Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Tough Day

Yesterday we were blessed with unseasonal sunshine and I was so tempted to squeeze in an outdoor swim, deciding against it and not wanting to be accused of being a fair weather swimmer I spent the afternoon/evening with Charlie and Champions League Football.

So... after two more or less forced rest days due mainly to work and Daddy commitments, I was in the fortunate position to pick and choose todays training as work doesn't commence til 9pm. Weather wise it was a completely different story, Air Temp 6C, overcast, dull and generally miserable. I opted for Bishopton, got to the lake for 10am, had a quick word with the Surf Store staff and headed my usual start point.

Then the rain started, I was shaking before I even entered the water, I wasn't sure if it was nerves or cold, but was telling myself to get a grip. Packing my clothes away into the dry bag I figured I would be better off in the water! I warned those thieving sheep to stay away from my things and walked in. As I previously stated, it is so much easier when one has company, being alone presents so many more mental challenges, I guess its all good training as I will not be in that position be it in Cork or The English Channel.

My route around the lake was different today, more of a triangular circuit, in order to prevent a bit of boredom. My watch was reading 50F (10 degrees C) so it was far from the coldest water, however the fact that it was now raining and lousy certainly made it feel cooler. When the sun does shine, it lifts my whole being. I stayed in the water and swam continuously for 60mins, it was tough towards the end, I was telling myself the pain would soon pass when I left the water and that it was excellent training. I am delighted to have completed my first open water hour of 2008. More of the same to follow now that I have negotiated that hurdle.

Other news: had a nice email from Freda Streeter re training at Dover, I am really looking forward to our first visit on the weekend 7/8 June.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

More important things.

I was checking the updates on little Jack Brown this afternoon, I thought I would paste in some of Yvonne Browns statement that she posted on 15th April, here it is:
"Friday saw the end of a week of chemotherapy. Jack tolerated it less easily than he has in the past, more sensitive to the nausea, the tummy cramps, the headaches. The toxicity. I too felt more sensitive than usual…. To the vile, noxious chemicals, that once again are being infused into his small body, causing an only too visible sickness. But without these chemicals the unseen sickness inside continues to grow rapidly.Richard's last update mentioned the spread of the disease which is now in both of Jack's legs. His bone marrow results this week showed it had leapt also in the marrow. His bone marrow which three weeks ago was clear, now has 10% disease, he has lost a kilo in weight. But there is so much reason to hope."
Towards the end of Yvonne's update she says "Please take the time to visit Sam, (, a beautiful little girl back home in the UK who relapsed in January. Sam's disease has taken off like wildfire. Neil explained they have no option but to stop fighting now, she is in a lot of pain and can no longer have blood transfusions. Neil has been a huge supporter and fundraiser for research back home. Please pray for Sam and her family."
As a result of this I clicked on the link to visit Sam's site and hoped she was at the least comfortable, I was heart broken and breathless to read that Sam had in fact passed away on the 15th April, as you can see from the picture above she was a lovely little girl with her whole life ahead. Learning about Samantha and Jacks ongoing fight, has made me even more pleased to have chosen the charity Joining Against Cancer in Kids. I really hope we can raise a lot of money to help find a cure for the desperate children who are fighting Neuroblastoma. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues, and consider helping via the widget or via Thank you very much indeed.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

16 weeks and counting

Considering it was the second of the two weeks belated Easter school holidays, training has been good this week, during all the sessions I have felt really good and my timings have been better than ever. In hindsight this could be down to the lay off at the start of last week or it could be as a result of the increased intensity I have been trying to add to the pool swims, with new varied sets of sprints etc.

The only negative point being that I could only manage one swim outside, that was at Bishopton Lake on Thursday. I swam alone for 34 minutes at 8.5 degrees C, it was rather windy and choppy but very good training. Being that I was alone there are no photos. I must try to get back there or to the sea a couple of times a week from now on. I am happy to sacrifice distance in terms of metres in exchange for more minutes in the cold water. The sea is still around 7 degrees.

I had a good chat with Joni Storer, who, as expected had a brilliant time with Swim Trek last week in Malta, he even completed his 6 hour qualification swim under the guidance of Freda Streeter. Well done Joni. One other thing that transpired from his trip was the knowledge that Freda's father was in fact from Seaton Carew! we both see that as a good omen...Joni is now mad keen to set a training plan for the final 16 weeks leading up to our Channel Swims.

I am now starting a run of 12 days at work without a day off, what impact this has on my training remains to be seen. I still haven't gained sufficient weight/fat, another issue that is stressing me out.

A good week considering everything 27,100m for the week.

Thank you once again to all those donating both on and offline, remember spread the word !

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Is That It?

Not a lot to report this time, its been week one of a two week school holiday, therefore training has taken a step back, Charlie has also been ill, so what with that and work, its been a stop start 7 days. Had one brief visit with the kids to Bishopton Lake on Thursday 10th and swam for 31 mins at 9.1 degrees which no side effects, just 3 pool swims over the weekend, I still managed to hit the bare minimum of 20km so not all bad news, more of the same in the coming week I expect.

Many thanks to all those who have been generous enough to donate online thus far and also to those who have pledged on the numerous paper forms in circulation. Also a big thankyou to Gary Dean of GLG Cycles who has very kindly donated enough Maxim to last me through this years training and the swim itself! Please spread the word and help me to raise more pennies for J-A-C-K it truly is a worthy cause.

Friday, 4 April 2008


I would not say I am one for figures (numbers not curves) or clock watching, however, everything at the moment seems to revolve around them. What with metres covered in the pool, minutes in the open water, not forgetting time before the big day. Its already day 95 of 2008, I have only 18 weeks that’s 125 days remaining until the beginning of my tides. Pretty scary in some ways, not only the short amount of time remaining to prepare and to gain some more fat, but also the fact that almost a third of the year has gone already, grief, it will be Christmas before we know it!

Headed off alone to Bishopton Lake again this morning after the school run, got there to find a strong head wind as I looked out onto the choppy water, as it lapped around my feet. I reasoned that it would be easier on the return legs. I stripped and readied my self for action, must say, it is much tougher getting into the water when there is no one else around, hopefully it forms part of the mental training. Managed to swim much smoother and stronger today and remained in the water for 40 minutes. I was surprised at the reading on my watch indicating 50 degrees F, that is an increase of 2 degrees F since Monday. However the lake is reasonably shallow and I expect it will drop just as quickly during the anticipated poor weather this weekend. The air temperature was lower today, so that coupled with the wind left me feeling satisfied with todays open water effort, granted it is not the sea, but I explained the safety reasons in the previous post regarding swimming in the sea.

Once warmed through I attended the pool where I completed some sprints and drills, a good week thus far, pity I am nights all weekend, that said I am happy enough with the totals for the week and two swims at the Lake. Consistency in the key….I think?!