I swam for two hours this morning. That's the longest I have ever swum for, and it's only a fraction of what I have to do to complete a Channel crossing.
But I'm not pretending to be a long distance runner who is running a marathon for charity. This was always supposed to be a challenge that would push me to my limits. And those limits are going to be pushed and tested not just in August 2014, but almost every day until then, as I gradually build up both my stamina, and resistance to cold water (no more warm showers or baths for a year!)
In fact, even as I write, I'm thinking there is a third, equally major factor involved in all this. And that is the ability to deal with boredom. Swimming in a pool, doing multiple laps, is boring enough. But without the mental factor of clocking off a lap at a time, continuous swimming in one direction, with little to look at but (possibly) the safety boat, is hardly the most exciting pursuit. The Channel Swimming Association web site says that 50% of the challenge is mental attitude. When I finished my swim this morning (in absolutely glorious sunshine, it must be said), I had to think to myself: all I need to do now is do all that again - another seven times.... amidst the waves and dodging oil tankers.
One time soldier, part-time author, full-time training manager, husband and father.