I've been thinking about it for a while, but watching everyone do their six hour swims in Malta made me realise how much I wanted to have another go at it. So, somewhere around the 15-20 July, 2013, I'm off for a second time around. I'll be swimming with the same pilot as last year - Paul Foreman, and have a number 2 slot.
And why do it again? Well...I loved last year, but the whole business also had a huge amount of anxiety attached to it. I'm not suggesting that I'm going to stroll blithely into this one, but I'm hoping that now that I've got more experience, and more confidence, I'll be able to enjoy the build up to the swim more and really capitalise on how much I love the swimming itself. This is not about trying to "beat" my previous time (16 hours and 9 mins) - every Channel swim is different, and I just want to see what it's like on a different day...and just to see if I can do it again or whether this was a one-off. But mostly, I just love having that goal there to structure my training, and by extension, my working life too.
I picked an earlier date for this swim than my first one. When I booked my 2010 swim (in 2008), I was very concerned about the cold, but since then I've learned that this isn't really a huge issue for me, so I can tolerate an earlier swim (I think). Also, last year, I allowed the swim to completely consume my life, and while this was part of the fun of it, it's not necessarily sustainable in the long term... and one of my core goals now is to find a sustainable way to stay involved in the sport whilst still having a life outside of it. By swimming earlier in the season, I'm hoping that I can basically sustain my winter training as it currently is (20-30km per week in the pool, plus some running, gym work, core etc), and use May and June to build time in the water and get some back-to-back long swims in. Then Peter and I will still have August / Sept to do some trips together that don't involve him sitting in a boat feeding me jelly babies.
We've also set aside 2012 as the summer of leisure when neither of us will do an all-consuming challenge - a chance to do some walking, cycle-touring etc, as well as some shorter OW events (for me) and bike events / triathlons (for Peter). I'm even thinking about detouring back into triathlon for a change of pace - I'm shockingly bad at it, and a disgrace to the sport, but it's quite good fun, as long as I can find a suitably sedate (and short) event.
So...that's my plan. Of course, Catalina is far from done yet and I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the long timeline for booking a Channel swim means that I have to start thinking about this now.
All very exciting.