I have had some good sessions and some not too good sessions over the last month.
Not only has it been pretty busy at work, but my Dad has also been quite poorly. Travelling up and down to Leeds is quite tiring. The drive can take anything up to 6 hours + depending on the traffic.
Plus my working hours have been a bit hectic. This has led to a poor sleep (or lack of) and a poorer diet.
This has made a different to my critical swim speed. (this is the time it takes to swim 100m based on a calculation of your a 400m time trial divided by a 200m time trial)
I had been improving steadily but this week my time was much slower. I could not keep the pace at all. I carried on and kept resetting the beeper.
I looked back at the travel my diet and my lack of sleep. It was no wonder really. I find if I eat crap I swim crap. With the driving, a stay in a hotel, several missed meals and a couple of takeaways I was eating rubbish.
I am also increasing the distance and time I swim. My first 6 hour swim was suppose to be on 26 April but the missed sessions means I am postponing this until 11 May.
Consequently that will be outside. It will also count as the channel qualification swim.
If you are going to swim the channel (and I am – that is the point of this whole blog!) you have to swim for 6 hours in water under 15 degrees. Given the warm weather we are having it looks as if the lake will be warmer than that by the end of May so I do have to get on with it.
I have gone back to Leybourne to swim long. It is easy to swim in the lake without crew. I have a little dinghy to put my drinks in and if I fasten them to a bouy, I can swim for hours without coming back to shore. The previous Sunday I had gone alone and swam for 90 mins.
The temperature is currently 13 degrees or so. I weed near the thermometer and it shot up to 15 degrees. Too much weeing and it will be too warm to qualify! It is warmer (sic) for the time of year than usual. This is probably because we have had a wet but mild winter. Plus the lake is clear. And deeper thanks usual.
I have been gradually increasing the time in the water outside. On Good Friday I was in the water for 3 hours. I helped Ali with swim assessments and then swam for 2 hours.
I was cold when I got out. The air temperature was around 11 degrees but the sun was shining. There was also a very cold breeze. Plus I had got cold doing the assessments. And that was before I began.
They are fun though and I do enjoy helping Ali. I am not a coach or anything but I guess I am an experienced open water swimmer.
Ali is a coach. She is also my coach. And she can be quite mean. When I say quite mean I really mean mean!
So immediately after the assessment she sent me off to swim 4 laps of the lake. I did not even get chance to get out for a cup of tea after the assessments.
Besides which, even if I had tired, Kaz (photographer) was blocking my exit. She pointed back to the water. With out a moan or a backward glance I set off around the lake.
The day before I had done a time trial of the various circuits in the lake. The aim of the Good Friday swim was to swim slightly slower than the time trial speed (29 mins per lap) but to maintain that pace over the duration of the swim.
It is harder to do this sort of swimming in a lake. Especially as one of the sighting bouys is missing. But I had a go. I swam fairly consistently for the time but was getting slower.
Ali noted that my right arm recovery is a bit flat so she has set me some drills to try and correct this.
Stuart (my second favourite pilot after Eric Hartley (Pathfinder) was on the safety boat. He and William brought me my feeds at fairly regular intervals.
The next thing to do is to bring the milk bottles and swim and drink at the same time.