Monday, 28 January 2008

Another Piece of the Jigsaw..

Not a lot I can say in response to that post from KGB, other than to offer my sincere thanks for the help and support I continually receive.

Main thing taking place this week is the doctors appointment re the required medical in order to officially book my swim with the CSA Ltd. I don't imagine any problems but I will be glad when its done so I can get the documents and the funds (it ain't cheap) sent off to the secretary as soon as possible.

It has not been possible to swim today and the same will apply tomorrow (work and school) so I have pencilled in a bigger session for Wednesday (might do the 100 x 100 or a Marcy set depending how I feel) ..I will be free after the morning school run until I begin work at 9pm, so there is plenty of scope and no real valid reasons not to attempt a decent session.
The weekly swim figures (that's numbers not curves) are getting back to normal after the Christmas period and ear issues, I was pleased to do the 24.6km last week and had some real good workouts. The month of January is all but over and the clock is already accelerating at break neck speed.

I must make more effort to improve my nutrition (weight gain) and firm up my plans/permissions for outdoor swim locations. Other than that things are ticking along nicely, I am really looking forward to SandyCove though I know it will be a massive test.

Friday, 25 January 2008


Hello all. I am seizing this opportunity to introduce myself; Mark’s blog being somewhat quiet of late and me being completely out of action due to back injury. I am the proverbial ’kick up the backside’ when Mark’s head, body or both are tired; I am the ear which gets a battering when there’s no one left to take another ’SWIM’ word; I am the parent who makes him sit there and eat his greens, I am the taxi who picks up his son, I am the nag, the unsympathetic coach but more importantly, his second conscience when he doesn‘t listen to his own! I am not a swimmer (for those of you who are part of the ‘group’ I am one of those annoying breaststrokers (though lane etiquette is well and truly drummed in!)) I am not a life coach, nutritionist, physio, childminder, masseur, photographer, life guard or kayaker! Well, what I mean is if I tried to pass myself off as any of those officially, I’d be either locked up as a con artist or certified! Some of you who are acquainted with the blog may know me as KGB.

Andy King, Me and Mark
When Mark, first sewed the seed of doing a channel swim I thought I’d admiringly watch from the side lines, freely spectating at will, armed with popcorn and programme. Oh nooo! I may not have got on the top deck but I boarded the bus! Call me ignorant, but I never envisaged just how involved I would become. Some would call me mad or silly to put so much of my own time and effort into someone else’s dream; I disagree on the grounds I too get something out of it, claims my support is truly unconditional would be slightly misleading. I’ve had the pleasure to meet some inspiring people, visit idyllic locations, and experience new activities and, are yet to encounter many more. I also ENJOY being there for Mark despite being cold and wet when I could be indoors sipping tea; despite doing the dreaded school run when I could be at the gym; despite cooking a mountainous meal when I’m not hungry myself. Believe it or not, I’m having fun too.

To all the partners out there who feel like swimming widows, there are simply two options to be considered, either allow your partner to full fill their dream by taking the Active Support role by the horns or pass the responsibility wholeheartedly to another, without harbouring any guilt (on either part).
For all those who are thinking of attempting a Channel swim, I wish you two things; luck in achieving your task (a mere gesture since there is no correlation between the task and luck whatsoever) and a kick up the backside, nag, unsympathetic ear, …! In other words, I truly wish you a second conscience too! There are always going to be many people around who’ll wish you well, offer a hand out of the water, a lift when you’re stuck or a warm hug when you’re too cold and tired to go on; however how many of these good folk are willing to refuse to pull you out when you think you have had enough? Decline to take you home just because you forgot your trunks? Offer little sympathy to your shivering and chattering after being in 11 degree sea water for a few hours? Not many; chose your support well and understand your partner/best friend/parent may not want to/be able to turn a cheek. We all can’t be Freda Streeter!
As a teenager I had an excellent relationship with both of my parents until it was time to learn to drive! It seemed (though I loved them dearly) they weren’t best suited to being my instructors nor me, their ideal pupil. I am happy to say , a third party was employed and our relationship healed.

I commend everyone who has achieved, attempted and will attempt the massive task of not only the Channel, but dedicating both mental and physical energy, time and commitment to achieving a dream. I too take this opportunity to applaud the families, friends and partners who have hopped on their journey too whether giving their love and understanding or simply combing a beach for several hours in the rain!!
I look forward to meeting some of you in the spring of 2008 where I hope to gain feeding tips, massage techniques and share flasks of coffee; you never know…..I might even get in the water myself and learn front crawl…...NO SPLASHING PLEASE!!!!!!! KGB

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

This is the year ..

Its 2008 already, I remember making my initial plans for all of this in 2006, thinking it was 'miles' away, and making my first contact with Andy (my skipper/pilot) yet as usual with this sort of thing, the time has flown by and the year in question has finally arrived. Less than eight months now and the big day will be upon us all.

Not sure if I've mentioned this previously, but whilst looking for something or other on the Internet (about a month ago) I came across the website of Kaise Stefan I was a little spooked to read he lives in a town named 'Fairfield' in Australia. (we live in Fairfield in the UK), not only that, he is swimming the Channel this year and his pilot is also Andy King. The reason I mention this now is that today I received a nice email from Kaise. I am sure it will be worth your while to have a look at his website, its on the links or the hyperlink above. Thanks Kaise..

A few days ago multiple Channel Swimmer, Marcy Macdonald from the USA posted and email on the Channel Swimmers Group with a 'New Years' training set, (the details of which I wont go into), suffice to say after a little consultation via email with her, the total distance was going to be 18. 200 km / 11.3 miles, this was to be a jump from the 10km I completed on 26th November 2007 but I decided to give it a go. I was in the water yesterday for 7am and swam the set as arranged climbing out 5 hours and 50 minutes later. The shoulders ached after about 4 hours and the mental boredom followed soon after, so again it was good mental training and psychologically it was of great benefit. In addition to that, the lengthy swim allowed me the opportunity to test out feeding/hydration. I wanted to experience the discomfort once more, which kicks in after a while. Encouraged that my shoulders seemed to last much longer before any pain issues, I remember being pleased the first time I swam 6km ! so all in all it tells me I am on track.
Its not possible to do long swims outside at this time of the year, usually my pool swims are all about a warm up followed by a series of sprints over say 100, 200 and 400 metres. So, it was a nice change and feel boosted mentally by yesterdays efforts; similar to the feeling after a 100 mile bike ride last year. Thanks Marcy..

School has commenced and training can restart fully; everyone at work now knows about the swim as I posted a message on the internal system, hoping for some support for J-A-C-K.

I'm still waiting for bank details etc with regard to the charity but am assured it will be up and running very soon.