few other home-front challenges and the above, I think that will be enough to keep me busy for a couple of months.
As 2017 dawns and each new day begins, I am reminded how lucky I am to have my health, family and friends and opportunities to make a difference in this world. No matter how small they are, I hope I am given many more opportunities to make a difference in YOUR lives as much as you have made a difference in mine.
Happy 2017 and I will keep this blog up about every two weeks to keep you up to speed with my 430km challenge