Monday, 20 April 2009

Swimathon

Saturday was the Marie Cure Swimathon at Coventry Sports Centre. I swam the 5km challenge, and was hoping to do 1.25, which proved a bit too optimistic – I made it in 1.28, though, which I was pretty happy with, given that I am definitely more carthorse than racehorse. The last time I did this event was about 10 years ago, and I did 1.36 then, so even if my hair has gone grey and my eyesight is going, at least my swimming is on the up! The lane I was in was pretty mixed, with quite a few breast-strokers, so the swimming was pretty stop-start at times. I was a bit frustrated at first, and did a few overtakes that were perhaps a bit intemperate, but then I realised that this wasn’t the time or the place for that kind of swimming, and settled down and really started to enjoy it.

Swimathon is a charity event, but I didn’t want to raise sponsorship for it, so instead, I made a small donation on top of my registration fee and volunteered to help out in the afternoon instead. I was assigned to counting laps, marking their progress off on a sheet and recording final finishing time. To be honest, I thought it would be quite a tedious thing to do, but it turned out to be completely captivating. Several people in my lane had taken on distances that were far in excess of anything they'd ever done before, and it was wonderful to see them all complete their swims successfully.

On a different, but related, note, after our experience of swimming together in Malta, Lisa has asked me to be her support swimmer for her solo crossing this August. I can’t wait, and I really hope that I can help her to achieve her goal. This does raise another issue for me, though, that I really need to get on top of – seasickness. Years ago (somewhere around the early 90's), I had a terrible experience on a 24 hour ferry crossing from Korea to Japan during typhoon season; the only thing I can really remember about it is fantasising about jumping into the sea because I couldn’t believe that it could be worse in there than on the boat. Anyway, since then, just the thought of being on a boat makes me feel a bit queasy, which is potentially a problem for both my upcoming relay and Lisa's swim. Someone on the Malta trip suggested that it sounded like that reaction that a lot of people have to the first alcoholic drink that they got really drunk on (Malibu and Coke in my case...) and have never been able to so much as smell since without feeling ill. This made me wonder whether instead of seeking out motion-sickness drugs, I shouldn't think about finding ways to break that association in my mind. I thought about hypnotherapy, but I'm not too comfortable with the thought of relinquishing control in that way. But my friend, Celia, suggested today that I try cognitive behavioural therapy instead. Has anyone out there tried anything like this?

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