After competing in triathlons for 9 years, I decided it was time to try something different. In the back of my mind I had always had this idea that I would try to swim the English Channel some day. Now, after almost 2 years of distance swimming training, that day is almost here!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Getting close now
I started the day with a 1.5 hour/3 mile swim in the harbor. It was the same temperature it’s been all week as far as I can tell but I felt better in it. The sun was out on and off. Each time I get in I really think my tolerance is improving. It’s still terribly uncomfortable but I am now able to make myself think about something other than the cold. When I can do that, it really helps pass the time rather than dwell on how much I want to get out. The water was rougher today too. In fact, what woke me up this morning was high winds and rain beating on our building. It had died down considerably (I was picturing 5 foot waves) but the harbor still had some swells and a lot of chop or irregular peaks and valleys. I am learning to just relax and not fight it when I get in that kind of water. I try to expend the same amount of energy as I would when swimming in flat water. I think the big swim is going to come down to a balance of exerting myself just enough to stay “warm” but not so much that I exhaust myself completely. My wife Lauri came to watch me swim today and take some video of me. However, had she wanted to show me in a good light she would have recorded me stroking smoothly through the harbor apparently unaffected by wind, waves, and cold. But no. Instead she took video of me walking awkwardly down the stone beach (aka golf balls) cold, fat, stuffed into a Speedo and slathered with Vaseline. I assume the video will serve some evil purpose later.
We took the afternoon to drive about 20 minutes north to see the Canterbury Cathedral. By the way, I think I really have the roundabouts down now. Even the bigger multi-ringed ones. Anyway, the Cathedral was as spectacular as I had imagined it would be. The scope and scale of it, the incredibly detailed stone carvings everywhere you looked, the history was all magnificent. The picture above was taken about halfway into the church. There's much more beyond and back behind me not visible in the picture. Being Episcopalian it also holds a special meaning as this is where our denomination began and is still our world “headquarters” where church business is conducted. We opted for the audio tour which proved a great way to keep the kids occupied and provide them with an educational experience at the same time.
After the tour, we found a nice little Italian restaurant in the Canterbury shopping district outside the Cathedral. As we finished up some excellent thin crust pizza I checked my BlackBerry (surprise, surprise) and saw an e-mail from my pilot Eddie. He said Friday may be swimable, Saturday was looking good. So I need to keep waiting and see what the weather does next. But we are coming down to the wire now and I am feeling good that I will get a shot. So that's great! Now we'll just have to see what that shot is going to look like. There are three swimmers contracted with Eddie for this week. It is my hope that all of us will get a good day and have our chance to go.
Posted by Allan at 4:06 PM