The Day after….” The Big Swim”
I open my eyes, it is still Friday August 10th, yip a few hours with my eyes closed and I awake to the same challenges that I drifted off to sleep with…..healing my body and digesting the ” Big Swim”.
I haul myself upright and gaze around the caravan, Jeff is still twisted up in an uncomfortable heap on the other side of the small living room, Cynthia and Deborah are in the two bedrooms and all my swim gear from ” The Big Swim” is strewn around the floor.
My stomach twists and contorts as I sit up, I manage to stand, granted a little wobbly but all things considered I am feeling pretty good, there is no muscle soreness in my shoulders, my abdominal muscles are a bit tender from all the vomiting and my legs are achy from the continuous cramping, but it is all minor compared to how I am feeling mentally, ” I didn’t land it”, I say to myself, referring to the French Coast, a million thoughts scamper around my head, and a million feelings to keep the thoughts company, I bounce from feeling to feeling, I am angry at myself for not trying harder, then I give it a bit of logical thinking, ” Hold on you swam your heart out, Never Give Up, you went to the end, can’t ask more than that”, I bat around many other scenarios in my head, analysing my swim blow by blow, finally I come to the conclusion that even though it was not the result I trained for I still LOVED it out there in the Channel, yip the thrill of leaping into that water with the intention of destination France was one of the most exhilarating things in my life.
I look out the window, it is a stunning day, Day One after my channel swim and it is shaping up to be a pearl-er, Jeff is now awake and heading out the door to pick up Paula, she has spent all of yesterday afternoon and night with my 12 year daughter old Heidi and my 14 year old Soeren, means the world to me knowing that they were tucked up safe and comforted allowing me to be out on a date with ” The Channel” last night.
Jeff is soon back from picking up Heidi and Soeren, my mood is fluctuating from glum, to very glum, to not knowing quite what to do with myself, I have managed to come to the realization that regardless on the destination last night I loved my swim, ” so why am I having such a hard time living with this right now?” I ask myself. At the perfect time Heidi my daughter arrives, ” Hi Mom, you did great”, she says as she gives me a hug, ” You were flying out there, we were watching you”, she adds, ” thanks so much Heidi”, I reply, ” You OK Mom?”, she asks with big deer eyes, ” I’ll be OK Heidi, I’m just a bit sad that I did not make the crossing”, I tell her in a crackly voice, my throat is swollen from the salt water and vomiting, making me sound like a croaky old frog when I speak. ” Mom you know that 99.9% of people couldn’t and wouldn’t even put their big toe in the Channel, you’ve gotta be thrilled with your BIG SWIM it was amazing”, and then she hugs me and is off out the door. I look over towards Cynthia, ” Well there we have it a priceless pep talk to lift my spirits and the kicker it is from my 12 year old daughter”, I smile.
Next up is my son Soeren, from him a hug and this ” You know Mom, it takes the darkest of nights to experience the brightest of days”. What can I say here starts my recovery thanks with family and friends close by.
So that is how the day after my big swim takes shape, after a bit more of a rest it is time to tackle a shower, let me tell you I smell horrible, a mixture of sea water, Channel trash, vomit and my Maxim feed over me and my matted hair, a long shower takes care of the smell and gives me a chance to discover some raw chaff marks from my suit, a circle on my back where my suit sat and at the top of my thighs, finally a raw mark on one shoulder.
Now I am all cleaned up we head off to Dover Harbor, where Cynthia and Paula take a well deserved Channel swim themselves, I watch from the beach……..
I watch the girls swim, the beach is filled with families and couples enjoying the day, the sun is shining bright and the Channel is looking inviting, all the same I stay on the beach, I am looking forward to swimming tomorrow, but today is for resting on the beach, I am deep in thought as the others swim, pondering while I gaze out towards France.
Will I lift myself up and enter Channel Waters tomorrow?
I’ll keep you posted
– Charlotte J Brynn