At the end of January I signed up to the Aspire Channel Challenge for 2019.Continue reading
At the end of January I signed up to the Aspire Channel Challenge for 2019.Continue reading
I’ve just remembered a nightmare I had the other night.
I had been phoned up by a channel pilot to swim the channel – but I didn’t have a support team. In fact I don’t think I’d even asked anyone if they would help me out. In the dream I then had to abandon the swim.
You’d all be there for me if I needed a channel crew (if I ever decided to do it) wouldn’t you?
On Monday I’m off down to Kent to wait for my channel relay, so this morning’s swim was my last training swim ahead of that.
I did a series of drills (to keep my stroke in good order) and then a gentle 1km to total 2,850m.
However, the best bit about today’s swim was the chat with the other swimmers and letting them know about next week’s channel relay. Having done a relay before (and lots of other open water swimming) next week’s swim, while exciting, doesn’t seem that big a deal. But to the pool swimmers it’s a big challenge and they were excited and very supportive of me. It was lovely to chat to them and to see it through other people’s eyes.
Having said all of that, I am excited and I am looking forward to it. I am aware and respectful of the challenge ahead, but I’m also confident in my training and fitness.
If you’d like to sponsor me for the swim, please go here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-swim
I hardly swam at all in 2016 – a couple of dips as it got colder towards the end of the year, but no events and certainly not the Windermere swim I wanted to do.
Unfortunately I was injured. I had a [probably] non-swimming related back injury and it took me out all summer. It started in the middle of April and by mid-summer I could hardly stand, yet alone swim. It started to clear by the end of September, but too late for any ‘real’ swimming.
But 2017 has started much better. My back feels better, I’m getting my general fitness back and my swim fitness feels good at the moment. So I’m going to state my goals for the year. Here they are (in order of priority):
1 – 2-way Windermere
This was always the main goal for 2017 and another reason why it was so frustrating to be out of action all of last year – 2016 was meant to be a training year.
2 – Channel Relay
I’m really looking forward to doing another relay. I’ll be in a team of four with Rach, Cathy and Jayne and, fingers crossed, we’ll smash it!
3 – 2swim4life
I’ve signed up again to the 24 mile / 24 hour swim in Guildford again. When I did it in 2015 it was the biggest, hardest thing I’ve ever done and it broke me. I’m hoping this year that it will be good mental and physical train fun for the 2-way Windermere swim later in the year.
4 – 500kms
Not an event, but a personal target to swim 500kms over the year. I’d actually like to swim 600kms (50 per month), but I’d be more than happy with 500. I managed 39.4kms in Jan.
Of course I’ll be swimming in a number of BLDSA events over the year as training swims and I’m also organising two BLDSA swims again this year.
Colwick Park – May 21st
A 1km swim for those wanting a shorter challenge and a 5km swim for those wanting to kick off their summer season with a bang. Both swims allow wetsuits.
Coniston – July 29th/30th
The Vets 3.5m swim (for those over 45) on the Saturday. And the full length 5.25m swim on the Sunday.
Both swims can be entered through Entry Central – just search for BLDSA to see all of our events.
Hopefully I’ll see you in the water in 2017.
I’ve signed up again for the Aspire Channel Challenge.
Last year the swimming element of the challenge was easy for me, so I increased the challenge by doing it in 22 consecutive days. This year, after coming back from an injury that has stopped me from swimming at all this summer, it’s the swimming itself that will be tough.
Since I’ve been back in the pool in three swims I’ve managed to swim 1.8kms, so over 40kms for the channel challenge feels like a lot this year.
However, I’m going to do it and I’d love you to sponsor me here – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-2016-aspire-channel-swim (where you can read most of this blurb again).
As Aspire says: “Every eight hours someone is paralysed by a Spinal Cord Injury and Aspire provides the essential equipment, advice, housing and grants that spinal cord injured people need to live their lives independently. This is a big challenge, but the more I raise, the more of a difference I’ll make, so please be generous!”
And of course, you can sign up too if you want to take part in the challenge – just go here: http://aspirechannelswim.co.uk/
For the first time in 23 days I won’t be swimming today.
For the last 22 days I have swum a mile each day as part of my Aspire Channel Swim. I have now landed in France and so I’m taking the day off to enjoy the cheese and wine. (Unfortunately for me, this is as true as the fact that I’ve actually swum the channel – but I have swum 22 miles).
For me the swimming was never going to the big challenge – I’ve actually swum no less than a mile each day, but often more and have averaged at just over 2km per day – however the logistics and repetition of it were a big challenge. No matter what else I’ve been doing I’ve had to make time for a swim every day. And of course to make it harder for myself I’ve tried to do it in a different venue every day – what an idiot!
Anyway, it’s done now. I’ll post more about it later, as despite what sounds like a moan I’ve really enjoyed it.
In the meantime I’ve been featured in my local paper, so you can read the article in the Nottingham Post.
And of course, it’s not too late to sponsor me.
Yesterday was a bit of a channel day for me.
It started with me reading this account of a recent channel swim by Jane. It’s funny, I know the writer but not the swimmer, but I still got all emotional reading it. It’s a great post and obviously a huge achievement and a hugely personal one for Tony.
The day then continued with me tracking a very good swimming friend of mine as she set off to “bother the French” just before 8am. I was glued to her tracker and the Facebook updates I could find in between meetings for the whole day. I made sure I could sign into Wifi on the train home to keep checking and as soon as I got home up came the tracker again.
And then after about 13 hours of swimming there was a kink in the tracker that didn’t look good. The next refresh confirmed it – the swimming had stopped and the boat had turned for home.
I was heart broken for her. Yet, as I posted on Facebook, for some reason I had to keep following the tracker until they got back to Folkestone harbour. I didn’t ask them to give me ‘three rings’ to let me know they were safe, but it was a similar feeling – I needed to know they were safe.
But I guess that is a typical channel day – for some it provides a defining moment of glory, for others frustration and disappointment.
I did it.
At the weekend I swam in the 2swim4life event in Guildford and managed to swim 24 miles over 24 hours. Given that before the weekend the most I’d ever swum in one day was the 10.5 miles of Windermere it’s fair to say I’m pretty pleased with that.
Not only was the swimming tough, but the constant getting in and out added a lot of extra psychological toughness to it. In fact, a lot of the channel swimmers at the event said that just swimming non-stop for 20 odd miles is easier.
Let me just repeat that – a lot of people said that swimming the channel is easier. So maybe that’s what I’ll do next…
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a friend taking on the immense challenge that is the Arch to Arc. As he describes it on his Just Giving page:
“I will attempt the world’s most difficult triathlon – The Arch to Arc. I will run 87 miles from Marble Arch to Dover. Within 48 hours of beginning that run I will attempt to swim the English Channel solo. On completion of that I will then cycle the 180 miles to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is a huge undertaking: You may think that an 87 mile run is a challenge but it pales into insignificance compared to the enormity of swimming the English Channel. That is like climbing Everest with a fridge on your back! To date, only 13 people have completed the task – one more than has stood on the moon. In September I will be the oldest person to attempt the Challenge at the grand old age of 49.”
It’s almost too much to even contemplate for us mere mortals.
Well, the challenge will start this weekend (weather dependent) and so this post is my way of wishing him good luck and pushing you to his Just Giving page – https://www.justgiving.com/PaulParrishArch2Arc/. There will also be a tracker that can be found on the Enduroman homepage and will be activated once Paul starts.
You can read about Paul’s training on his blog here.
I talk quite a lot about the community of swimmers in my presentations and I mentioned it on the radio the other week too. Over the last few weeks in the disappointment following my Windermere swim I’ve had chance to witness it first hand.
One of the most obvious ways was in the support I received at the end of the swim itself. For many people the fact that I suffered and took longer than I had anticipated made it an even better swim. I received plenty of pats on the backs and hugs and people wanted to congratulate for overcoming it all and completing the swim. At the time I couldn’t really accept it all as I felt like a failure. But the community of swimmers understands that it is actually the swims that you complete even when what feels like your entire being is begging you to quit – those are the ones that take a greater effort and should be recognised as a greater achievement. So apologies to anyone I may have brushed off that evening.
This community and show of support was repeated online. Again I brushed it off at the time, and while I’m still not happy with my swim (or myself), I can now see what people mean.
But even greater than that is the fact that some of the stars of the support are willing to help others out. Soon after the swim I reached out and asked a two-time channel swimmer if I could have some of her time to chat to her about where I went wrong and what I can do to put it right. She responded almost immediately and was very generous with her time and advice.
I do feel better after the swim now and am starting to plan for next year – thanks in part to the great community of swimmers I feel lucky to be part of.