Monday, 4 August 2008

1 Million Metres...

This is my final week of preparations before the beginning of the window of tides for my swim. I don’t think I can effect my fitness in a positive way now, its just a case of eating well, resting between shifts, checking the administration side of things and keeping up the acclimatisation by frequent dips in the sea (I swam yesterday evening (Sunday3rd August) and again at lunchtime today in the North Sea) nothing severe just relaxing swims at around 14 and half degrees C, which is good as it is around 17 mid Channel now. The lifeguards at Seaton were in attendance and they handed me a good luck card…I was touched thank you.

I had a nice chat with Enda Kennedy this morning who has already arrived in Dover ahead of his swim. There seems to be lots of people on this tide besides Enda and myself there is Kevin Murphy, Megan Turner, Maggie Kidd, Vasanti and Rob to name a few… those are just the ones I know of but there are many more, who like me, are no doubt watching the weather and the long range forecasts trying to predict when the conditions may improve. I realise it is pointless ME checking the weather but its hard to resist. When all is said and done it will be the pilot who will decide if and when the time is right.

I am becoming increasingly anxious and excited at the same time, ideally I will not be Dover for the whole week as I will miss Charlie terribly, that said it is hopefully a once in a life time mission. One that will raise lots of pennies for the charity and one that has been on my mind everyday for years. One that Charlie may well get a taste for too in the future. Even though he strongly suggests otherwise at the moment!

Other concerns as well as being homesick will be the waiting around that all Channel swimmers experience, the worry of my support crew arriving on time bearing in mind some of them have a 7 hour drive to contend with minimal warning, can I handle the cold water for maybe 14 hours plus especially the cold water washed up from the depths by passing ships, marine life?…I have read some scary stories of certain things accompanying swimmers across the Dover Straits, seasickness for both me and the crew, and of course will my body hold out.

It is a mammoth task, I don’t think I could have done a lot more by way of training, today’s training swim pushed my total distance since the Ironman last July over 1 million metres.

I was telling a colleague yesterday (who has finished IMAustria a couple of times) that nothing compares to swimming in cold water, no amount of pool work can prepare you for the pain of all kinds you have to deal with in the sea, physically its easier doing and Ironman triathlon in say 12 hours than swimming for six hours in a cold choppy Dover Harbour.

No one said it was going to be easy and it certainly hasn’t been, however the real work and pain is yet to come.

No time now for anything but positive thoughts.


Vasanti said...

Hi Mark,

you know the saying "expect the worst, hope for the best"! It may be easier than you think, but it may be not... When the day comes, don't think, just do! I am only happy we are not doing Mount Everest, "just" the Channel. Was comparing statistics yesterday on Wikipedia ...

All the best - may our dreams materialize!

(and regards to Kelly, important and patient dream-fullfilment-team member!)

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

At least your toes will not get frostbitten. I'll be watching progress of you, Enda and Maggie primarily, but also a few others also. So what will be next, Mt. Everest? If you don't want to do that, you could consider the Ultraman in Hawaii, with its 52-plus mile run on the third day.

Lisa Cummins said...

Yup...I'm still crewing for Joni, arriving in Dover late Sunday night. I'm looking forward to that 17 degree water too! Can't wait to see you and Kelly again :) Unless you're already done by the time I get there that is!! Will drop u a text on Sunday to see how things are going...