I am not counting yesterdays “swim anxiety” as training. Although I would have been in the water for 2.5 hours, most of it was with a wet suit. But also on my plan I had scheduled it as a rest/play day. Still I was in the water but….
Sunday 18 May
My plan is to swim the channel in the week. Now I think it will take me between 15 – 18 hours. As I will be swimming in both the lake and the sea I cannot measure accurately the distance. So I will be measuring in time.
I plan to swim between Sun 18 May and Mon 26 May for at least 18 hours. I am not swimming any longer than 4 hours at a time in this week. This is mainly because I don’t want to injure myself.
Assuming an average pace of 2.5kmh (and I think I am bit faster approx 2.7kmph) I will be swimming approximately 45KM. I had originally thought I would like to swim about 60km. Ali (coach) suggested that while that was achievable, it was important to build in adequate rest. She was also concerned that that would involve having to swim longer than 4 hours. The purpose of this week is to set up my for longer weekend swims during June before the final build sessions in July.
I arrived at the beach just after 10am. I thought I was early but there were already several people in the water. Neil and Grantley (Enduro men for this year coincidently on the same tide as me) were already swimming. John (from Birmingham) and two swimmers who I did not recognise were also in the water. Dan was not swimming and neither at that point was Tamsin.
The sun was shining gloriously again. It was about 20 degrees air temperature and the weather bouy indicated that the sea was 13.3 degrees. It felt ok getting in. I splashed Tamsin to make her squeal and then dived in before she could splash me back. I am sure revenge will be a dish best savoured cold. So I will be looking out for her during January to March next year!
I then squealed myself. I thought I had trodden on glass. But it was a hermit crab asking me to get out of the way. I must have stood in its way again as it gave me another nip on the toe. This is the first time I have not worn my swim shoes for ages. It will also be the last time I forget them!
Glenn was walking up and down in the sea. Turns out he had had to dive out of the way of a car and had damaged his ribs an intercostals. He was getting in and out of the sea. Making use of the cold water and the warm sunshine as natural anti inflammatories.
My plan was to swim for 2 hours. The others were all doing more than 2 so had set off earlier (around 9am). Tamsin and I were swimming by 10.30am. She stayed in for around 45 minutes before exiting and being met by her personal beach butler.
The water felt warm in parts and there were other colder bits. I thought that the sea would be about 15 degrees in places it felt so warm.
Dan kindly was undertaking beach butler duties. He was dressed in neoprene as the day before he had burnt. He had been wearing his dressing gown and had burnt through the material. It is not often I ask for a picture of a man in his dressing gown. But I found myself emailing him for the picture. It is possibly a strange reflection on our relationship that he did not bat an eyelid and sent it back by return!
He waded out with my drink, instructing me to tread water and take a drink. This I did and then swam on again. The tide was right out. I was making good time between the harbour wall and the end of the promenade. Before too long I was being offered another drink. I only had another 20 minutes to swim to accomplish the two hours. My elbow began to twinge a little after that second drink. I will have to have that attended to. I don;t want to develop tennis elbow. I am sure it is swim related as it only twinges when I swim and not at other times.
I got out. The tide was coming in fast. We moved up the ramp and I got dry there. It was warm and sunny. I had on a stroppy t shirt and shorts and I was warm.
I met a guy called Tom Watch. He is an 86 year old gentleman who has coached numerous channel swimmers and enduromen. He told me he did not like to take on new people these days as at his age he may leave them without a coach. Although he walks with a stick I saw him climb over the wall and he is a sprightly fellow. We chatted for a while before he left with Eddy (of Enduroman) to head home. A little Channel history. (For the avoidance of doubt he did not coach Captain Webb!)
Grantley and David were last out of the water. (Earlier in the water I had been pleased to over take Grantley as he is a solid swimmer. At that point I had not realised that he had swum for 6 hours the previous day and was on his second hour by the time I got in. It doesn’t change the fact. It just adds some context!)
They had been swimming for 4 hours that day. Grantley has an enduroman race this year (on the same tide as me). David plans to do his next year. Eddy is part of Enduroman and was there keeping a watch ful eye.
Neil (who had run down the day before. 60 miles. He said he did not have a lift. He did have a lift home though!) swam a creditble 3 hours with no wetsuit. He is also has an enduroman race this year.
(Earlier in the water I had been pleased to over take him as he is a solid swimmer. At that point I had not realised that he had swum for 6 hours the previous day and was on his second hour by the time I got in. It doesn’t change the fact. It just adds some context!)
Dan Earthquake (who is largely responsible for bringing us all together) waited for everyone to finish. At this point it was time to go and get Sunday dinner from The Lifeboat. Always a favourite thing to do after swimming.