Friday, July 3, 2009

Where to start?

Well...I guess I'll go back to where my last post in May ended and take it from there...

When I started in the sea at the end of May it was still cold-10deg C. Which didn't help my shoulder at all, the cold was causing everything to tense up and making it worse. I was getting very annoyed that I couldn't get back into the training the way I wanted to, and at the same time I knew that I just had to be patient and let it heal. And then I was unbelievably lucky...we had a weekend of absolutely beautiful weather that brought the temperature up to 14deg C.

I was in Cavan that weekend for the Lough Sheelin swim. I had signed up to do the 15km swim but from the way my shoulder had been acting up the few days previously I figured I'd see if I could get to 5km and then decide what to do from there. We travelled up to Cavan on the Saturday and headed to Martin Cullen's house-the race organiser and our very kind host for the weekend. He had prepared a huge dinner spread so we ate until we were bursting and then chatted for a while before getting to bed. Sunday morning was an early one but it did start with the yummiest porridge ever made for us by Martin! A great start to the day. We headed for the lake and got ready to start. It was a beautiful day, not a ripple on the lake. I was sharing a kayaker with Imelda, and decided that I'd head to the 5km mark and see how I felt then. So off we went. The water temperature was gorgeous-15deg C, and it was lovely and clear-normally I'm not a big fan of freshwater swimming because it can be quite murky, but this wasn't really. It was a perfect day for a swim, and for the first time in a long while, my shoulder didn't hurt :) I was feeling great! We got to the 5km mark and I decided that I'd go to the 7.5km and stop there at the half-way point. I was feeling good enough to turn around and start coming back (the course was 7.5km to the other end of the lake and 7.5km back) but the most I had managed the week before was 5km and I was sore after that so I didn't want to risk pushing it too far. And I didn't regret my decision after-I got out feeling really good for having completed more than I had planned and I wasn't sore. When I got back to the start I sunbathed for a while, did the 1km swim to stretch out, and basically enjoyed the afternoon. It had been so long since I just enjoyed swimming-it had become such a chore and something that I had to do rather than something that I wanted to do. And I had gotten to the point where I thought that the injury was never going to go away, that I was going to spend the summer fighting it. But the swim showed that it could go away, and it would in time. It was just a really important day for my recovery I think-both physically and mentally. And I can't wait to go back next year and do the full 15k!

Now it's time to go and get myself ready for my long swims this weekend...more to come on Monday...I figure that if I keep posting in bite-sized pieces I might eventually catch up! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Where did June go?

Things have been so crazy the past month. As they have been the month before and the month before that I guess. But now that I'm in the sea I've got travel time to and from training, plus all the time that it takes to try to coordinate company for my swims. Not a straightforward task when I'm doing 8 and 10 hour swims!! But all has been good, and yes, I have been doing those long swims, and the best part is that I've been able to-shoulder pain is GONE!! Mostly anyway-on the very rough days it twinges but then I just get out of the rough conditions-luckily there are a few areas around Sandycove that are always quite calm. And I've swum enough in those rough conditions to know that I'm able to if needs be-I can't see any benefit in swimming through them for the sake of it and ending up injured again.

June has been quite a fun month with lots of different things going on. Ned organised a long distance training camp, so we had some visitors around for a couple of weeks. In the middle of that we had the Champion of Champions and a 6-hour qualification swim for those doing the Channel this year. As well as that I've been swimming in lots of different places-Oysterhaven, Cobh, Loch Ine, Inniscara, even Kerry. It's been great to get a bit of variety-Sandycove is great for the boring mental training that needs to be done for the Channel but I think I'd go insane if I didn't get out of there every so often!!

And on top of all of that, the weather has been GORGEOUS! We did have a few days of extremely cold water in the middle of the month after a storm, but other than that it's been positively tropical-water temps are up as high as 15 or 16deg C. It means that the jellies are in, but it's mainly the pink non-stinging ones so it's not so bad. And it's worth it to not be shivering after every long swim!!

For now I don't have time to get into any more detail about what I've been up to, but I've got a rest day Friday so hopefully I'll get to put up some more about what I've been up to then :)