Crowdfunding goes live

I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe that there are many links between swimming (especially open water swimming) and business. In fact I believe that there are many lessons from open water swimming that can be applied to business.

I’ve set up a new blog to explore this further – http://open4bizblog.wordpress.com/ – and my goal is to write a book on this topic.

To help me with the book I’ve set up a crowdfunding page and it has just gone live. I’ve already received some great feedback for this and the project has been backed by people already. Please check it out: https://www.sponsume.com/project/open-business

And here’s the launch post I wrote on the other blog:

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I wrote the text, shot the video and submitted the forms. And now my crowdfunding site is live. Please check it out here:

As you can see I’ve chosen Sponsume as the platform I use, hopefully you’ll like it, find it easy to navigate and back the project.

The reason behind the crowdfunding is to fund additional research for the book, additional swimming (as part of the research) and allow me to spend some time dedicated to actually writing it.

For you, what it means is that you you’ll be able to pre-order the book, or if you represent a business be a sponsor with your company details included online and / or in the book itself.

Please do have a look at the project here – https://www.sponsume.com/project/open-business – and if it’s not for you, please do forward it to any friends or colleagues that might be interested.

Thanks

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More Arch to Arc

I’ve mentioned the amazing Arch to Arc challenge that someone I’m honoured to call a friend recently completed. Well, here’s some more.

I met Paul on the SwimTrek trip out to Mallorca and while I used that as the foundation to [badly] complete Windermere this year Paul was not only training to swim the channel, but run from London Dover before the swim and cycle from Calais to Paris after it – a combination of madness and extremely inspirational.

Anyway, during all the training and the challenge itself Paul had a photographer from Reuters follow him and take some amazing photos. Like this one:

You can read more about Paul’s journey (and Neil’s the photographer) here or here – and I urge you to do so.

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Paul is listed as “the oldest person to complete the race” – he’s 49. Because I’m a bit crazy like that, part of me reads that and says, “right then, a target for my 50th!” We’ll see…

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London Calling

I used to live in London – but we moved out on purpose. However, I still visit regularly for work – and most of the time it feels like work. I kind of like it, but it feels a bit too big and busy for me and I’m always glad to be going home.

I’ve had a great trip this time though.

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128km swim

Not me obviously, but a record-breaking Australian woman, Chloe McCardle, has broken the record for the longest ‘unassisted’ swim – she swam from the island of Eleuthera to Nassau in the Bahamas.

Unassisted means swimming according to the channel swimming rules – swimsuit, cap and goggles only and no touching the boat, or being touched by your support crew at all. Obviously you are ‘assisted’ in that there is a boat and crew with you and they can guide you and prepare feeds etc.

This is an amazing swim and kinda puts my Windermere efforts in their place. Well done Chloe.

Read more about it here – https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/25322416/chloe-mccardel-completes-record-breaking-swim-challenge/

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LetJog14 Update

At the start of the year a good Twitter friend of mine (I don’t think we’ve ever actually met in real life, we should correct that Dan) suggested that the runners of Twitter challenge themselves to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats – a total of 1,460kms – or LetJog.

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2Swim4Life – Entered

I paid online and filled out and posted the form – I think that means I’m in.

GULP

For those that don’t know – it’s a 24 mile / hour swim – swimming a mile every hour for 24 hours in an open air lido in Guildford. So, as well as lots of swimming, it will involve swimming through the night; dealing with the cold; learning to refuel properly; having the mental strength to keep going; and hopefully meeting lots of other swimmers and having fun (of sorts).

I’m actually kinda looking forward to it.

See you there ;-)

Proof!

Proof!

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Last night’s run

1st Tweet- – -

2nd Tweet- – -

The run- – -

The Reward

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Improving my technique

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started to see a technique coach who will hopefully make me a smoother and stronger (and therefore quicker) swimmer. My plan is to focus on technique over the winter, plus running, so I can come back in the summer as a better swimmer.

I’m using the excellent Ray Gibbs of Swim Canary Wharf to help me and I had my first session a couple of weeks ago. Ray is great as he is really enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, but yet able to deliver the information in an easy-to-understand way. You swim in his endless pool and he films you swimming from a number of different angles – highlighting areas you can work on. He then gives you drills that will help you to work on those areas and you need to go away and practice them yourself.

My biggest issue was dropping my right shoulder and arm (using them as a lever to help me breath – even though I didn’t need to do it, my brain & body are still struggling with it). So, despite not being able to use my fins, I’ve worked on the drill Ray gave me for the last few weeks. It’s hard work, but I *think* I can feel myself getting better.

Well this morning I had two strong pieces of evidence that suggest that it’s working and I am getting better.

The first was a comment from another user of the pool I swim in. We chat quite regularly and there are a few swimmers there who take a real interest in what I’m doing and the challenges I’m setting myself. We also have Adam Walker (an Ocean 7s swimmer) who occasionally swims in our pool, so I’m the other open water swimmer.

Anyway, this morning, as she got into the lane I was swimming in, she said:

“You’ve got a really lovely stroke. I was watching you from the side and it’s really got better over the last few months.”

She’s not just another plodder, she’s actually a swimming teacher for kids at the pool, so (and I don’t think she’ll be offended by this) while she may not be in Ray’s league, she knows her stuff. It was lovely to hear her say it.

The second reason is that after the technique work I decided to do a quick ‘sprint’ burst. I’m not very quick and I don’t try to kill myself, instead what I want to do is swim at a ‘comfortable’ capacity and then keep it up. I do:

- 100m at 1:50
– 200m at 3:45
– 400m at 7:35
– 200m at 3:45
– 100m at 1:50

It’s a nice 1km ladder and it gets me working hard. For those of you that don’t understand the terminology (and I didn’t until recently) this means that I swim 100m and when that’s done I rest for a few seconds, but 1 minute 50 seconds after I started the 100m, I set off to swim 200m; 3 minutes and 45 seconds after I started the 200m (or 5 minutes and 35 seconds after I started the 100m) I set off for the 400m. And so on. I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, the point of this is to say that in the middle of this I did the 400m in 7 minutes and 5 seconds.

It’s not a blistering pace, but it’s pretty quick for me. But best of all – I was knackered from the weekend and it didn’t feel *that* tough. So I’m pretty sure it wasn’t about me muscling the water out of the way, it was down to a better technique. Yay!

This is what I looked like before working on the technique. Both videos shot by Ray at Swim Canary Wharf.

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I’m a runner now

Obviously not really, but the next two events I’ve entered are both running events, so my plan for the winter is to work on my swimming technique and then get running.

Leeds 10k entry form

Leeds 10k entry form

The first event I’ve got coming up is the Leeds Xmas 10k, which isn’t actually at Xmas but at the end of November. I’m in this event thanks to Gemma who ran a competition on her site – she was offered a free place because she marshalled the event last year, but she decided to give the place away. Thanks Gemma.

My second event, in March, is the Coniston 14. It’s a run around the perimeter of the lake. So as I’ve swam it, I thought it would be fun to run it too.

I better get my running shoes on.

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I love you all

I have a genuine smile on my face this morning and as Lucy will tell – that’s rare!

Last night I mentioned again on Facebook and Twitter that I needed a buddy to be able to enter the 2Swim4Life event in May next year. In fact, after being prompted by a friend, I updated it to say that ideally I’m looking for a team of buddies, however I need to nominate one to be able to enter.

Well I now have a team!

People volunteered. People volunteered to help me. People volunteered to give up a weekend to stand in the cold (and possibly rain) to help me swim. I am genuinely touched and amazed and slightly overwhelmed.

I’ve said it before, but as a swimmer I couldn’t do these swims without the enormous support of the people behind the scenes. The people who are willing to row a boat or kayak alongside me as I swim; the people who are willing to organise the events themselves and put in the long hours to get it running; and the friends who are willing to support and humour me as I become a swimming bore.

Not only can I now enter the event, but it’s come at a time when I needed a boost. I have one and I’m smiling. Thank you.

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