I had a chat with Freda after training in Dover last Sunday about how much pool training I should be doing at this stage in the preparations, the answer was very little - just to stretch out. It's good advice and I was glad to follow it! I need to ensure that when I arrive in Dover I am fresh and ready for whatever challenge is thrown my way.
As Freda uses the TBC (total body confusion) strategy, you never know quite what is going to happen in training: how many hours; how many feeds etc. After last weekend I suffered from dehydration and appeared not to be tolerating the maxim too well, whilst not too much of a problem in training, it could be disastrous on the day. Whilst some of this could have been due to the virus that I was fighting, it is also a sign that needs to be taken very seriously. So I had a chat with Freda, I am making a conscious effort to make sure I am well hydrated leading up to the big swims, and Freda has said that she will put more water aside for me during the feeds.
Like last week, on Friday I started to notice the signs of a viral infection: sore throat, tiredness, bit of a temperature. It made me consider whether this is real or just demons, strange how it happens just before Dover. So despite how I felt I forced myself down to Dover Saturday morning in an attempt to defy these demons!
The water felt colder, and I found out with hindsight that it was. The extra water at the feeds really helped and I didn't suffer any signs of dehydration either during or after the swim. However I was really slow and it was hard work. I could easily have given up any time after 30 mins, but I didn't, I kept on going.
Sunday, however, I could no longer ignore the viral signs and had to give in and rest. I still don't know if it's real. Let's see how next weekend goes!
This training has a knack of really putting you in your place, just when you feel like you're almost ready, a curved ball is thrown and you're right back into self doubt. I guess it is just evidence that despite the huge physical challenge, the biggest element is the battle against yourself - a mental challenge.
I do know that you can change negatives to positives. The first few times that we had really poor weather really affected my mental state as the feel of sun on your back really helps. However I have now managed to accept this as the norm, which is just as well as the weather has been really bad! As Alison Streeter (Queen of the Channel) says "prepare for the worst and hope for the best". So I now look at it this way - this is great training, and when the weather changes, it will be absolutely awesome. I now have only one motivation for the weather to change for the better, and that is so that the early slots get away on time so that there is more chance that I will be moved to an earlier slot.