8 days

Tuesday 9th July

My usual Tuesday is spent sampling rivers and/or lakes for the EPA, today was no exception. It was sunny and hot so the air-conditioning in the car was working hard on and off during the day. The samples then get taken up to the EPA lab in Kilkenny so I have a guaranteed 5pm finish.

Tuesday is also swimming night from 9-10pm with the session set by either Mikey or Jamie. I love this session as there is nearly always someone else in the lane trying to get through the session and the sets are varied but you feel they push you if you want them to. This week’s session included 2 x (12 x 25m at max effort), with only myself and Tadgh in the lane we raced each other – there is nothing like racing someone in the lane to make you put the effort in, we were both in need of the 200m easy after each set of sprints.

At home I finally decided to look at what I will need for the trip and put my list on a spreadsheet which I shared with Ash and Jen. Whilst we don’t want to double up unnecessarily, we also don’t want to forget anything vital or have to run around Dover trying to get the vital stuff on Monday or Tuesday. Having been warned not to take too much on the boat (they are not ocean going liners) it was a surprisingly long list and that was without the food and water. We also have to think about feeding Tracy (crew) and possibly the observer. Beginning to think I should have been planning this a bit longer, but then both Ash and I love our food so we will probably be okay. I will have to remember that we will be out and back within a day (possibly a very long one, but still only a day).

9 days to go!

Monday 8th July

Oh hell, this day week I will be in the UK and at some point will hit our accomodation. How prepared for the trip am I – not at all. On the plus side the car is clean and has passed the NCT, my new driving licence arrived (the old one was due to expire whilst I’m away) and I have gels (emergency use only) and goggles have arrived and have had a short test.

My attempts to try and catch-up at work was hindered a bit by a trip to sort out an ammonia monitor and some odd results which required repeating. The hiccups also meant I worked a bit too late to go to Matt’s Strength & Conditioning class, probably a mixed blessing.

Not sure whether I’m worried, panicked, excited, impatient or what I’m feeling now.

10 days & counting

Sunday 7th July

The plan was to meet at the Guillamene at 9am for a 4km swim. My stomach decided to have a couple of churns which held me up a bit so it was 9:15 by the time I arrived. The fabulous sun we had had all week had deserted us to be replaced by grey, overcast skies and mist. On the plus side the mist, at least, had lifted between Waterford and Tramore, leaving a dull, but dry, morning that was warm by Irish summer standards.

I actually managed to get in quickly with virtually no whimpering; the water has finally got a bit warmer, the downside of this is that the jellyfish have arrived. Apart from the soup of moon jellyfish at the end of the ‘Beat the Ferryman’ swim, we’ve not experienced swimming with jellies this year. To give ourselves time to get used to the ‘experience’ we decided to swim out to the flag and back, at least if one of us did get stung or panic we would not be too far from a safe exit. I did bounce a few of the moon jellyfish without being stung but was a bit worried about the beautiful purple-blue jellies with the yellow fringe. At the time I didn’t know what the blue ones were and not wanting a nasty sting so close to departure, Ash and I decided to head to the Watershed for our 4km swim. I think we both half felt that we should have stayed to swim at the Guillamene with the jellies, but neither of us wanted to put starting the Channel swim in jeopardy.

Back at the Watershed, the pool was quiet and there were a few lanes roped off so we both got on with the task; I think Ash did 10 x 400m and I decided to do 2 x 400m, 2 x 500m, 2 x 600m and 2 x 500m and tried to do the second of each pair faster than the first and take only about 10-15 sec rest between the sets. The result was the 4km was finished in about 1hour 20min with the last (4th) 500m being faster than the first so I was quite pleased with that. We were both happy with out efforts and headed off feeling a little more confident heading into our last week before the Dover trip.

The 4km was swam with very little food inside me, a couple of spoonfuls of porridge and a coffee and muffin between the Guillamene and the Watershed. I do like to do this every so often, to prove to myself that I can swim with very little fuel because there is a strong chance that I could be seasick and will not be able to eat much.

I have noticed that I find it very difficult to switch-off in the pool as I’m either counting lengths, watching time or avoiding other swimmers; in the sea I check my hand entry, check recovery and underwater stroke, head position, think about breathing and finally my mind goes blank and I just go with the water, this seldom happens in the pool and I’m hoping being able to do this will be very useful when swimming the channel.

11 days and counting

I had great plans today to tidy and clean the pig sty that is my house, then my sister-in-law suggested meeting in Kilkenny for lunch. As my figure will attest, I don’t need to be asked twice to eat and I did need to get a few things in town so I thought I could go for a relatively early lunch get back and do some housework. Needless to say, we got talking over a lovely meal at the Kilkenny Design Centre (always good) and then I dawdled around the shops, shopping is not something I particularly enjoy and the account is not particularly healthy at the moment, before heading out to see M&D. We enjoyed watching the Evans vs Sousa mens singles match at Wimbledon – some brilliant tennis but I did leave at one set all, as it looked like it was going to be a long one. Popped into see my brother and family, and how my nephew did with his busking (he was happy) – he plays electric guitar very well and that is more than a proud aunt talking, he really is good.

The Sousa/Evans match was still on when I got home and I watched that until the end, unfortunately Evans lost but they were both playing some amazing tennis. On a positive note I emptied and then filled the dishwasher and did the washing up before trying a new scone flavour idea – raspberry and white chocolate. I use the basic Avoca recipe and added the raspberries and chocolate before adding the liquid ingredients. The mix was a bit too wet, probably due to the fresh raspberries, so didn’t rise too well. The flavour is not great either – I’m wondering if dried raspberries would make a less wet mix and provide a more intense flavour. I’ll take a few tomorrow morning for Ash to try after our swim.

Having been not so much feeling a bit stressed this week as being stressed, my eyelid twitches when I get stressed, I felt really relaxed driving home so a day out may have been a good idea and there is always tomorrow for the housework and gardening.

I’m sure anyone reading this will be thinking, ‘that is so boring’, but I hope it highlights the fact that most adults taking part in the various events no matter how long, hard and intense also have work, housework, gardening, shopping, cooking, family and extended family to fit around their training and the days not training are also important – recovery is all part of the training regime and is neglected at your peril.

It Passed

The three hours spent cleaning out the car was not in vain, the car passed the NCT – the inspector said it was a very nice car. Only need to get insurance now and the car is set for another year, well until the next service at least.

Made use of the 6:30-7:30 Masters slot in the pool, I pay in advance and half the time I can’t make it, the other half I manage 30-45 minutes. I decided to try a sort of HIIT session to try and get the most from the short time available, rather than poodle up and down. I did a very slow 5 x 100m warm up to get the neck and shoulders moving, long and slow as I found a very hard knot at the joint between the neck and shoulder – don’t want to aggravate that. The set read 6 x 50m all out for 25m then 25m easy, 4 x 75m all out for 50m easy for 25m, 2 x 100m all out 50m easy 50m and finally a 200m easy swim down. I also tried to do tumbles during when sprinting into the wall – I really struggle normally but oddly find it a bit easy to tumble when approaching the wall quickly.

On your own, it is not so easy to push yourself but I was puffing hard after the sprints, even with the recovery swims so hopefully I worked hard enough to gain the benefit. The A-squad is in the lanes next to where I was swimming, it is always a bit depressing when you are all out and the are passing you on a drill set; I try and console myself with the fact that I am older than some of their parents.

The rest of the evening was spent with Mum and Dad doing a bit of catch-up with Today at Wimbledon; the 15 year old Coco Gauff is through to the 4th round and has played some cracking tennis, there were some other great games with some great rallies over the net – love that type of tennis. Then over to see the brother and his family for a chat and catch-up.

I really need to clean and tidy the house tomorrow and may go for a run to give the shoulders a rest but still work on fitness.

Another sunshiny day

The weather was absolutely glorious today, 22oC and sunshine all the way. It was so tempting go for a swim after work but unfortunately the car is having its first NCT (MOT equivalent) tomorrow at lunchtime. My car is usually full of stuff for swimming and/or a run, stuff for work and stuff in case I have a breakdown. I needed to get home and empty the car and clean the insides, if only to clear the sand and the remains from the oil that got spilt in the boot and the stuff I used to soak it up. It is official my car is now 100% cleaner and tidier than my house; may be I should move in.

Clean car

That little job took about 3 hours so there was no time for a swim, but at least I wasn’t sat on the sofa stuffing my face. It was a great distraction from the upcoming event, 13 days to go.