Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Last Long One...

So, after the antics of Friday night/Saturday morning, an easy day was called for on Sunday. Two hours in the lake, just enough to stretch out the muscles and see where the pains were. Thankfully I didn't feel much in the way of pain-I was, however, FREEZING! In 17deg C, I felt colder than I had the night before in 12deg C. It really showed me how important rest is-when the body is tired everything is so much harder. So I'd like to say that I slept well that night in preparation for my 14 hour swim the following day. But I didn't. I had gotten bitten all across my stomach during the night swim by sea lice, and basically looked like I was covered in chicken pox. And they were just as itchy. So I kept waking up on Sunday night finding myself scratching them and making them sore and itchier. I think I got about an hour and a half's sleep all night, maybe two. Not such good preparation for a long swim! Of course, the one time when I did manage to fall fast asleep was just before the alarm went off at 5:45am....typical.

I got myself moving, had a nice big breakfast and headed for the lake. I was hoping to start as close to 7am as possible so that I would be finished before it got dark that evening. It was a dull, grey morning, which didn't make getting into the water a very inviting prospect. But I greased up and got in. The water felt much warmer than it had the day before thankfully-I really didn't want to have 14 hours of feeling cold ahead of me!

I knew that Mark Sexton, a fellow Channel aspirant who was taking the day out of his holidays to do a long swim, was due to join me around 8am. So I hung around close to the slip until he arrived and then we started doing laps-each lap was 2 miles so these broke up the day nicely into 1-hour segments or a little more. Perfect for feeding. A lap, then a feed, then another lap. At 10am Ossi arrived with hot soup for us. Lovely! He warned us that bad weather was due for the afternoon-possibly gale-force winds and thunderstorms. I was kinda hoping for the thunderstorms because if there was lightning it would give me a valid excuse to get out!! But for now the weather was fine so there was no excuse for it, just keep on swimming...

A few hours later my parents arrived with another hot delivery, more hot soup and flasks of hot water for Maxim. At this stage Mark was starting to feel tired-he realised that he hadn't eaten much the day before and his body wasn't as well-fueled as it could have been. He stayed another half-hour, about 6 hours in total, and then I was on my own. I knew that I would have about 6 hours on my own before Imelda and Ossi came to join me at 8pm that evening for my final hour and a half. This was the testing time. 6 hours up and down to the buoy on my own. Total boredom. The weather was starting to get worse too so there weren't even very many walkers around to make me feel like I had company. Nothing for it but to keep the head down and the arms moving. I timed myself for each lap to make sure that I was staying on pace.

Then at around 5pm my mother arrived with yet more hot food. In the lashing rain. It was colder out of the water than in the water at this stage. But time was passing quickly, with each feed knocking off another hour. At around 7:30pm my parents arrived back to make sure that everything was going ok. At this stage the weather was horrendous. Of course the lightning storms never materialised (although I know that I would have been giving out like mad after if they had arrived and had disrupted my swim regardless of how much I wished for them there and then!). But there was wind and rain, rain and more rain. I knew that Imelda and Ossi were going to be there a half hour later so I just swam back and forth to the forest across the lake until they arrived. At which time Imelda decided to get in and up the pace to "see how I dealt with it". Surprisingly I was able to keep up. I guess all this training has taught me how to pace myself. My final hour was just as fast as my first. And I got out after 14 hours feeling GREAT! Both physically and mentally. I don't know if it was because I knew it was my last long training swim or what, but everything just fell into place that day. I love days like that where everything feels easy. It shouldn't have been-I'd done a long swim a couple of days before, I hadn't slept well, the weather was horrible and I spent a lot of the day out there on my own. But I never once had to really argue with myself about staying in there. I knew that I had to do 14 hours and I just went and did it. And I'm really hoping that it will be like that on my Channel day too. Head down, one arms in front of the other, over and over again. I'm not thinking for a minute that it's going to be easy. But I've done all the distance preparation I can do and I am ready to have my go. Bring it on!


Unknown said...

Incredible and inspirational !! .. I know if my alarm had gone off at 5:45am .. I'd have turned over .. ;-) ... Go for it !! Fergus

M said...

utterly astounding Lisa
you are so gonna nail that swim
I cant wait to hear all about it
wish I with you on the day
keep us posted
did you get my text

fantastic work
almost there

best wishes

Mark x

Catherine said...

Hi Lisa,
It was good to meet you weds evening, i was roaring laughing at how two hours was literally a dip for you whereas my one lap around the island was epic for me! I guess it's all a matter of where you're coming from....
Anyhow, can't wait to hear all the details of your crossing, you really are inspiring.