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!

Plot of my course

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One week before I leave!

I thought I would put together this blog to give anyone interested an update on my swim. I have been amazed with how many people know that I doing this. Sure puts the pressure on to get across the thing!

With just a week to go, all the hard training is behind me. The twice a day swims (including those early mornings with Tiffany, Bonnie, Michelle, Frankie, Ted and Priscilla), the long weekend swims (5-6 hours in a pool, lake or the ocean), and the weight training for almost 2 years is now over. I participated in several open water swims to prepare including the Potomac River Swim in 2007 and 2008, the 2008 US Master's Swimming National Championships in Clemson, SC, a 6 hour swim in the Dover Harbor a couple weeks ago, and the Swim Across the Sound in NY's Long Island Sound. While the Sound swim was called short due to thunderstorms, I still gained confidence in my ability to endure as I was stung by jellyfish over 100 times. I have decided I am anti-jellyfish.

So now my focus is on resting my body, not getting injured, and gaining weight. When I went to Dover, I quickly realized how incredibly hard this swim will be due to the cold alone. A water temp of 60 deg doesn't sound that bad but it's absolutely frigid. Turn your lips blue, hypothermia, can't stop shaking, frigid. In fact the cold, rather than the rough water or distance, is what causes many people to not make it across. So I am gaining as much weight as I can. I have added about 20 pounds to my triathlon weight and hope to add 5-10 more before I swim. Sounds fun but its really not.

I will try to keep this blog up to date with anything noteworthy. I really appreciate all the support I have received from everyone - especially my family, my work friends and colleagues, the swim crowd at the Hartsville, Darlington, and Florence YMCA's, my triathlon and biking buds (it was great to see so many of you at this weekend's triathlon!). I have no idea how this will go but I am excited to give it my best shot and see what happens. Thanks for sharing in the fun with me!

34 comments:

Jaqueline and Russell said...

You go, Allan!

I have seen news articles about people who do these types of things (swim channels, climb mountains, etc) and have always thought that they must be really CRAZY!! Now I will be able to say that I know one of those crazy people!!!!! Please let us know when you make it across.

I have been telling Russell for some time that I want to compete in a triathlon - I am open for any advice or suggestions you may have.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Tiffany said...

Good luck Allan!

I know you will do an excellent job. I have faith in your ability that you will be able to complete the swim. I will be checking your blog for updates, but you'll have to let me know how the swim went as I will not be at the YMCA when you come back.

The only coaching advice I have for you is to watch that wrist.

Good luck and have a great swim!
~Tiffany

Priscilla said...

I am very excited for you. There are very few people that actually go past the dreaming stage and actually do something like this. I wish you the best and Tim and i will keep up to date on your blog. I know it is an adventure for your family as well. Have a great time and we will see you when you get back. Priscilla Myers

Allan said...

Thanks Jaqueline, Tiffany, and Priscilla for your kind words. Well, except for Jaqueline who called me crazy ;-) I will write you about triathlons. I think it's great you are thinking about doing one.

And Tiffany, I thought you understood that the wrist flick in my stroke was a STYLE thing? Just a little flair. Kidding. I absolutely appreciate all your coaching and advice!

Anonymous said...

Nothin' to it, but to do it!

Ted will need to move over and fill your empty lane so I won't miss your flip turns too much in these last days of Tiffany's coaching. I feel that I should apologize for teasing you so much, but you really are cute "pudgy". I'm very proud to know you, even though you gave Wanda that 6 min lead over Steve. Just remember to sing a song about Jesus after the 2nd yellow buoy-helped me anyway.

Bonnie said...

I know you can figure out that the previous anonymous comment was mine. I'm new to this media. Does it show? I'm from Ted's decade!

Allan said...

I knew that was you right away Bonnie. And I am SOOOO glad you noticed the weight going on these last couple months. ;-) But, I have heard stories of people losing 20 pounds in that one swim so hopefully that will happen to me. And the only reason I got a lead on you in the tri is that you had me psyched out about there being no flip turns in the lake. I was pushing the whole time thinking you were about to blow past me! And the advice about singing a song about Jesus is perfect. I will definitely do that. It has been really nice getting to know you and the rest of the morning workout group.

PS - Please tell me if Frankie ever manages to make it to practice on time.

michelle said...

Go Allan Go!!!
Bonnie told me about this cool blog I just had to see!
I want to wish you the best of luck on your incredible journey across the English Channel! I am so amazed that any one could swim for that long! One sting from a jellyfish would be it for me!!! I am so excited for you you set a goal and you are now achieving it! You are in my prayers for a safe and successful swim!

Michelle

Frankie said...

Allan
i wiil be on time in the morning
i hope.good luck and you have inspired us.i will move over to you lane while you are away but it will be a lot slower.
Frankie

Allan said...

Thanks Michelle and Frankie! I appreciate all the kind words, support and especially any prayers. It has been great to see you guys in the mornings and see how dedicated you are. So Frankie - did your alarm go off this morning?

ted said...

Frankie,
I will swim in Allan's lane, next to Bonnie,unless you beat me to the pool. haha. No chance.
ALLAN, ALL THE BEST!
ted

Allan said...

The lane is yours Ted. I have to warn you though. Your new job is to keep up with how many laps Bonnie swims because she has no clue!

Bonnie said...

Ted needs that cool lap counter ring...you can't do flip turns in the channel anyway & you'll be too busy singing about Jesus to check the time! I was so busy keeping track of how many times you lapped me in the next lane that I lost count of my own. Personal musing while swimming is the best form of therapy. If you can sprint "pudgy" in that warm lake, then you can do anything!

Tiffany said...

The lane is definately yours Ted. I think the next time you are in we will have to practice some flip turns. I do love to be splashed at 5:30am... it helps wake me up. Maybe thats the reason I've been so tired and lazy these past few practices.

Anywho, good luck Allan, and the Jesus song is definately a great idea... get that swim p3 for at least an hour or so to change it up a bit. :)

Allan said...

Hey Tiffany - Ted and Bonnie sent me an e-mail and requested extra mileage on Thursday. Said something about them being able to handle anything you could dish out.

Tiffany said...

Thanks for the update Allan, will do. I'll even add some extra special kicking since Bonnie seems to love that soo very much! :)

Bonnie said...

Real funny, Allan. I have improved my kicking, but I'll never be able to do your 'motorboat' speed!

Anonymous said...

Allan,

Good luck. We are pulling for you!!

Cindy Watts

Allan said...

Thanks Cindy! My Dover training is going well so far. We'll see. Just need some good weather now.

Jennie said...

Allan,
I was in Brittany last week and put my toes in the English Channel. WOW. That was chilly. More power to you. Hope you get a great swim!
Everyone at St. Matthews is talking enthusiastically about your adventure.
-JennieWilliamson

Allan said...

Jennie,

Yep, its cold. Fortunately it looks like I am actually starting to acclimate to it. Black Creek sure doesn't get this cold, at least not in the recent months when I was training. I hope you had a nice trip. We have been having a great family adventure over here.

TheSigmons said...

Allen,
We're pulling for you!!! We can't wait to hear about your family's adventures!

GOOD LUCK!!!
Dean & Diane

TheSigmons said...

Allen,
We're pulling for you!!! We can't wait to hear about your family's adventures!

GOOD LUCK!!!
Dean & Diane

Lisa N. Wiley said...

Hi Allan!! Just wanted to let you know the morning Y Darlington girls are pulling for you all the way!!!! Please tell Lauri HELLO! for us. You do owe her but I am sure you are making up for it at least a little bit now. We will pray for clear weather for you so that you can get your swim in. I know that you are going to be amazing!!!!!! Give it all you've got!!!! Take care, Lisa

Dwight Dana said...

Allan: Hoping all is well and you're planning to swim the Atlantic on the way back. My best to you and your family and good luck. If anybody can swim the chilly channel, you can. Please keep me posted so that I can keep you in the news. I'm pulling for you, so is everybody at the Morning News. dwight

Allan said...

Thanks Sigmonds, Lisa and Dwight! Getting very close to happening now. It really helps to know I have people pulling for me in this. Very motivating!

ted said...

Alan, I cannot believe Frankie beat me to the pool today. He swam in your lane, I was in mine.
Have a great swim!
ted

Bonnie B. said...

Allan,

I can't believe that Ted beat me to the punch-"Hi, Ted"! Frankie has picked up where Tiffany left off, although he didn't bother to inform us in advance for Tues, so he swam alone. Raymond put 400 yds of kicking w/fins in our workout...I was gliding through the water imagining how it feels to be you-could feel muscles in the outside of my ankles that I didn't realize I had! Ted swam >a mile today. I've swam >5 this wk (3 this weekend because I feared waiting for late lifeguards on MW&Fs). I took Tues off of work & swam an easy mile-no kickboards, nor pull buoys (knee floats in 'Ted' lang). I sure hop you get your chance. We're all thinking about you. You'll need to join us after, if you don't lose 20 lbs in the channel!

BonBos

Jennie said...

HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Jennie W.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your accomplishment!!!

Scott said...

Congratulations Allan - I have enjoyed reading the blogs and keeping up with your roller coaster ride. The question is "What is next???"

Take care and welcome home....

Scott and Donna

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!!! What a great accomplishment and adventure. Can't wait to hear more about it.

We're so happy for you .... you deserve it.

Witt and Beth

Beryl Love said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!
Beryl & Irene Love

Allan said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words. Doing this was just trememdous fun. I am glad I got to have my family so close and involved. We had a great time on this adventure. Take care all.