The final push; and yet again, I am lagging so far behind on my blog! I’ve tried a couple of outdoor training spots- namely west huntspill river (gave up on that one as after 2 sessions, I felt decidedly icky all over…not the cleanest) and Wimbleball (perfect for when the sea is too rough if you don’t mind getting chased out the water if you get caught, not that I’ve been caught yet….) and nothing beats the sea…and my favourite spot by far is Lyme Regis. By far and away my favourite training ground. I find it hard to revert back to pool water now, or to contemplate going anywhere else.

I seem to have developed a chlorine sensitivity that means after about 30mins swim, I feel my sinuses thicken and the next 2 days are spent sneezing and feeling slightly hay feverish. Not great. But then, stick me in ther sea, and a good old fashioned saline nasal douche sorts me right out!

I’ve paid all my fees, sorted accommodation and had the best news in that my amazing friend Julie is flying over from Quebec to be with me. She and I were ordained together in the monastery in Thailand and have been through intensive meditation training together. It is an indescribable boon to have her coming over….not only is she the most generous, kind hearted and loving individual I have ever had the chance to encounter (and I’ve come across some truly awesome people in my time) but the training we went through together is exactly what I will be using to get my through the toughest times in the water, so having her on the boat will act as a trigger whenever I start to wobble.

She knows what I’m capable of in terms of endurance- as part of our training, at the end of a meditation retreat, we would spend 72hours without sleep, meditating 24 hrs a day, having 2 meals brought to our spartan rooms, to be eaten alone and without rest, no bathing. Walking, then sitting in hour rotations for 3 days, in total concentration, single mindedly focusing on limited movements. So I am thrilled. She and Byron are a team made in heaven for me. They believe in me, I have total faith in them and they make everything I dream of feel possible. Two greater friends it is impossible to find.

It seems that time has sped up hugely- I knew itr would, everyone said it would and yet it is incredible how emotionally charged the passing of it is. I am already getting anticipatory flutters, and am practising breathing through them and levelling off so as not to invest in the adrenellin or get exhausted. trying to keep a level head, whilst still looking forward to being there, doing it. I’ve had glimpses during a 1 1/2 hr sea swim last week when the weather had been great for about a week of how nice the sea can feel….. I’ve also spent last tuesday in the wind and rain up at Wimbleball getting chilled and sluggish. I won’t be choosing to swim un the rain, I can tell you! If I get caught in it halfway across, then so be it, but good grief, it makes an inordinate difference having ambient heat to draw on!

I wish I was better at sponsor raising – I’ve had such vocal response and encouragement from people telling me that I should have got more media involvement and raised the profile of my swim, but I …but life… welllll there’s probably no excuses. It felt wierd and I have never been very good at asking for money or help. I am going to follow up on offers in the final 6 weeks, but am aware that I am stumping up the lot myself. It is something to think about in terms of what it is in me that holds me back from achieveing goals…or at least making things harder for myself than I have to.