It has been some time since I last wrote a new post so with just three days till Kerry and I fly out to Spain to attempt to swim between Spain & Morocco (across the Strait of Gibraltar) this is what I have been up to.
After many years of training for the English Channel with back pain I thought it was time I got it looked at. After multiple blood tests, x-rays and MRI scans my back consultant concluded that I have a Grade 1 slip between my L5 and S1 joints as well as Facet Joint Syndrome. So over the last few months I have been trying to get that sorted, whilst I wait to have an injection in my spine to try to relieve some of the pain I have also been seeing a guy who gives a treatment called Gunns IMS. It has been helping to get my movement and flexibility back and although the pain is still there on a day to day basis progress is being made.
My boyfriend also proposed between Christmas and New Year so we have been busy planning our wedding for July which has been lots of fun and whist other personal things haven’t been going as planned this has been a really exciting part of my life – I wondered whether planning a wedding in 6 months or swimming the Channel would be more of a challenge and so far the Channel is still harder.
I always thought after I swam the English Channel that within a few months I would just forget about it but it is amazing what an important part of my life it has been. Recently I had to attend a challenging meeting and to give me some strength I cut off a piece of my swim hat that I wore whilst I swam the Channel (it recently broke in a training session) and during the meeting I held it in my hand to remind me that I am stronger than I sometimes think I am. And although I thought it was a silly idea at the time it really worked.
By swimming the Channel I had wanted to try to inspire as many people as I could that you really can achieve anything that you want with some courage, determination and commitment. I have been in a wonderful position to be able to do this through a host of talks at events such as Tales of Adventure and guest blogs/interviews. I hope that through these mediums I have been able to inspire just a few people to reach out of their comfort zone and hope to continue doing so.
What else has happened…
In March Kerry & I joined many of our Channel swimming friends from around the world at the annual Channel Swimming & Pilot Federation’s Channel swimming awards. It was great to catch up with so many friends and meet new ones, such an inspiring group of individuals. To my complete surprise I won a Special Recognition award for the most successful swim against all odds. As you can tell by my smile I was so chuffed to have won it. We had a wonderful night and reminisced about our swims and training and our new challenges ahead!
Talking of Challenges ahead it is just 3 days till Kerry and I fly out to Spain for our swim across to Morocco. Last week on our way to our training session with Spencer masters we both agreed that we weren’t as prepared as we had been for our Channel swim and thought we better get some plans in place. We saw a video of a guy who had just completed the earliest crossing of the Strait and it looked pretty choppy.
We have been in contact with the pilot and we have to call on Friday before we fly as there is currently a chance that we will get to swim on Saturday… nothing like getting it over and done with! Like the English Channel the swim is weather dependant so we hope that we get the opportunity to attempt it as we are only there until the Saturday 16th.
I haven’t done enough swimming training and I haven’t swam in 16/17 degree water since August when I did my Channel swim but as Kerry reminded me – last year when we went over to Mallorca for our training camp we were able to swim 6 hours in 15 degrees without any acclimatisation training or long swims so I will keep that in mind. This swim is also much shorter than the Channel and I get to swim next to my training buddy.
Really looking forward to hopefully ticking off another big ocean swim and a relaxing holiday all in one.
Next time you hear from me we may well be Strait of Gibraltar swimmers as well as Channel swimmers… hold that thought!