Friday, 17 September 2010

Isle of Wight and a half!

So today I swam to the Isle of Wight. This swim had been pencilled in for a good fews months and I figured it would be more valuable open water swim experience plus it would be good to do a swim where I start at one point and finish at another. I had booked the fantastic Keith Plumridge to pilot my support boat and he had arrange a safety kayaker, Nick. I had asked Keith to make arrangements so that I could do a two way swim if I felt up to it but I wasn't sure if I would manage the 7mile total at this stage given my longest swim to date was the Double 6 weeks ago and my longest open water swim is about 75mins.

We couldn't have been more lucky with the weather, lovely and sunny and the water felt warm especially from the safety of the wetsuit. I will write more details about the swim once I had a bit of a rest as I pretty tired at the moment but I just wanted to write my key lessons learnt from the swim before I forget them.

I hadn't ever fed during a swim before so I didn't give any instructions to my support kayaker which was a mistake as it meant didn't feed at all during the first crossing which took a smidgen over two hours and I could feel my energy draining away towards the end and I knew that would affect the return crossing. I think a feed at the first hour and then every 30mins from then will suit me and it was a very timely reminder as to how important nutrition is.

I now even more firmly believe that the key to the Arch 2 Arc is conditioning the body to undergo the stresses and strains. Core conditioning and strength are going to be SO important and must be the key focus of winter training. I am quite lordotic in my lower spine anyway (my bum sticks out!!) and with the increased buoyancy in my legs from the wetsuit this put quite a large strain on my lower back. I think this would make me quit much sooner than shoulder pain would. I also got some discomfort in my hip flexors which I know are always tight so I need to work to get my leg muscles balanced and have a good stretching programme. My arms felt reasonably ok, my elbow joint was actually more sore than my shoulders but generally they held up well over the 3hrs. It also doesn't help that I only breathe to one side as my lower back was worse on the left side due to me only breathing that way. CORE CONDITIONING is going to be CRUCIAL!!!!

I got a lot of chafing at the back of my neck on the hairline - this has been a common problem in this wetsuit so I need to check I am pulling it up enough at the back and put loads and loads of grease there.

Right, desperate for a cup of tea, will write more on the actual swim later!

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