Thursday, 29 November 2007

Just Keep Swimming

Hello again,
Training is definitely back on song, had my longest session to date on Monday the 26th by way of a 10km swim with no side effects, I appreciate it's nothing like doing equal distance in open water be it Sea or Lake, but one thing it is good for is the mental side of training, it can be extremely boring swimming up and down a 25m pool... granted the images on poolside change from time to time, the occasional swimmers come and go, but generally speaking its me and my thoughts for a few hours, and that for me is very beneficial, also after a couple of hours.. parts of the shoulder can ache a little so its good to press on through the boredom and discomfort.

The article I have mentioned previously did appear in the Hartlepool Mail and raised some interest from local charities but we are yet to choose the worthy cause for which I will attempt to raise funds during my 2008 Channel Swim, the above photograph taken whilst swimming in the North Sea on November 8th appears with the permission of their editor, although its not the one that was featured with the article.

I had a pleasant email this week from American Adam Hazlett complimenting the blog and telling me about challenges that lay ahead for 2007, he too is swimming the Channel next year and his training etc. can be viewed at Good luck Adam!

Not a lot else to report, I am still trying hard to gain some body fat but its a difficult process when training hard at the same time, hopefully the Christmas season will add a few extra pounds that will hang around into the New Year. Any ideas are welcome...

Friday, 16 November 2007

All Systems Go...

After seven full days away from the water, today, I returned to the pool. After a very tentative warm up, I had a gentle, exploratory swim for about an hour to ease me back into the training regime and assess the progress of the recovery to my back injury. The spasm appears to be about 90% gone, though despite a ridiculously expensive mattress the pain is still present when I wake each morning. I have worked all week and have nights to contend with this weekend as I slowly get back into the routine. Hopefully by midweek I should be back to some quality work. We have a sea swim penciled in for Thursday, on which, as a result of the article in the local newspaper we may even have the company of another English Channel Swim Aspirant. I am still awaiting the photographs that appeared in The Hartlepool Mail which I will post on the blog on receipt.
We are also close to selecting the charitable cause for which I will try to raise some funds too, so slowly things are coming together. A couple of posts ago I also mention AquaSphere, they have very kindly donated a quantity of swim products for my use through the coming year, thank you to them for their generosity.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

That Hurts !!

Just when I thought things were going really well...

Had a day off training on Monday after the tiresome weekend at Dover. Easy swim Tuesday, followed by my longest swim to date on Wednesday (8km), felt really good after this with no real aches or pains. On Thursday, having dragged myself out of bed after a night shift, we had a trip to Seaton for two reasons. Firstly a local newspaper (The Hartlepool Mail) wanted to take some photographs to accompany an article they are soon to publish regarding my Channel Swim/Training. Secondly to have another swim outdoors.

It was extremely windy with gusts up to 60 mph, the temperature was 11.5 degrees and the sea was a little rough, however the photographer managed to obtain the required action shots and I had a relaxing swim with no side effects.
Then what felt like a disaster!.... Friday morning whilst just commencing my very easy pool warm-up, the upper left quadrant of my back went into spasm. I had to stop immediately I could barely breath let alone swim. I was, and still am, in a great deal of pain, sleeping and driving is nigh on impossible. Hence Charlie is typing this blog entry.

I am therefore having some forced rest, I am assured the injury is nothing serious and a full recovery will be made. A similar thing happened whilst on holiday with Kelly and the kids in 2006, eventually it settled down after some rest and treatment so I am not too worried at this stage, better for this to happen now rather than next summer. I intend to make the most of the rest and to work on some other aspects of preparation. Fingers crossed for a quick and full recovery.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Dover Re-visited

As planned, Friday 2nd November saw Kelly and I drive the 340 miles to Dover.... no sooner had we arrived and checked in to the travel inn (with a perfect view of Dover Harbour) that we were off to the Marina escorted by Loraine, where we met with my skipper. He had been out working at sea all day with a fishing party yet was ready to whizz us around to Shakespeare beach for a piloted swim. We boarded the boat and motored around to the famous point where many swims start. I was really excited but also nervous, the Channel was flat as a pancake and Andy stated the conditions were the same well out to sea. Andy steadied the boat, I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts and jumped over the side into the green water. I was closely followed by Loraine, we initially swam together for a short period then the skipper asked her to exit the water so that he could concentrate on me and my position beside the boat. It was so good, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to practice alongside the actual boat that would support me in 2008 together with my support swimmer and Kelly on board, it was perfect practice... I had taken the prototype feed pole that had been made ready the previous day by George Vickers at Caletrim Fabrications Ltd, so we took the chance to test the feeding procedure too. I should take this opportunity to thank George for his support, generosity and good wishes...thanks to you George and Carl, the pole was more or less perfect.

After my swim we returned to the marina where Andy went through a typical swim route/scenario and explained many things to me with the aid of a Dover Straits chart. Then it was off to the Chinese Buffet for a nice meal. After a long day at work Andy headed off home, we continued our debrief and had far too much to drink at one or two Dover watering holes including The White Horse, where I looked in awe at the many signings on the wall from literally scores of Channel Swimmers. I understand that Loraine got to bed about 3am!! but we were long since tucked up I hasten to add!.

The next morning feeling slightly delicate, we had breakfast and took a brief trip to Dover Castle before again meeting up with Loraine for a nice hour in the Harbour, the sea was more or less flat and was, by our wrist watches around 14 degrees. We swam a nice anti clockwise squarish lap before heading in for more Chinese food.
Following a brief power nap it was time to prepare for the CSA Annual dinner at the Town Hall, we again had a great laugh with Loraine and Nicole and also bumped into Becky Lewis, after the many presentations and speeches we headed back to the hotel, for insufficient sleep before another long drive home.

(Above the terrible twins)
Overall it was an excellent trip... jumping over the side of the boat was simply fantastic, it was Awesome (that's a Loraine ism) to swim next to the boat and great to get back into the harbour for another dip. Big thankyou to Loraine for braving the waters again with me, not forgetting Kelly for your continued encouragement and support. Thank you all. I had a blast.