Claire Russell – Channel Swim (part 3)
En Route to France…
I was so delighted to be in Dover for the first week of training in the record breaking bank holiday sunshine, but week 2 was an entirely different matter. Where had the sunshine gone? One week later the water temperature had risen to 11.2 degrees and you’d expect it to feel warmer. In fact, without the sun on your back it feels so much colder.
Still mastering the art of double dipping. On Sunday our first swim was 1 hour, during which the air temperature dropped from 14 down to 10 degrees and the wind picked up… still no sunshine. Our challenge is to get out and dressed within 5 minutes before the shivers take hold of your body. Bras are unnecessary ‘faffage’ in the race to don 16 layers and become one of the many Michelin men on Dover Beach all doing a peculiar style of Irish jig to warm up.
An hour later we are all dreading having to dis-robe and do it all again. Emma recognises our reluctance and delays re-entry for a further 15 minutes. Then offers us a game.
All we had to do was get in for 10 minutes. As a sort of race to the last marker, to the red buoy, the green buoy and home. We could then choose whether to get out or swim on.
We all thought… ONLY 10 minutes- we can do ONLY 10 minutes.
Getting undressed whilst still doing an internal version of the Irish jig and wading back into the water is the most unnatural thing in the world, but within minutes I was acclimatised to the water again, swimming freely with a buddy on either side. We raced round the course and back to the beach. We chose to go around again, and then again. 45 mins all together. What a clever trick! Only 10 minutes, but glad I did it. Character building for what is to come. I wonder if the same mind game will work for the big day…. Dover to Calais….
Its only 1 width!