Monday, 23 August 2010

Best laid plans...

This isn't really how I had imagined my return from Dover. I had imagined completing the swim and coming home sore and triumphant; I had imagined coming home having failed the swim, sore but not at all triumphant. But even though I knew in principle that I might not get a swim, I don't think I'd really imagined what that scenario would be like - frustrating, deflating, disheartening, as it turns out.
After a week of watching the weather forecasts dangle the hope of a swimmable day in a few days' time and then seeing those days slowly being nibbled away by high winds, like everyone, I had my sights set on what looked like a very promising gap in the weather on Sunday. But we woke up on Sunday morning to howling winds, followed by torrential rain. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, and along with several other swimmers, I decided to pack up and go home to continue waiting in more comfortable, and less intense, surroundings. Even as we were packing up, it started to hurl it down and we had to take shelter under the awning. Miserable...but at least it confirmed my decision to go.

Unpacking my boxes this morning was pretty depressing; the weather forecast for the week is even more so...although it is starting to look like there might be a window at the weekend (but I've seen that before).

In absolute terms, Sunday is the last day of the spring tide, and after there's a fully booked neap tide with four swims on it. I'm flying to Australia on 6 Sept, so even if it was a splendid swimming week next week, I'd be lucky to get a swim in after the other four swims have gone before I have to fly. So, it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that I'll squeeze in a swim before I leave, either towards the end of this spring tide, or the end of the next neap tide, but it's not likely.

So... the alternative plan is to start more intensive training again - get some longer swims under my belt to build up my endurance after a long taper and a week of sitting about not doing much, taper down while I'm in Australia, and then trying to get in a swim at the end of Sept. The air temps are much lower then, and there's not as much daylight, but if I'm lucky with the conditions, it's plausible. Another problem is that I don't tend to travel very well and get incredibly jet lagged, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. If I'm not fit to swim, then I won't and will just have another go next year. But it's worth holding out for that last chance if I can.

So from now, I'm going to pick up the training this week, building towards (depending on the weather) either getting a crossing in towards the weekend, or going down to Dover to do a couple of long training swims in the harbour. I'll do long swims again the weekend after too, before heading to Australia. It's hard to muster the enthusiasm to get back into the hard training, but hopefully I'll be able to find it from somewhere once I get going.

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support, and especially to Peter who came down at the weekend to save me from going bananas. And my sympathies to all those swimmers who are kicking their heels and waiting for a chance to swim....

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