Capel Le Ferne has a micro climate all of its own. 7am saw a miserable cloudy start to the day. By the time I had reached Sunny Sands, it lived up to its’ name.
The sun was shining although there was a stiff breeze blowing in from the sea. An outward tide saw some waves, swell and chop. A change from the swimming conditions of the previous days.
The air temperature was 12 (as recorded on my car thermometer) and the sea around 14.
I love swimming in the chop. It is harder that is for sure. But it is fun. Whilst I would much prefer a calm sea on “the big day”, it is good practice to swim in the swell. It is much harder to maintain a consistent stroke and pace as you get thrown around.
Suitably greased up with vaseline to prevent the chaff I entered the sea with a big smile on my face.
The plan to swim an hour first thing and then return in the afternoon with the benefit of swim buddies and crew.
The forecast for the afternoon was pretty dismal. Rain and cloud. So it was lovely to have a sunny start to the day.
The hour completed I returned to the van in my swimmmys and swammy. (Cossie and swamket). This was a bit of mistake. The drop in air temperature and the drive combined resulted in my feeling chilly. I had to put the fire on when I returned (the first time this week after swimming). I jumped into the shower to warm up. Or I should more accurately say, I stood in the shower and warmed up. I was not jumping. For a start I am not sure if there are benefits to jumping in the shower. Plus I am not sure that health and safety legislation allows for it. You could slip and fall. I do not have a bath mat either. And as I swim in the sea alone I do not want to totally push my luck!
The poor weather predicted for the afternoon did not materialise. I arrived at the beach at 2pm as planned. I was first to arrive and took a spot by an arch. The sun was shining and it was warm. There was hardly a cloud in the sky.
Next to arrive was Victoria. Her swim plans were for 2 hours. We chatted for a little and then our beach butlers Ali and Miche arrived. Victoria and I were in the water by 2.30pm. Ali and Miche agreed to bring us our drinks at 30 minute intervals. Victoria applied vaseline to her underarms. She had a pretty nasty case of chaffing. I applied it to my neck. And we both applied sun screen. It stops the jelly fish stinging apparently .
The water felt ok. I was first to submerge. It was natural that I would be really as I had been in the sea almost daily for 5 days. We swam for 30 minutes and our feed arrived courtesy of Ali.
Victoria had been swimming strong. I was having goggle faff but I was also well aware of my left elbow. It was twanging. Not quite painful but I was aware. I mentioned this to Ali. She said I should get out. I said I would swim for another half an hour til the next one and see how it went.
And how I wish I had taken her advice. After about 15 more minutes my elbow became excruciatingly painful. I had no power and I could not make stroke with it. I pulled up. Vicks stopped to see if I was ok. I said I would have to get out. Victoria offered to help me but I encouraged her to get on with her swim. She had a swimming goal and stopping to help me would prevent that happening. Besides which once I was able to put my feet down I could walk to the edge. She said she had painkillers in her bag and to help myself to them.
Clutching my elbow close to my body to immobilise it, I do confess I cried. I was in a lot of pain. I took my time to compose myself and was met by Ali at the waters edge. She looked concerned. Claire in the meantime had arrived.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 been the worst pain I had ever had, at this stage its as around 7. (When I was knocked over it probably hurt more). I was also hugely disappointed. I knew that my swim plans at least for the next few days were not going to happen. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation are the key to these sort of over use injuries. Drugs help too so I did help myself to Victoria’s supply of paracetamol and brufen.
Claire in the meantime got in the water to swim with Victoria. I helped to crew with Ali and Miche.
The sky was becoming a thickening dark colour. It was moody and oppressive. The rain that was forcast could well be on its way.
Fortunately it held off while Claire and Victoria finished their swim.
I am pleased to report that Victoria nailed the two hours. She went over to be honest. Claire also did really well and was in for an hour. She felt a little dizzy upon exit and had to sit down at the waters edge. (She had been swimming for over an hour- you would have thought she would have had a wee at that point!)
My plan to find a physio in the area who may be able to offer some advice and perhaps treatment. Sensibly I know I have to rest it. And I will. A week or so out now will see me back swimming. To carry on and risk further injury would be foolish.
Whilst I have increased the volume of training, I have allowed the strength and weight training to slip. This will be rectified immediately.
All things being equal I still swam for a total of 1 hour 45 minutes. It is weird when that does not seem like much.
But quality over quantity. I shall have some physic, take the advice and come back to training rested and raring to go. Or at least strapped up and ready.
Thanks to the swim crew and buddies today. I cannot do the longer swims without you. I really appreciate the gift of your time to help me realise my dreams. I also enjoy your company. Mainly! Ali – you are the coach who is reaching for the skys!