Sunday, 30 December 2007

"I don't belieeeve it"

I was telling you it was a little busy wasn't I !? Well, Sunday arrived and I wanted to try to get back to Seaton for a quick dip as planned without the hassles of the masses on Boxing Day, as usual it was a mad rush to get to the coast and be back for other events. We quickly packed the dry bag, grabbed the flask and sped off (via MacDonald's to fill the flask en route). Charlie was not impressed and demanded to stay in the car!

On arrival we walked to the waters edge, the sea being almost at low tide, it looked pretty rough and I was not looking forward to getting bashed about, after a little soul searching and a kick in the butt from Kelly I began to strip..............................then a Victor Meldrew moment..."I don't believe it" I had only left home without one vital piece of equipment - my trunks!! Ha ha.. a valid reason not to bother or so I thought. Just when I thought God was on my side I quickly had ear bashing from Kelly "if you think I have come here for you to shirk this swim you are mistaken, now get in there with your pants on, you have no choice in the matter, now get in"
That was me told good and proper..she was correct, I had no choice... off with the rest of the clothes and into the water as quick as I could.. together with my undies..what a sight.

The water was very rough, but I am pleased that I had won the mental fight and gotten into the 7 degree water, I managed to get my breathing sorted and was able to have a brief (pardon the pun) swim. The conditions were shocking, then however, another stroke of luck! I was swimming parallel to the shore when I was tossed around by a breaking wave, my goggles went missing, so I thought I had better walk to shore and get out. I was beyond shoulder depth hence my hands were under water..then, miraculously, the goggles wrapped them selves around my what were the chances of that?!. I stayed in a few more minutes with my pants dropping to my knees with every passing wave..then exited with my skin the colour of a lobster.

It was tough to even get in, I had lots of mantras in my head and the suggestion of 'a minute equals an hour' ringing in my ears. Kelly reminded me the 'Grand Channel Swim Plan' was to continue getting into the cold water even if it was just for a couple of minutes, so that it didn't feel so bad come the spring.

I am home now and well warmed through. I feel great to have made it into the water and must do more of the same throughout the winter. That will be the last outdoor swim for 2007. All that remains it to wish you all a happy healthy and successful 2008. Happy training.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Not enough hours in the day...

Busy ..that's an understatement, its been a complete nightmare trying to train over the Christmas period, I had a easy recovery week and hoped to get back to normal this week only to find the opening hours at the gym/pool drastically reduced, so what with that, school half term and of course work I have hardly even got wet !
Boxing Day saw Kelly, Charlie and I visit Seaton for the traditional dip, hundreds of people were in attendance in all manner of fancy dress from Santa's, Smurfs to potential disappearing canoeists making impersonations of John Darwin. The RNLI were manning the event and were rather strict to say the least, they were not happy to allow people to swim or even paddle outside of their cordon, hence I was unable to get a good swim and was really only in the water for about ten minutes at 6.6 degrees. I understand the event has to be regulated with so many taking part.. some of whom where no doubt under the influence !! I am hoping to go back Sunday when there will be no crowds, providing I can handle the the temperature it should be more beneficial. Other than that and the odd pool swim this week has been a non starter training wise.

On a positive note, Santa was very kind to us all, as part of my Channel Training Plan, I was hoping to get to the Irish Champion of Champions (organised by Ned Denison) event in Cork next May, though I hadn't made any arrangements so when Santa delivered our flights and 5 star accommodation I was delighted.

Here is an extract from Ned's confirmation email regarding the weekend .......

"We meet May 24th to swim around Sandycove Island: 5 laps....get out and rest...then 3 laps get out and rest then sprint one last lap...and YOU WILL BE HELPED OUT! The tides are perfect on the day....we start exactly on high tide...which make that first lap a bit shorter. Then we swim it down to low tide and our last lap will be with and against the maximum flow. GREAT NEWS!

Here is the running order. Because the shape of the island changes as the tide comes in an goes out....I have given you a range of distances. After a year of cruising around the island with the GPS thing in my cap....I can assure you that a slightly wider loop adds 10% to the problem!

Start Time .. Max Time.......Laps......Min Miles .....Likely Miles
0900am........4 hours.......... 5............ 4.5 ...............5
2:00pm .......2.5 hours........ 3............ 3.1 ...............3.46
5:00pm .......40 mins ..........1 ............1.1...............1.2

The rules are short and brutal. If you fail to make the distance or fail to make any of the maximum are recorded as DNF.
I will pretty much guarantee water temperatures between 9 and 14C. Those veterans of Sandycove are now muttering: "yeah on each lap" we do get substantial variations!"

So you can see it should be a fantastic weekend, as result of Santa's generosity we will most certainly be there.

Friday, 21 December 2007


After a great deal of debate and soul searching it has finally been decided upon which charity to dedicate my Channel Swim effort towards. The newly formed charity J-A-C-K will hopefully benefit from any funds I can raise, the facility to donate online will appear in the first few weeks of the new year. I hope people will agree this is a very worthy cause.
This is a decision Kelly and I have made entirely on our own, we had a couple of responses to our plea for a suitable cause but none exactly fitted what we were looking for. Once we became aware of this research/trial/support programme being established by Yvonne and Richard Brown (Jack Browns parents) we looked a little deeper.. it was then that I felt the almost overwhelming need to assist.
At this stage only the mission statement is displayed on the J-A-C-K web page, though more information will follow very soon, thank you to Yvonne Brown for taking time to speak to me at this very difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Jack and the many other children suffering at what should be a joyous time of year.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Life Begins.....

I have heard it said many times that 'Life Begins at 40' ...Well I am not there yet, but, I am now in the approach year having celebrated (not sure if that is the correct expression) my 39th birthday earlier this week, (thank you to everyone for your well wishes, cards and gifts x) I am constantly being reminded that 40 is fast approaching. The thought that in a years time this adventure will hopefully be concluded successfully and that another goal will be set in motion is pretty daunting. Its hard to believe that in a few days time it will be 2008 and I will no longer be able to say that 'I am swimming the Channel Next Year' time is flying by and I know it will all be here before I know it. I have the vast majority of my annual leave from work booked now, so I have an idea of when we be able to visit Dover and train in the Harbour.

Christmas is almost with us us too, so its been all go at both home, work and school. Training has been restricted to the pool what with the weather being below zero for a week or so and the fact that Kelly was away in the States.. it would have been a little crazy to swim outside without a watchful eye in the present conditions. The sea locally is around 8 degrees and the River/Lake is now 4.5 degrees. I am at work on the afternoon of Boxing Day but will still have time to make the Boxing Day dip at 11am, hopefully I will get 20 minutes or so in what by then will be about 7-8 degrees.. I was on nights yesterday and noticed that the air temperature didn't rise above minus 3 all night, no wonder the water is cooling off rapidly...brrrr.....

I have spent some time reading Lynne Smiths journal this week and have been quite astonished at her training regime, overall work ethic and positive attitude. It is very motivational and I would recommend any aspirant to read it.

Off to the pool we go again.

P.S. no idea what has happened to the the title picture? It doesn't seem to want to display correctly no matter what adjustments I try.