Monday has arrived and today I have a plan in mind, to take on my nemisus ” Sandycove Island”, memories from the wounds from my first swim still fresh in my mind, the island took me out and today I want to move a little closer to conqouring the goal of 4 laps, thanks to Ned’s guidance, my sister Robbin and a small inflatable dingy, I am going to feed after each lap, a double dose ” Maxim” sports nutrition, an electrolyte energy drink, my tub is of the lemon lime flavor. I wake after 4 hours of sleep at 5am, new this morning is a diet change for breakfast, Ned asked me yesterday what I ate for breakfast, I told him about my, hot tea and banana on toast….he told me of his porridge and maple syrup, a warming fuel.
Robbin is up before me this morning making my porridge, it is steaming hot, I pour it down the hatch, it feels like you can see the steam hissing out from my ears and nostrils, ” this will keep me toasty”, I think to myself, I slide down 2 poached eggs on toast for good measure. The other change today is my feeds, Robbin has been instructed to give me a double strength serving of maxim, 3 scoops of maxim premixed in 150 mls of water, out in the dingy she is to add another 150 mls of hot water from a thermos to serve to me ” with a smile”, I loath glum looks when I am swimming.
We are all packed up ready to go the Sandycove, we arrive late, the last swimmers to get there, Ned has the dingy out and inflated, as we pull in someone shouts ” your guys were going to be in big trouble if you didn’t show”.
Today I have changed suits, I am sporting a black speedo with bright orange trim, ” this is a fast suit, I mean business”, I think to myself, “today is the day, I AM GOING TO BLUDDY DO IT”.
Out of the car, there is no milling around and little chatting, onto the job at hand…. grease on the back of the neck, under the arms and under my suit straps, it is hard to rub on as the grease is cold from the outdoor temperatures and not gooy. God bless Robbin she has become an expert at applying the stuff and instructing me to ” WAIT” as I pull away when she has to press hard to get the grease spread under my suit below my arm pits, it is tender there, as I flince she says ” luv you”, in a soft voice, it makes me laugh and relaxes me.
Robbin gets the life jacket on, I try to offer some sort of feeble offer of help, Ned firmly tells me to leave her, get in and swim and I am gratefull of the command from him. We are off, strong pace, I relax around the first lap, the tide is low meaning the weeds are thick and get tangeled around my neck, shoulders, arms, feet…..everywhere, I pull through it, I won’t let Ned out of my sights. He steers me around the island and before I know it there is Robbin, in the dingy ready to feed me, she passes me my feed cup, ” Stand Up” shouts Ned, I do, then he counts down ” 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14…..”, I am done and swim on, this lap is consumed with the image and feel of the Maxim sliding down my throat and into my stomach,” ahhh the warmth, the sweet flavor, the burst of energy”, I am off, new thoughts move onto the next feed at the end of lap two….I can’t wait. Lap 2 complete, next feed, I am excited to be on lap 3, I feel strong, we power around, the adrenaline is pumping, I am excited about the prospect of lap 4, I WANT THIS.
Lap 3 feed completed, not as fast as the others but it goes down all the same, I am off again, swimming right to the side of Ned, I am like the little dolphin, tucked in alongside the luxury liner, I feel safe swimming beside Ned, we round the first 2 corners and are now on the backside of the island, no turning back now….I am committed to finishing Lap 4, I am thrilled, my body temperature is fast plummeting, my hands are clawing up, I am losing distance per stroke, there is no longer power in my pull….” I am going to do this, around corner 3 and I am on the home stretch….we round the final corner, my speed continues to drop, Ned stops periodically to let me catch up, we push home, the final push, I see the ” Red House” that sits near the slip way, I have come to love seeing this house, we are close to the house, now the current kicks in, I have to fight hard to swim forwards, it is daring me to make forward pregress, my shoulders are burning from the heavy work, ” this is so mean”, I think to myself, I am again grateful….. this time for all the pull sets I have done at the end of a hard set in the pool over the last 16 months back in Vermont, then I see the sandy bottom is much shallower, I look up, ” don’t do that”, I scold myself, I promptly do it again, each time I look up I lose speed….” head down and drive, made it”, there is the slipway and Ned’s hand reaching down to pull me up to the step up. Robbin smoothers me in two blankets and Ned and Robbin steer me up to ” pooh bin”, where Ned leaves us to navigate getting me out of my wet suit and dressed, then into the car, the stumbles, mumbles and shakes are bad, they hurt, my muscles feel like they are in spasm, my thighs, hips and the back of my neck aches, Robbin thrusts a hot chocolate into my hand, she cleverly fills it only half way, my hands shake so bad the hot chocolate sloshes about, I have to hand it back to her, after a while I try again, this time I can clutch it, I hold onto to it tight, like it is a million dollars, it tastes AMAZING. Next up any food that appeals, in the past this has been a Lara Bar or peanut butter sandwich, I am out of the Lara Bars that I bought over from the US, today it is chocolate digestive biscuits and Jelly Bellys, my child hood comfort foods seem to be what my body craves, something familiar from long ago when I was comforted and nutured by my mother.
Swim Time: 1 Hour 55 minutes…..Water Temperature 11-13 degrees F, I am very pleased, I feel strong and elated, now I concentrate on regaining control of my body function, this process hurts but the other swimmers joke and play with me and offer so much support and encouragement, Micheal pops his head in the car window ” How is the Hypothermia coming along today”, ” It is coming along quite nicely”, I mumble out very slowly, with my very best attempt at a smile.
Next up today, a meeting with Amelda…….
Ned this email yesterday……