Saturday, 13 July 2013

The consequences of decisions....

I've been feeling a bit flat for the last few days, feeling the consequences of my decision. Monday was supposed to be the day of my Channel swim, and no matter how convinced I am that I made the right decision, I'm sad to have lost that opportunity to try something so extraordinary for a second time. And the weather is going to be gorgeous by the looks of it - I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel a quiet wrench at such a lost opportunity. I still think that I made the right decision. Even though the weather has been tremendous over the last week and temps are starting to climb, it's still on the chillier side; all other things being equal, maybe I could have made it, and maybe I couldn't. We'll never know, and I'm determined not to get bogged down in second-guessing myself on that one (and succeeding most of the time). But as it turned out, other factors have intervened anyway. The post-MIMS viral thing that I was struggling with when I made the decision got much worse, leading to frustrating breathing problems and constant coughing and spluttering. I tried to swim, but I was unable to catch my breath and quickly became exhausted. An inhaler eventually helped, but as a result of all this, I had almost three weeks without proper training - precisely the three weeks that I had allocated (before cancelling) to going down to Dover to get some back-to-back 6 hour swims in. In short, temperature issues aside, with the benefit of hindsight, there is no way I could have done it anyway at my current level of post-illness fitness and without those valuable weeks of training. So all in all, just not my year.

So, I feel sad and disappointed; this is the consequence of my decision. I don't regret the choice that I made, but I do feel sad that I had to make that choice.

The good news is that I'm now back in training, boosted by the sunshine and the toasty lake temps (good prep for an August MIMS). I've rethought my training plan and will write more on that shortly. Just 6 weeks to go before MIMS II.

In the mean time, I wish all the swimmers on the upcoming tide every success - it looks like it's going to be beautiful out there. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Who are you swimming for?

Amidst all the happenings around swimming, plus having been annoyingly ill with a spluttering cough for two weeks, I'm still trying to keep working on "Immersion" - the book I'm writing about marathon swimming, based on the research project. And today, I got to give the latest draft chapter a bit of an airing at a seminar hosted by the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Dublin City University. I've been a friend of the School for several years, sitting on a PhD committee there, so it's always nice to visit and today, I tried out part of the current chapter I'm working on about swimming for charity (and more specifically, about the pressure to swim for charity), called "Who are you swimming for?"

If you would like to listen to the podcast of the talk, you can download it here.