Friday, 8 July 2011

Buoy oh Buoy

It was all going so well...Joe Hunter and I had been continuing our build up to the cold water, so that 90 minutes in 12C was becoming the norm.We stepped up to the 2 hour mark with little consequence, other than the odd sighting of jellyfish well below as we swam out to the dreaded buoy (which marks the edge of the shipping channel on the approach to the River Tees)...

I'm not entirely certain of the distance from shore to the big orange buoy, its difficult to estimate at the best of times, let alone when the conditions are so swelly that it cannot be seen even from the car park which is on slightly higher land. I was a little freaked out by the jellys in all manner of shape size and colour, probably as a result of never seeing anything but the familiar green murk. The conditions at Seaton Carew generally don't allow a swimmer to see beyond the length of an arm, never mind into the deep.
With the 2hour swim nailed midweek, last Saturday we arranged to meet with the plan of upping the effort to 3 hours, the sun was shining it was a beautiful day, however on arrival Joe was already in the water. I was surprised to see lots of breaking waves crashing onto the beach. We had previously agreed to do the 3 hours providing we fed every 60 minutes. After a ten minute battle to get beyond the breakers, I swam North in the large swells trying to locate Joe, I had kind of given up when he appeared on the crest of a swell. "Fancy meeting you here"

The swim was fairly uneventful, we swam hard against the swell and scared ourselves (well me anyway) at our distance from the safety of land, I was a bit concerned to find we had swam out to the buoys AGAIN despite my wishes against doing so! The second feed soon came around, we were greeted by KGB who had turned up out of the blue to offer a timely kick in the rear, the last hour was easier mentally, knowing we were going to reach the target time.

The sun was so hot that there was no warming up or shivers to be laughed at, in fact I set off home bare chested in my shorts. Ten minutes later it all went wrong....., waiting at a roundabout for a safe exit, my car was rear ended by another vehicle, to cut a long story short, I have been unable to sleep very well or train all week. The only saving grace is that I have been doing classroom course work at the University so there has been no requirement to take sick leave. The ice, painkillers and NSAIDs are slowly doing their thing,  feeling very frustrated and hoping to return to the water soon, who knows the cold may even help, providing I can turn to breathe.


Colm Breathnach said...

Bugger. Hope you are back in tip top condition soon

Sandra said...

Hi Mark - very interesting blog - I came across this whilst 'surfing' channel swimming. I am doing a relay in August so head is full of all things open water right now. I am interested in the DVD you feature in one of your blogs - can you let me know where you purchased it please.

PS Hope you are mended and back in training soon.



Mark said...

Hi Sandra
you will have to give me a little more info re which DVD or which post it was, if its Des Renford I can help outm if its Two Swimmers then Steven Sander is the man, let me know
good luck with your relay
whose your pliot


Jo Charlton said...

Just read the blog, great read as always! You'll soon hopefully be back to swimming good distances again, hope the back and neck gets better soon ..

Darren Rowbotham said...

Good read, I've just decided that I want to train and attempt the channel swim. Are you located in the Hartlepool area? As that is where I live and would like to meet up and discuss your training and preparation in more detail if possible. I may even join you on some of your training swims off Seaton.

Mark said...

we are in Stockton
drop me an email

Gemma Wilson said...

Good read - Hopefully you will be back in tip top condition soon - you probably already are