Five weeks tomorrow I'll be jumping into the Hudson River for the first stage of the 8 Bridges Hudson River swim - 120 miles down the river, swimming from bridge to bridge each day until finally passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York Harbour. It is a daunting undertaking, and I am quite terrified if I think about it too carefully, but the good news is that after being frozen over for a good part of the winter, water temps in the Hudson are now hitting seasonal averages, which definitely bodes well.
Training has been going well, although as with any swim, it's impossible to say how much training is enough. As an extra level of uncertainty, except for about 40km of sea swimming during a recent trip to Lanzarote, all of my training since last September has been in our Fastlane Pool, so I'm spending a lot of time swimming on the spot... although I'm fairly confident that it's working as training. Plus, I reckon that the novelty of actually moving forwards when swimming and being able to see scenery going past, rather than the same bit of wall, will get me through any hard patches of the 8 Bridges.
It's been a struggle to find the time for training recently, and especially in the last couple of months when I've been flat out teaching and trying to finish my book manuscript. Happily, though, I just made my 30th April deadline, and Immersion is now in the hands of my publishers and heading out for review, leaving me to focus more time and attention on swim training. If nothing else, it's nice to finally have my weekends back and it's such a weight off my mind to not have to be thinking constantly about the book. And even though training time has been tight, the luxury of having the FP means that I have been able to train much more consistently than in previous years, doing around 8-12 hours most weeks since January. I'm hoping that what I'm lacking in bigger distances so far will be compensated for by this consistency. And I reckon that I've got a good few weeks of much harder training time now that the book is in, which will give me chance to push up the mileage a bit. I'm even hoping to get back outside for at least one weekend before I leave for NY, but at the moment, the water is too chilly to stay in for long periods, and given that we had more snow on the ground last week, I'm not holding my breath.
So for now, I'm counting down to the 7th June and keeping my fingers crossed that I stay fit and well. With luck, I'll be in good enough shape to give each of the 7 stages my very best, and I'll be able to enjoy to the full what promises to be a fantastic week of swimming.