Monday, July 4, 2016

Two days and now counting quickly - seems I skipped a few days in the process

I am wolfing down a bowl of cereal now and preparing to head off to one of the last pool sessions before I depart.  These days flew by without incident - thankfully - and even gave me time to finish some last-second chores before my month away from home. 

A few weeks ago, I sent off the following note to my crew.  They now know the extent of their involvement and everyone sounds excited about the adventure.  Here is the note:

Hey all,

I am getting really excited about the final weeks leading up to and including the swim.  Here are a few details you might find useful.  

Travel to and from San Diego

First, I leave for San Diego on July 6th @ 9am and land at 11:17 (flight 229 direct from IAD to SAN).  My plan is to relax a bit in San Diego with friends and get in a swim every so often.  By this time, if I am not fit enough, I never will be fit enough.  I would like to eat some good food, take a few dips in the water (cold preferably), and enjoy your company before the swim.  We will have plenty of time together so don't fret it - I will have plenty of time to hang out.

Second, as you'll notice below, the swim starts in San Pedro or Long Beach (where the pilot boat makes port).  Given the start time, I think we can safely drive up to LA from San Diego in a relaxed way at about noon on July 11th.  

Third, once I am done with the swim, I intend to head back down to San Diego, clean up, eat more, drink more, and relax more.  My next swim (the English Channel) could start as early as the end of the week so no time to dilly dally.  I leave San Diego for DC on the 13th @ 6:30am and then off to London on the 15th @ 10pm.  It will be a wild week to say the least.  
OK, now that I provided those travel details, you probably want to know the details for the swim.  Here goes….

Swim Date:  Monday, July 11th - Tuesday July 12th

Departure for Catalina Island:  7pm from the dock:

Expected timeline:
July 11th - 7pm departure from dock
July 11th - 11pm swim begins from Catalina Island (weather permitting)
July 12th - 10-14 hours later, I swim up to the fine shores of Long Beach and celebrate the team effort

What to bring:
  1. Sun screen.  The swim starts at night but even by 8am you can burn.  I plan to be covered from head to toe in Desitin so I hope to avoid all sun rays touching my skin.
  2. Warm clothes including towel(s) to dry off between dips
  3. Swim kit (if you desire) - suit, goggles, cap, and wetsuit if you require one.  Expected water temperature will be in mid to upper 60's.  Plan accordingly.
  4. Water clothes (for kayakers).  Wetsuit may be a good call if the night is chilly.  
  5. Snacks (will purchase if you give me a list)
  6. Sea sickness prevention and remedies (see note below)
  7. Head lamp with spare batteries.  I can bring a few for those who do not have one.  You might find these useful to navigate your way around the boat at night.
  8. Optimism - without it, we cannot and will not be successful.
  9. Sense of humor.  You'll need it with this crowd.
The skipper requires a kayaker in the water for the entire swim so I suggest we discuss rotations at some point.  Each of you are welcome to hop in the water with me at any time.  My preference is to swim for the first 2 hours alone to just get warmed; after 2 hours, you can jump in and keep me company.  

What to expect throughout the swim:
  1. Slow, rolling waves.  Yep, we are in the ocean and I will only be swimming at about 3km/hr so that speed leads to a really slow, boring trip from the island back to the mainland.  Expect the sea to be uncooperative and you will be very happy.
  2. Continued feeding of me and you.  I plan to feed every 20 minutes - perhaps as infrequent as 30 minutes should I find myself getting too full during the 20 minute feeds.  You need to eat too and drink plenty of fluids.  I have a feeding stick and I will pack all my feed stuff well in advance.  
  3. Sleep on occasion.  Yes, the swim can only be done if we are all mentally fit for this event.  You need to sleep; I don't and won't…I promise.
  4. Fun.  From all accounts, these channel swims are a blast.  Most crew take a ton of pictures and everyone I chatted with really enjoyed the experience.  Bring some cards or a book to read in between feeds.  I plan to ask the captain if we can crank some music so I can hear something to keep me enthusiastic - especially when things get tiresome.
  5. A cold water swim (optional but highly encouraged).
  6. A tour around the boat via kayak.  I plan to have two to ensure that the handoff between kayakers is smooth and safe.  If you have a kayak, please let me know.  I can rent one or two provided I get some notice.

We celebrate the team effort with a meal, beer, and a nap then head back down to San Diego where I await my 2nd leg of the Channel Challenge.  


With my 2nd to last pool session in the books, I am ready.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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