Sunday, 3 November 2013
First real post for over a year… not exactly sure where to begin. I remain a Channel ‘Wannabee’ or Aspirant to use correct terminology and YES the goal is alive and kicking. Last summer was a depressing if educating time, which resulted in a break from swimming and most of the associated financial implications.
Sessions remain short (approx. 60 minutes) for now, but I am getting there slowly.
I cannot finish this first post back without saying congratulations to Thomas Noblett who is at long last a Channel Swimmer and to wish Amanda Bell good luck not only with her new job at Charlies school but also for her 2014 EC Solo.
Friday, 1 November 2013
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
As a result of a great forecast / prediction on Friday 17th August, I discussed the possibilities of swimming slightly early possibly on Tuesday being that the weather was looking so good.
After a chat with Neil we decided to head to Dover on Sunday afternoon.
I collected Amanda Bell and Dee Llewellyn and together we travelled south arriving in Dover at Kevin and Jane Murphy's flat around 6pm. The plan was to spend the next 24-36 hours resting before taking the opportunity to swim. As luck or bad luck would have have it, the wind speed and general conditions declined resulting in what Neil described as marginal conditions. I trust him and was more than happy to accept this decision. The last thing I wanted was to start my attempt under the wrong circumstances.
That brings us to the present situation. Dee has been keeping a close eye on the usual websites of windguru and xc weather etc for the sign of a good window (with our limited knowledge) and I have been in daily contact with the only person who really knows that being Neil.
As it stands now..Wednesday was out of the question but Thursday night / Friday look more favourable...though as you all know the British weather can be very fickle..
This morning we drove around to Samphire Hoe one of the likely start locations, where the enormity of the task ahead hit me like a train...I was filled with doubt, nerves and fears. I am assured this is completely normal at this stage. I have had some very touching emails and messages of support some of which have brought me close to tears...those people know who they, I am very very grateful for your kinds words.
We will speak again this evening and hopefully have some good news.
If and when the swim goes ahead the spot tracker loaned to me by Kate and Steve Robarts will be available in real time here www.bit.ly/markierob
As promised there will be more frequent updates on twitter at @mncrobswim
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
My crew is in place and most details are in the process of being finely tuned. I will hopefully arrive in Dover and have 24-48hours rest and mental preparation prior to the call from the pilot.
On the big day I will be accompanied by Neil Streeter (Skipper/Pilot of 'Suva') his crew mate, the official CS&PF observer (unknown as yet) and my own hand picked crew of Dee L, Sarah T, Amanda B and Joe Hunter.
All crew members will have a specific task on the day one of which will be updating my twitter @mncrobswim however you will obviously have to be a follower. You can also follow progress using the AiS tracker system using this link.
More news once we are settled in Dover...keep your fingers crossed please!
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Saturday, 21 July 2012
340 miles after leaving home we arrived at the Premier Inn on the sea front and checked in, ahead of a visit to Chapters Chinese buffet for what proved to be an MBS (maximum belly stretch) afterwards I played the two swimmers DVD to Rob and watched his face as the tragic events unfolded.
More food for supper then off to what should have been a good nights sleep, I say 'should have been' as it turns out that Rob snores like an elephant ....I was not happy and spent most of the night trying to wake him from the deep slumber only for him to produce even louder noises as the night wore on...I was basically waiting for daylight and time to get up.
I got out of bed feeling like I had had zero sleep and forced down some breakfast before heading to the beach...it was fantastic to see some old faces some of whom I hadn't seen since 2008, before too long I joined the queue to see Freda and was greeted with a massive hug. She winked and almost asked ..."7 today?"
I replied "yep no problem" and off I went to grease up.
On the stroke off 9am we entered the water, Rob and I swam more or less together, after only 45 minutes I had a bit of a blip and had a quick chat with Rob, we got a move on and swam til the first feed at 2 hours, the water was about 15c and the weather was getting worse as time went on. The rain soon started to fall eventually followed by and electrical storm. The four hour feed was maxim and a piece of milky way. This immediately made me feel sick, resulting in me staying out of the choppier waters in an effort to settle my belly, half an hour later and all was well. I swam in at 5 hours to see Barry waving his arms and blowing a blowing a whistle. He shouted 'Everyone out..its too dangerous'
I didn't argue!! I have never known this ever happen...a first for certain
Rob wasn't too happy as he desperately wanted the seven hours. I reassured him that this was still a big step up from 6 hours at the lake.
Saturday evening after an initial meal at the premier inn (at 4pm) we visited an Italian restaurant (with Zoe Sadler who is due to swim The English Channel anytime from Monday 23rd !!) for MBS number two, a starter, two main meals and ice cream later and we were off to bed. Another night listening to the elephant and becoming more and more agitated!
Sunday morning we awoke to much better conditions, the harbour was near flat and the sun was even peeping out, the swim was fairly uneventful with no mental blips, 6 hours was comfortable and we danced up the beach on completion.
The battle with the motorway followed almost without delay, 7 hours later I was home tucking into an Indian, slightly wired from the maxim but feeling very satisfied with a great weekends training.
Friday, 6 July 2012
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Other news.... I have decided to dedicate the swim to my late mum who we lost in 2008 after being ravaged by Dementia with Lewy Bodies, as a result of which I have added a justgiving widget on the left, if you click the link you can see the full details, and, if you feel that way inclined can even donate by text/sms. No pressure as I know we are all feeling the pinch of the credit crunch.
Hoping to be fit for the long bank holiday weekend as I am desperate to get up to three hours
Monday, 7 May 2012
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Following some tightness in the upper back (a regular problem) I went for a sports massage with a therapist used by Joe. Usually after such a session I feel great and virtually pain free. However the only thing to report after this uncomfortable visit was nerve entrapment and extreme discomfort, to the extent that I was unable to sleep, drive or swim.
After some forced rest and alternative treatment I eventually returned to training. This last week we have had 5 swims in the River Tees, the temperatures have ranged from 47f/8.3c to 50f/10c. Sunday 22 April Amanda and I decided to swim to the 'pipe bridge' from our start location at Preston Park a distance just short of a mile, we made it to the bridge in around 27 minutes and were happy with the step up to an estimated 55 minutes at this lower than normal temperature. We turned at the bridge and then the problem became apparent, we had failed to notice the flow as a result of which we had a tough time getting back to the start. After 70 minutes and well over due, we crawled out of the water in a bit of a state. We had certainly pushed the boundaries. Amanda drove us directly to the gym where we had a great recovery in the steam room and sauna. Our teeth chattering whilst everyone else was sweating. We had some strange looks that for sure.
We now make a point of checking the strength of the river flow and direction and plan accordingly...better late than never. All but one session since has found the river almost still. That said, yesterday was one of the days where the river had more characteristics of an endless pool. Limited for time we swam for half an hour and hardly covered much more than 150metres.
Charlie walked the river bank and took the picture below