Well, after my short, work-induced break from the blog, I'm back. To be honest, I'm not sure that things are any better on that front than they were two months ago, but at least all of the house-moving and beginning-of-term madness has now given way to the steadier rhythms of the teaching term.
In the short time I've been away, there's been some exciting bits and bobs happening around the swimming research - not least a fun day at the Wellcome Collection Human Limits event, followed by a surprise appearance in the Guardian. I've had a very positive response to the magazine I published in September, and I also stepped some distance outside of my usual comfort zone earlier this week by going to a local primary school to talk to the children about Channel swimming. I was absolutely terrified, since I really don't have any experience with children, and especially not en masse; but of course, they were charming, delightful and splendidly enthusiastic. I think we could all learn a lot from their willingness to just venture an answer and not worry about getting things wrong.
But what has finally prompted my re-ignition of the blog is the fabulously exciting news that I've been accepted for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) next June. Within the swimming community, it's a landmark event that is notoriously hard to get into - both because of the high demand, and its byzantine application system. However, with a huge amount of luck on my side, and in a piece of splendid San Francisco / New York / Coventry synchronised enrolling on the part of my top crew of Patti Bauernfeind and Julie Galloway, we made the swim list. I am unspeakably excited about it - a circumnavigation of Manhattan, viewed from water level! How fabulous is that. Unlike other swims that I've done, it's a race (although clearly, I won't be 'racing' as such), and there are some intimidatingly good swimmers on the list who will be warm, dry and fed before I get anywhere near the finish. But my goal is to finish within the 9.30 cut-off and have a great day out. I'm pretty confident about the first of these, and simply don't see how it can be anything other than the latter, not just because it's Manhattan, but also because there are so many people taking part who I know, either in person or online friends who I'm looking forward to meeting.
And as an additional treat, two weeks ago, I dispatched my cheque to Channel pilot Paul Foreman for my next English Channel swim, which will hopefully be in mid-July, 2013 (weather permitting).
Fun, fun, fun.
But I do now have to get my head around the quite pressing problem of how to train, especially for Manhattan. The race is on 8 June, 2013, which means that I'm going to need to be putting some serious distance in during May, when the water's really still quite chilly in the UK. Plus, now that the fieldwork for the research is over and I'm back to a full teaching and administrative load, I don't have anything like the flexibility in terms of travelling to training sites that I had for my English Channel swim.
I have some ideas, mostly involving training quality over quantity, a little bit of long-weekending in slightly warmer swim spots, creative use of a wetsuit to get the hours in, and probably quite a bit of just sucking it up and getting a bit cold. I'll be interested to hear how any of the other UK / Ireland swimmers are dealing with this challenge. All suggestions gratefully received.
Time to get back at it.