Monday, July 8, 2013

Inspring and thought-provoking tale from the English Channel

Many thanks to those who wished me well pre and post my English Channel attempt. After some doses of Benedryl I’m feeling fine today. I always hoped when the day came for my first DNF that I’d handle it well, and I think I am. First, I honestly feel mentally and physically great and feel nothing but gratitude for Bob’s call. I’m blessed with not just a perfect hubby, but a solid reliable crew support. My entire experience has been nothing but great since I arrived in England. I’ve met so many wonderful people, swimmers and non swimmers. I’m leaving with new friends, and the knowledge that my new approach to mental and physical training did me well. I was feeling nothing but pure bliss for my entire swim, and I just felt so strong and positive. One of the last words spoken to me on shore by another channel swimmer observing for a relay team stuck in my mind – just relax and enjoy your channel experience. I did just that. When my observer looked at me with a WTF look on his face and said the water is 11. Bob nicely translated to – it is 51-52. I recall shaking my head no because I thought he was kidding. One toe hit the water and I said oh, wow he is serious. I stayed positive and let my body embrace the temp as I swam to shore to start thinking ah, mental training is paying off! I spent a lot of effort on cold water acclimation and felt confident. I started feeling fine, and embraced the temps by going out faster than normal. After that I could feel it get warmer, thrilled I was under 20 sec on feedings and peeing between feedings – my body was fine. I felt stronger than ever with boundless energy- even my tapering was paying off. I saw a few jellies early on under me and took in their beauty and reflected back on my first 2008 one mile ocean swim where I was freaked by the ocean and closed my eyes until the lifeguard startled me when he told me I was going in the wrong direction. I felt so thrilled I was now swimming over them, admiring them. I wasn’t worried about a sting at all. I was stung in Tampa so I knew it would hurt but I’d get through it. You learn something from each challenge to apply to the next. I saw few more and fine again. I couldn’t believe how awesome it was swimming in the channel, and how fast time was going between feedings – a sign of pure bliss. I last remember swimming through what seemed like endless jellies and thinking wow, so many and so cool. I felt the stings and said wow, not as bad as Tampa, must be cuz I’m numb from cold. I swam on and then suddenly I felt drugged, then left side of my body was doing its own thing and I recall trying to focus to swim through it but was really disoriented. I heard Bob’s voice and from that point I really thought I was chatting with them, but Bob said nope, unresponsive. In my mind I was swimming through it, but his vision had me not even rolling my head to breathe. It really wasn’t a bad experience for me since I was in la la land, but I’m sure I stressed poor Bob out and for that I’m sorry. He’s done nothing but support my goals 100%, and unfortunately he had to make a decision that I’m sure is hard for any crew to make. While this didn’t go as I hoped, I am really feeling good, strong and healthy today. I’ll now focus on my other work, swim and life commitments in the coming months and continue my English Channel training for a hopeful slot in 2014 season. Thanks again to all for their support. I really am leaving healthy, injury free, and content. I came here with no other ‘next’ swim planned because I said anything can happen, and I want to focus on the channel until I hit France and I plan to keep my word:)