Today marks me being exactly 37 and a half but more importantly it marks 6 months until my Channel swim slot opens. The journey started on the 9th July 2013 before I had even done my first relay swim when I had a moment of madness and emailed my pilot Eddie to enquire about a solo Channel spot – the only space he had available was slot 3 during the week 5th – 11th September 2015. It seemed such a long time away at the time and since then I have done a 6 person one way relay and a 4 person 2 way relay across the Channel but now it is getting increasingly more real that I will be doing it alone.
It gets more and more real in my head everyday as I seem to think about it at least about ten times a day – I have imagined myself landing in France, jumping in the water swimming to the beach getting ready to go, swimming at night & getting acquainted with a jelly fish or two. I also think about my back and how it is hindering my training but perhaps is in fact helping me to take it easy and therefore not burn out before September. I have had people tell me that I am not training enough and other people telling me I am doing fine and just to worry about getting my back sorted and then putting in the hours from May onwards when the open water season opens. Everyone has an opinion about what is and isn’t right but the main thing is that I am happy in my head with what I am doing. I haven’t once imagined myself failing and that to me is half the battle – so many challenges are won and lost in your head and the Channel is no different.
So in light of that some interesting facts that will be true when I successfully land in France (as long as no one gets there before me). Thanks to Kerry (who is in slot 2 with the same pilot as me in the same week) for trawling the Channel swimmers data and coming up with these fun facts.
• I will be one of less than 500 women to have swam the Channel
• I will be the first female ‘Williams’ to have swam the Channel (there have been 3 men)
• I will be the 5th Lisa to have swam the Channel
The winter challenge is still going strong and as I slowly try to catch up with everyone it is has been a great way of keeping the swimming interesting – for those that don’t know, a friend Manda came up with a great idea for us to swim in as many of London’s pools as possible over the winter. Having had 4 months out I am some way back but enjoying swimming in new pools. You can find out more about it here – Winter Challenge
So as the weather starts to warm up and the open water season looms what I have I got in store. Over Easter weekend I will be heading to Eton for a 2 day swim training weekend. We will be swimming 3-4 hours each day but also importantly for me the schedule includes sessions on Channel swimming such as ‘Feeding & Hydration’, ‘Hypothermia & Fatigue’, ‘Mental Preparation’, ‘Support Crew’ etc. Then just a week later I will be heading over to Mallorca for a week for much of the same – so lots of training and info gathering coming up, watch out for those blogs in March & April.
I have also got two of my crew sorted. These are the team who will be supporting me from the boat through my whole swim and whose responsibility it will be to ensure I am fed according to what we had agreed and knowing when to change it as well as generally keeping an eye on me and making sure that I am okay and have what I need when I need it. It is such a huge responsibility and I am so grateful for them for offering to be part of my journey and taking the time to do so, it is really important to get the right people and I am 100% certain that they are. You will over time find out more about them, however, in the meantime they are Brian and Abby.
Brian I have known for many years and travelled across the UK to swim in different swims with, he has also himself done two relay’s across the Channel so understands some of the challenges the swim faces. Brian is also joining me in Mallorca so will be fully gemmed up on Channel info by the end of the week. Abby sponsored me for my one way relay back in 2013 by looking after me and my spine through lots of chiropractic appointments, she is also a musician so I am sure she will be able to sing along to me and keep me and everyone on the boat jolly and tuneful and then help sort out my back once I am back in the boat at the end! They are both joining me in my challenge across Windermere in July so we can practice things such as my feeds and work out what works and doesn’t.
Exciting times ahead over the next 6 months.