This isn't really about swimming...although with only 5 weeks to go before I fly to New York for MIMS, and about 10 weeks before my Channel swim, pretty much everything is about swimming anyway.
But the big news is that I am going to be leaving my current job at Warwick University at the end of the summer to take up an exciting new post in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at Leeds University. There are many reasons for making this move now, both professionally and personally, but the most immediate positive is that Peter and I can finally look forward to abandoning our two-city working lives and consolidate our efforts into a more coherent life together. After 8 years of commuting between jobs, houses and cities, it's almost too good to be true for us both to have great jobs in the same city and institution.
And inevitably, this too is about the swimming, and I'm not ashamed to say that in my 'shall I / shan't I?' deliberations about whether to go for the job, 'will I be able to swim?' was one of the many factors we considered. And of course, the answer is a resounding yes... but also a (qualified) no. There is a reassuring plethora of lakes, rivers and pools with which to feed my habit, plus a robust community of swimmers to train with. So while this doesn't really resolve the problem of being a sea swimmer who lives nowhere near the sea, there are plenty of beautiful places to get my swimming fix. The qualified no is really about time and priorities - moving houses and jobs is disruptive and time-consuming, and while it's definitely a case of long-term gains all round, the reality of the next couple of years is that I need to focus on getting settled in my new job... plus the swimming book is still more unwritten than written. So, less time swimming, and more time writing about swimming.
So, I'm not going to stop swimming - how could I? - but after the Channel swim this summer, I'm retiring from the long swims for a while to focus on other important bits of my life.
And none of this changes the (slightly terrified) excitement of the next few months of long swimming. The lakes round here are opening, the weather's finally warming up and I'm ready to give it my all.