Saturday, August 29, 2009

How Time Flies

Yikes, time flies when you are in final prep for the English Channel. The first day of my swim window is just two weeks from yesterday. Wahoo! It's almost here. Since I got back from Europe I have been getting back up to full strength and putting in some good hours, and it has gone well.

My arm (actually, my right triceps injury) is pain free, although maybe a little "tender" after a few hours of swimming - but at that point everything is "tender" so it's hard to tell. Anyway, it is not affecting my swimming at all. I went to the doc and am getting some physical therapy, just to make sure everything is healed as much as possible before my swim.

I did my long swim last Tuesday in Lake Geneva, and ended up going 8 1/2 hours. I had a couple of rough hours in the middle, but for the last two or so I felt good and finished strong, so it was pretty encouraging. If my rough estimate based on a look at Google Maps is anywhere near accurate I only covered about 13 miles, which is not great, but even that is on pace for a 13-14 hour Channel swim, which is pretty much what I have said all along, so all is good. Dave Tanaglia accompanied me in his kayak pretty much the whole 8 1/2 hours, and Roger (last name?) and Gary (last name?) swam with me some of the time. Dave's help was invaluable, so thanks Dave! And thanks to Roger and Linda for their very kind hospitality as a base for the day.

More soon, with pictures of Dover and Europe, I promise!

Monday, August 17, 2009

And now back home

I'm back home now until September 7, when I leave for Dover for my swim (finally!). Nothing much fascinating to report. I'm just doing some final training. I will do a long swim this week (six hours?), and then, if I can find proper accompaniment, I hope to do an eight hour swim in Lake Geneva next week. Then it will be shorter stuff (nothing over three hours) until I leave for Dover. I wish I was swimming tomorrow. I am mentally and physically ready. Now I just have to keep the edge for three more weeks.

The fund raising has been a bit slow lately - received $16,212 to date. I'm hoping there is a nice bump as we get into the final weeks here, but clearly we won't get to $50,000 before I swim. But we'll keep working on it until we raise the full $50,000. The kids of Waku Kungo need it! The Angolans would like to get building, but will understand. They are very used to waiting, as nothing construction related seems to happen very fast in Angola. We will send them what we have so far, and I will still go there in October, and have a ceremonial ground breaking.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Back in Dover

Arrived back in Dover yesterday for some more training, following a few days in Paris. Paris was great, of course. It remains a mystery why the recipe and technique of great pastries can't make it across the Atlantic. Wow, that stuff is good. The tourist sights were very crowded but fun to see, and we had fun playing games and working on a puzzle (which we failed to finish sadly - too much to do in Paris!).

I swam six hours yesterday, which I was happy with after swimming only once for the past three weeks. The first two hours were very tough, perhaps just because it was early (I started a little after six), and I don't normally swim that early. But then things fell into place and it was good. My right tricep (or is it still triceps even when singular?) is still a bit tender, but not painful. I have stopped even thinking about the water temperature. Dover Harbor is 64 or so now, and other than the slightly unpleasant moment of first getting in, it is no problem. As long as I can keep working during my Channel swim, the water temp won't be a problem.

I almost got to go out on the boat for another swimmer's Channel swim last night. I reported to the boat at midnight as arranged, and then the guy didn't show. He had a mix up with the pilot about the departure time. Now he missed his shot, at least for a few days. Note to self: show up when the pilot says!

After my first visit and this visit to Dover, I feel like I have a pretty good picture in my mind of what to expect - as much as one can at least, as the Channel always surprises. My swim window begins one month from tomorrow. I'll do two or three more long swims at home - hopefully getting up to eight hours for one of them (but where and how to do that is an issue), with shorter swims in between. Then back off for about a week, and I'll be good to go. Can one be hesitantly confident? I guess that's how I feel.

Home on Wednesday. Cheers.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bonjour from Luxembourg

Hmmm...keeping this up to date: Norway was amazing. I'd love to go back there for an "adventure" trip sometime - hiking, rafting, kayaking - something. It's by far the most beautiful country I've ever seen. Since Norway we have driven through Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium, and spent a couple of nights each in Germany and France. It's been great fun. Then we got lucky yesterday: we picked a lovely looking hotel in France, drove a coule of hours to get there, but it looked pretty sketchy. Then we did the same thing again, one hour away. Then we did the same thing again, another hour away. Then we drove another hour to Luxembourg, and found an amazingly gorgeous city, with a nice hotel thrown in. So we are in Luxembourg for a couple of days, before two nights in rural France, and then on to Paris for five nights.

I've not been able to do any swimming (which was good for the first week, letting my arm recover fully), but have been running regularly. It's probably not ideal, but when this is done I'll have a full month of uninterupted training before my swim and I'm sure I can get back to full strength quickly before tapering for ten days or so (I know from past experience that I do best on a short taper).

That's all the time I have for now. Au revoir!