Sunday, April 19, 2009

Feed, swim, feed, swim......

I know that it's a while since I posted. I've been trying to settle back into the routine (which hasn't exactly worked with the pool so busy over the Easter holidays!) and I've also been doing a lot of thinking about the swim. My trip to Malta gave me a lot of food for thought. I came back from Malta feeling much less confident about my swim than when I went there. I loved the camp, it was really well-organised, we did lots of swimming and it was a lot of fun. And all the swims went really well, even the 6-hour swim was relatively easy (given the fact that we were stung from head to toe during it!). But I came home feeling a certain unease about what I'd taken on. And I've been trying to figure out why. I can only put it down to one of two things:

The cold. I didn't expect to be cold out there. I've done lots of cold water training over the winter, and I was comfortable in lower temperatures last summer. But I have lost a lot of weight training since then and I think that's what's making the difference. So I guess the camp was a good indicator that I need to start gaining back some of that weight over the next few months. Probably just 6 or 7 pounds-I wasn't so cold that I was shivering after the swims or anything. But enough that I'll be more comfortable in the water. I know that once I start getting in for longer lengths of time over the summer I will get better with the cold again. I need to keep remembering that the swim is almost 5 months away yet-plenty of time to get better used to the cold!

I had too much time to think about what I'm doing. Since we decided that I'd go for a two-way swim, I've been dealing with the practical aspects of it-changing my plans with my pilot, training more, contacting people who have done it before. But I haven't really had a chance to think about what it means. What it will be like to swim for over 30 hours. How tired I'm going to be. How hard it will be to leave that beach in France when I'll be so happy to have completed my one-way and then I have to do it all again. And I had a chance to think about all of this in Malta. And when I started to think about all of it I started to doubt myself. Can I really swim for 30+ hours? Will I really have the determination to turn around in France? But I realise there's no point in asking myself those questions. Because how will I ever know unless I try? I just need to stay positive and know that I'm working as hard as I can to prepare for this, and I will complete it. Freda's big advice for me about the two-way was "don't think about what you're doing, just swim from feed to feed". And I've heard that advice so often. But I realise now just how important it is. If I think about the whole distance that I'm going to swim it seems so long and overwhelming. But as long as I can swim to the next feed I will keep swimming. 

A lot of people talk about visualising their swim and how important it is to imagine leaving the boat and swimming to the beach, and how they will feel as they leave the beach, etc, until they imagine themselves landing, having finished their swim. That's just not for me. I don't want to know what's ahead of me. No matter how many times I imagine it, it will never be like that on the day. It's not that I'm in denial about what I'm doing, far from it. I just firmly believe that if I can concentrate on getting as much training in as I can and doing tons of open water swimming so that I can learn to deal with any problems that may arise on my swim, that will help me a lot more than imagining it all. I'm a very practical person anyway, I need to do things rather than think about them!

So from now on I'm just going to concentrate on getting lots of training and long swims done and get used to the routine...feed, swim, feed, swim, feed, swim....I'll get there when I get there!

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