So, life took over, as it is wont to do. I recovered well, started work less than 2 weeks later, which felt rude- although I was careful to break myself in gently- 1 or 2 massages then half days. Byron was extremely well trained and so helpful with his ministrations that I had full range of motion within 3 days of the swim. I have such heartfelt gratitude for Byron, Julie, April and Dylan for our time in Dover, and only they can have an inkling of how ineffectually I could ever show just how grateful I am- they were stellar.
Getting back in the pool was a disastrous shock- I had zero motivation. I had fallen completely out of love with lengths and lanes. Blah. I took to zumba to pass the time and just enjoy movement. Dance is a great subsutitute for swimming. It took getting in the sea again to kick start my yearning for water time- I cleared the day before my birthday for someone to have Dyl so I could head to Lyme and get in the water….Unfortunately, this also coincided with the day we had 25mph winds and Lyme was 5-6feet with rain coming in sideways. Still, I went for it and although it wasn’t a long swim, or far, the water was alive!
So I started to look at the Kaiwi channel. October trip to Hawaii, the Molokai channel is right there, it seemed churlish not to at least see if it was possible.
Nearly 90 days have passed since my last post, 3 months since my swim and I’m sat in Kona, Hawaii again. It’s been 6 years since my last visit and 12 years since I lived here. After only a week, I can feel the time slough off my spirit. Tomorrow I have my first morning in the water- I’ve arranged childcare for Dyl and have a good couple of hours in Kealakekua Bay tomorrow. I’m heading towards Captain Cook monument, which is surrounded by a marine reserve. The water is anything up to 100ft visibility and teeming sith fish. I’ll not lack for entertainment, and that is without the pod of spinner dolphins that frequent the bay.
I met a swim coach who asked how on earth you train for a marathon swim- and really (hi Lisa)the honest answer is- beyond getting nutrition right, love the water. Sounds trite, but to be that long in the element, you have to not just like swimming, but feel at home in water. I turn to water for all reasons- I love the freedom of movement you have- weightlessness; I love the awareness you need to feel the tide/current/wave pattern and move through it; I love the sense of self you get as your body propels itself through the water; I love the mental/emotional space you create when you relax and give yourself over to the meditative (others say boring) nature of the rhythym of swimming.
And that is key for me- relaxation. Relax the breath to get a loose 5 stroke (even 7)pattern, fit your strokes around your breath, not the other way around, relax your stroke and quit trying so hard, think effortless. Think efficiency, fluidity.
It takes me about an hour to stop thinking, stop splashing about and let go. Then it’s just a gentle cycle of stroke awareness, emotional awareness and enjoying the silence inbetween. Your mind brings things up- and this WILL affect your stroke- so I switch to loosening my arms, focus on flow and softening the joints, lenghtening through my hip flexors to keep my legs long and when that all clicks, then I find the mind settles again. The mental stuff passes, but is a huge factor in how your swim goes. Have something to come back to, some trick in your pocket that keeps you positive. And remember, you enjoy this thing you’re doing.