So I’m sitting on a long haul flight, getting ready for two weeks hectic work in London. It’s a strange experience. Qantas are wonderful as always, though this time it’s different. Completely alcohol and sleeping pill free. It’s a (new) and better me, and it’s given me some time to think, and to write. To be honest it’s an experiment linked to my new found faith in transcendental meditation as a positive influence over all aspects of life - including in this case jet lag! We’re yet to see whether it works, but I’ll report back next time!
I’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years, mostly wonderful, some stressful, all of my own doing, and on balance all positive! Since the channel non-event I’ve had my third child (girl number three), grown our business www.thesearchparty.com to the extent that I’m on a plane to London again, and importantly learnt a huge amount about myself.
The post I wrote after the channel episode talked about how I’d not managed to get my head together after the disappointment of not being able to swim. To have trained so hard, for so long, been through struggles with injury, who knows how much sacrifice on the part of my family…..only to not get a chance to prove myself (or fail honourably) was the greatest disappointment of my life. It took longer than I thought at the time to come to terms with it. As you know, I postponed the swim from 2013 to 2014, and am booked in for 1st week of July this year. For most of the last 12 months I’ve been pretty sure I wasn’t going to swim. Work’s been mental, and I’ve really enjoyed not getting up regularly at 5am - I’ve had breakfast at home with my family which has been wonderful and I feel much closer to them as a consequence.
I was loosely in training early 2013, and went to Melbourne for the wonderful cold water camp with Vlad. This was good and proved that despite little training and some pretty nasty injuries (big gashes courtesy of the balmoral reef) I could still cope with cold and with endurance (did 8 hours in cold water for aussie standard ~14/15 degrees C). On the back of that I trained with friends for another goal of mine - swimming from Palm Beach to Manly - an spic swim. Unfortunately I kept getting sick so had to stop training whilst I worked out that I was allergic to our house and this was killing my immune system. So I had almost three months out of the pool mid-2013. Since we moved in October I have not had so much as a cold!
In a bizarre twist of events, having booked flights, accommodation, pilot, handlers, and pretty much everything a year ago, I decided in late November 2013 together with Sascha (lovely wife) and other key people in my life that I would not swim. It seemed having not trained for so long, and having so much on in other areas of my life that it would be a stretch too far. The Channel wasn’t going anywhere after all. A good friend Marty crossed successfully last year in fine style aged 50 in horrible conditions for the most “meritorious” swim of 2013 in CSA land. Together with other oldies (sorry Cyril, Irene) I swim and have swum with over the last few years (Collie), I have no doubt that there’s plenty of time to deal with it. Having decided this, we started booking holidays and other normal things, and started telling people I wouldn’t swim. Everyone was unanimous, it was obviously the right thing to do on so many levels.
Strangely, having had the pressure lifted, I started swimming again for fun over Xmas. I think I actually started swimming when I last returned from London and looked in the mirror. Funnily I was above the weight I had complained about after the channel slot (see previous blog ~ 94kilos). For the first time in more than a year I swam more than five days in a week for four consecutive weeks. I had some great swims in the ocean with the Frosty Nuts and Cae, having not been in the ocean for more than 3 months. Wow - what a wonderful feeling - it really seems to balance me out. After a month of training, here we are in January 2014 and I’ve decided together with the key people in my life that I will swim this year after all! So, it’s on. I am on a mission. It will require discipline, hard work. I will be travelling a lot, so this makes training harder than usual as normally there’s Vlad and the squad to push and inspire me to work hard.
I had a great chat with Jamie (a great friend and very insightful individual) about this decision. I was saying I’d train, then decide whether to swim or pull the plug 8 weeks out. He laughed and said something along the lines of “if you’re going to do something this big, you need to just do it. Succeed or fail it’s no different really. You’re a success for having a crack so do your best and get on with it!” (Please excuse the poor memory if you read this buddy!).
So, anyway, it’s on. It’s on this year. It’s on in the first week of July. It will be cold, very cold. I will do my best. I believe I can succeed.
Thanks in advance to all of you whose support I will depend on, it’s much appreciated!