The gigantic ferry lifting water from the bottom of the lake. As I moved forward and the boat passed my peripheral vision walls of water started to hit me. I was not a happy camper. Delighted to get passed I was free to swim and just take in the scenery. I was there in 5hrs 39mins. That was 14.2km covered-with 12.2km to cover I should be finished in 10hours. I relaxed.
|Buoyancy is a huge challenge|
Once back in clear viewing I tucked in behind a relay team boat and allowed Frances and Frank to head to shore to use the bathroom and stretch her legs. I train on my own and it is a space that I'm confortable with. The water rolled up behind me pushed by the wind and I really felt that I was being driven forward. I thought briefly about the difficulty the boat would have relocating me as I was powering up the lake. I could see some kayaks inside but because we had a motor we could not come alongside the coast.
My crew arrived back and I lifted my head to welcome them back, took a bottle and some gel and headed off. We were heading into the 7th hour. The waves were starting to lift again and my legs were a little tight having to kick all the time. If the cramp continues it can lead to a real spasm on the instep of my foot. I headed on, deliberating not enquiring about the mileage covered. I dropped my legs, dug my head low in the water so my backside would rise and this allowed my legs to drag and relax.
|The Bloody crane.|
"No, they're everywhere" Frances said pointing up the shore..she turned away from me, she was lying.
"Is that the same crane I'm beside for the last hour?" I looked up at Frank.
"Yes it is " and he nodded and smiled. I couldn't believe that he hadn't moved me, or that he had not noticed that I was not moving.
Frances tried to reassure me that no other boat had passed me, I wasn't sure what to believe but the truth was wasted on me, I couldn't change the day so I dug in and off I went.
It wasn't anyone's fault, my pilot was following me and I had no idea where I was going I just knew that I was not going anywhere. I was swimming in oblivian that the countercurrents I was avoiding had got me. Frustration took hold and I needed to relax.
|The darkness suited my mood|
Intermittently the engine rev'd & Frances did circles re appear behind me. It was a great distraction. Frank took over and I stopped for a drink. In the last 3hrs I had only covered 5km- I was going nowhere. I mile an hour.
The bloody crane was still on my right.
"will you go in and move that crane please Frances? " I asked.
19km covered and only 7km to finish..I still had 3.5hrs. Suddenly I started to do the math.
I asked for some chocolate, my stomach was a bit quesy, I swallowed a piece of the mars bar as I struggled to stay above water, within seconds of swallowing the chocolate, it landed back on the surface of the water. Followed by the biggest projectile vomit, barely missing Frank! He looked a bit surprised as I just pushed it out of my way. The petrol fumes were really starting to bother me. the small little engine ticking over throws out petrol. Waves of nauseaous-I needed to go. Frantically Frances mixed dioralyte some paracetemol and I gulped it and gone. "Stay behind me, I need clean water" I shouted up, I closed my eyes and wished the crane would fall down.
|22km mark-water lifted and getting by here was tough|
"What can you change?" Nothing.. Shut up I screamed at myself.
Driving my arms deeper I was confident that I would get there at some stage. I relaxed, stressing myself was of little benefit but I did wish for calm.
"I'll stop every 20 mins for a while" I shouted up. It was important to achieve. I broke it down to 8/9 more feeds, 2 crossings of ventry beach. I relaxed into the distance I had covered. I had crossed Smerwick bay 8 times, a smile burst through. I stopped and asked for the duck
In a solid tone Frances said "all the others are behind you, I really think that you're 2nd" only one boat and one kayak inside has moved away-one relay and one man.
We'll get there-I took five minutes, ate some jellies, floated the duck and chatted. For the last 9 hours I probably would have spoken only about 20 sentences, I felt the need to chat. I didn't come here to place, I didn't train to race. Battles are what I'm good at. Right now I was fighting myself and moaning about the conditions. Frances was so good trying to buoy me up-I could not imagine sitting in such a small space in such horrible conditions for 10 hours-I'd be broken.
|so tired of getting slapped!!|
I imagined passing the river at Ventry and then got to the road up to Paidi O Sé's pub, I spotted a hand pointing in so I turned and refocused my thoughts. Imagined the days that in storms I made my way back the beach, counted to 50 and suddenly realised that the boat was not beside me.
I turned and they were chatting heading up the lake. "Hey" I shouted. "You pointed in".
"That's Tina Turner's House" Frank shouted. Thankfully my goggles were on. I was Demonic.
"I'm actually going to Zurich!! " I shouted back " get behind me... the petrol" as I could taste the petrol.
|Came 2nd in Masters ladies to Anna Carin Nordin|
The calm water opened up, Frances started to pack her bags, I felt a sense of closure. I stopped for a long drink and to debrief the day. Thanked Frank, washed my eyes with clean water-put my goggles on for the last 20m. I was swimming for 12hrs.. despite the time being 12hrs 1mins.. the start time was 7.06am so they allowed me inside the cutoff.. it didn't matter to me-I was delighted to receive 2nd place-delighted that 7 were still behind me. Lakes are different monsters, like a taste in music-not for me. I'm a salt water baby.. I need the rock n roll of the sea not the erratic movement of the light fresh water-more hip hop than hard rock.. I have no doubt that lakes are beautiful places.. But I find the beauty in a crazy sea.. I could not find it here.
I loved the experience, It was not difficult, it was challenging, lifting arms higher than the muscles have trained to do, there were no moments of exasperation but then my racing is personal and everytime I start I win..
Thanks to all the organisers and the crews.. delighted to have got 12 hrs out of my body-Fantastic swim from Tom Healy from Dublin in 7 hrs.. but as I said to him.. does he regret not swimming the other 5hrs..????