I was out of bed by 7am to be first at the breakfast table for the mandatory intake of porridge, banana and coffee followed by maxim, fortisip and 1000mg of vitamin c. Suitably stuffed and uncomfortable we drove the very short distance to the beach, parked up and walked across the road to see Freda and the many other simmers already gathered. I was greeted with a hug and kiss, she made it clear that she was happy to to us again. Before she could hand out my penance I pointed out that I was expecting seven hours. “Good boy, 7 hours, find the switch, you know you can do it” So, off to be greased about the pits and neck by the ever cheerful Barrie, down a little more maxim and into the water bang on 9am.
My plan was to return to the beach to feed at 65 minute intervals or thereabouts, I more or less did this until I was joined at 12:15 by my support swimmer Loraine Verghese, we swam together for an hour in total synchronisation before she left to gossip with her drinking partner KGB at my fourth feed. The next three hours were much more comfortable and are more or less a blur until I came in to feed with around 40minutes to do. I got the thumbs up from KGB and Barrie and headed back out to the pier, the last 40 minutes were a real bore, not time enough to swim a full lap and far too much clock watching.
I was delighted to complete the seven hours, I had zero shoulder pain just a bit of expected soreness in the triceps, I walked up the pebbles to a very happy Freda Streeter. The first part of my split Channel training session was complete. 7 hours at about 63F.
We eventually returned to Hubert House where after a clean up and power nap we met Marcy Macdonald who was in the UK crewing for some swimmers, I had followed a few of Marcy’s training plans so it was great to finally speak to her in person.
After another Maximum Belly Stretch, this time at Cullins Yard it was off to bed for more sleep and not even a drop of Guinness!
Sunday the usual rituals of breakfast, grumbles, pack the car, check out and be at the beach for 9am. Freda actually looked a little surprised to see me, I was duly awarded another 6 hour swim in probably the best conditions I have seen in the harbour.
The first three hours dragged as they usually do, I had a brief hour with Chris before following the usual schedule of 65minute swims, feed and so on. I actually managed to down part of a sandwich at one feed courtesy of a request I made to KGB and hour earlier, gosh I was starving, I think this was about 4 or 5 hours in. I also saw Cliff Golding on the beach, he was chatting to Kelly; giving me very positive words of encouragement at each feed, in clear, calm reassurance which all helped my mindset. Again the last 45 minutes were a drag, but I exited the water, felt reasonably fresh and dried off in the sunshine. Only then did I realise we had forgot to apply sun block to my legs…they were and they are, red raw, and Charlie is only too quick to point out that “Hey Dad, the moon is out and its really white!”
Thank you to all the beach crew for a great weekends training and all of your help, especially Barrie and his Jelly Babies and of course Freda et al. Kelly I know you are bored senseless on the beach but thank you for supporting me through this, and to everyone who has helped with child care whilst we are away..only one more trip now.
The only side effects are what feels like tennis elbow in the left arm, otherwise I feel great and as ready as I will ever be for this mammoth challenge.