Training time for the English Channel attempt 2012, I am 8 months in, training began at the start of 2010, I have learnt so much in 8 months, some through reading about other swimmers’ attempts and some from good old Kiwi & American ingenuity, you try it if it works you take it on as your own, if it doesn’t work you toss it aside, this I am finding all takes time, it is not a ” try it for 5 minutes deal ” then ditch it, I may have to wait hours of swimming before I am in the right situation to give it a go. Here is an example:
When you are swimming in the Open Water your goggles fog up, the water is cold, your body is hot, the end result moisture, condensation and you can’t see, I am a sponge for information, how can I trouble shoot this? I read input from other experienced swimmers, the ones who have made the commitment to the English Channel long before me, what do they say…they must know! I read one account, this swimmer swears by washing your goggles out with soap and water before you swim and NEVER rinse your goggles out with lake or sea water. Another account says put drops of saline in your goggles so when you roll to breath the saline clears any fogging in your goggles when you swish from side to side. I am scheduled for an Open Water swim the next day, I am going to try a new approach! In a last minute impulsive decision I decide why not try both at once? I swing by the pharmacy on my way to my scheduled 4 mile Open Water outing, boy lots of saline to choose from which one? I pick one and head out to the lake with my goggles that have been freshly washed out with soap & water, I have a confident smile on my face! When I arrive at the lake I am already in my suit, I stride down to the edge of the water confident and excited at the prospect of a clear view throughout my swim, this will be the best I tell myself, I put the drops in my goggles careful not to spill the saline, I even throw in a few extra drops for good measure!
It is a stunning spring day, June 4th, the air temperature is 68 degrees, the water temperature is 67-69 degrees, warmer at the lake edge, colder in the main lake, I set off thrilled with myself with the anticipation of the success of this new discovery, I power out the strokes to get warmed up, I find that swimming strong and fast for the first few 100 meters helps the blood rush to my midsection, a flood of warmth to my body, the first few strokes are chilling, I always visualize I am diving into a warm blanket in the water, tricking my mind into thinking it is warm, surrounding me as I submerge. I am off and running after half a mile I notice an annoying irritation in my left eye, what is going on? I question myself over and over, this is annoying. Don’t stop I command, keep swimming. I talk myself into the logic that this is an experimental swim, the goal a non fog attempt, it is OK to stop! I let myself stop for 15 seconds…. I dump out the saline, note to myself, saline in my goggles does not work for me! I swim on thrilled that I am one step closer to figuring this Channel crossing attempt out, baby steps!!!
That left eye still doesn’t feel great throughout the swim but I with deal it and swim my scheduled 4 miles, it is a solo swim with no feeding or support, it gets windy on the return trip home, I have to earn it today fighting through the waves.
Success I return to the beach I started from, I stagger out of the water, my legs are a little wobbly but I am in good shape and good spirits. Next thing I know I am in the car, the heated seat is cranking and I am on my way home.
I reach home, breeze in through the door say hi to my family in passing as I head straight to the bathroom for a hot shower, yes!
Post shower I am putting on cozy sweatpants and fleece and catch a glance in the mirror, my left eye is huge! In fact to me it looks the size of a golf ball, with a bag under my eye that is even bigger. That whole swim my face was swelling right up in protest to my experimentation…. all in the name of fog free goggles!
Where am I at now? That patience thing again, I do not use Saline drops, as I mentioned it may work for some swimmers but not for me, I do wash my goggles out with soap and water, it helps. I have found that what ever I try my goggles fog right up for the first 30 minutes, I just leave them alone and wait patiently now knowing that after 30 minutes they clear right up, the trick is not getting flustered about it, I know what is happening and just wait, lesson learned!
Today’s training was 4000m in the pool and 3.1 miles open water, windy, wavy and cold air temperature when we got out the air was 59 degrees and the water temperature was 67-69 degrees. I had a buddy to swim with today, Cara swam with me, she was fast in a wetsuit, like a porpoise expertly navigating each wave and swell like a pro, I watched her when I breathed to the side, it looked amazing how she attacked and danced in the water, I thought how strong and fast she looked and I wondered if I looked like that, it was fun!