Friday 23rd – I did not train. I flew to Munich and then took two trains into Austria to meet Mario to do my 6 hour swim test in 60 degreeF/15 degreeC water in the biggest, coldest lake in Austria.
When Mario picked me up at the train station, he told me that it was scheduled to rain and be cold (35-40 degree F) … and we both laughed at the “opportunity” to get real English channel training.
I didn’t do much on Friday afternoon – and went to sleep by 9pm.
On Saturday, Mario picked me up at my hotel at 6:30 and we got to the lake around 6:45. I ate 3 pieces of bread, two banana’s and 3 strong coffee for breakfast.
It was pouring down rain, windy and cold when we arrived to the lake.
Mario put Vaseline and lanolin (I think) on chest, back, legs and arms. This was the first time I ever used grease on a swim. Apparently, the grease will keep me warm, or at least give me a mental crutch.
As I entered the freezing water …. It was pouring down rain and windy. The freezing water seemed to be preferable to standing in the cold wind and rain.
I noticed immediately that the grease made me less cold. (I will put more on before the channel swim)
Recently, I have been working weights and cross trainer – as well as swimming lots of hours so I noticed my shoulders were stiff and sore during the first 15 minutes or so …. This soreness seemed to go away
Mario had wanted to follow me in a boat and have me feed every 15 minutes, but the lake was closed because of the weather, so he followed me in his car and made me stop every 30 minutes to eat – swimming to the shore, he would hand me a drink, I would drink fast and then keep swimming. Although I never got out of the water, I would stop in the water to drink – this is something I cannot do when I swim the channel….because when I stopped, I got very cold and the cold didn’t go away.
Also, my goggles fogged up the entire swim…every 15 minutes or so, I would stop my stroke to clear my goggles.
It seemed that I had to “pee” constantly, which also was a problem because I can’t swim and pee very well – I need to learn because stopping for 30 seconds is a killer because of the cold.
Normally, I train in the Mediterranean sea and do about 50 strokes per minute. I noticed yesterday, I was doing 60-70-80 strokes per minute, just to try and stay warm.
It poured down rain the entire swim, thus I had no visibility in the water (good experience)
When I swim in the sea near my home, I space out and think about lots of things. Yesterday, I was so cold … I noticed at the end of the swim that I didn’t think about anything.
With 90 minutes to go, a friend of Mario’s got in the water to swim with me (he wore a wet suit) As he entered the water, he told me that he lives near the lake and as soon as we finished I would go to his house, take a bath and eat lunch with his family ….
My lower back really hurt me – I don’t remember my shoulders hurting, but my lower back pain was nearly unbearable. I regret I didn’t bring any ibuprofen on the swim.
When the 6 hours was over – I shivered for 30 minutes nonstop until I got into the hot bath at Franz’s house.
I flew back to Nice later in the afternoon and was in my bed by 11pm
I figure that this swim is not even 50% of what I will do the day I swim the channel …. In nearly, the exact same temperature and conditions.
Things I need to work on if I am going to have a chance to finish
- anti-fog for my goggles
- do not stop when I feed – learn to drink/feed in 2-3 seconds
- figure out why my back hurt so much yesterday – maybe it’s the leg raises, or the fact my body was too low in the water
- ibuprofen – learn to take it during the swim
- learn to pee and swim at same time – as silly as it seems, I had to piss constantly, which is big problem because I would have to stop to do so
- perfect taper
I have 5 more weeks of hard training – and then I need the perfect taper so when I start the swim my shoulders and body are fresh.
After yesterday, I think the secret is going to be feeding as quickly as possible so I do not stop and get colder.
I sent sophie a text after my swim which said something like “the theme” of this adventure: “on sait pas…”