15th July 2007: Dover Training

This week has been a bit of a rollercoaster.  I got back in the water on Monday and quickly realised it was a little too soon, so got out after half an hour. Things seemed to have improved during the week, so after training in Spectrum on Wednesday and Friday I felt ready to face Dover again at the weekend.

I arrived in Dover on Saturday morning, not sure what Freda would throw at me.  Would it be a shorter session to make sure that I was fully recovered from the virus? Or would she go for a big weekend?  Daft question really - she went for the big weekend!!  On Saturday the water was choppier than I have ever seen it before and the task was 7 hours.  It was tough!!  By the end absolutely everything hurt we were all battered about like you wouldn't believe.

I stayed over this weekend with the intention of doing a night swim.  Although I knew that I was sore, I didn't realise just how much damage had been done until I got back to the hotel room to change and realised that I couldn't get my arms above my head!  My shoulders felt as bad as they did at the peak of their injury at which point I struggled to swim 200m joined up.  I was physically exhausted, but couldn't really sleep because of the discomfort.  The night swim got shelved so that I had some time to recover for the morning, which was a shame because the harbour was as flat as a millpond.

In the morning there was an almighty thunderstorm and as I walked the short distance from the hotel to the beach I did reflect upon how truly mad this all was!  However looking at the water, again it was dead calm.  As I still had significant pain in my shoulders I asked Freda if I should swim, she said yes - 4 hours, which I guess was a compromise!  Now that water that had been dead calm was now looking very angry and lumpy - it was very hard work to swim in.  After just over an hour of every stroke hurting, I decided to call it a day.  Failure is not something I take too well, so I felt about as low as you can at that point.

This week also saw the first channel attempts of the season.   Three people I've trained with attempted the crossing this week, 2 successes and one that didn't quite make it.  The onethat didn't quite make it also made me think, he had done absolutely everything asked of him in training and it still wasn't enough on the day.  Up until Dover training I had done pretty much the same preparation as him, but in Dover he has done everything asked and I have had issues and excuses and not achieved the same.  I guess I could look at this and think that if he can't then I've got no chance, alternatively I could remind myself that the challenge is 80% mental and 20% everything else - could all this be really good mental training?