So today was another disappointment. I had planned for a four hour (10km) swim at Tooting Bec. In the end I stopped after just 1.5 hours (3.75km).
I could try and contribute this to a host of reasons, but each has to be unhesitatingly dismissed:
- The cold - except I was not cold. I can hardly claim to have been warm, but neither was I driven out of the water by the temperature, as in the past
- The weather was not good - no, it wasn't. It was cloudy, cold and windy, and it looked like it was going to rain heavily. But then I've only had one sunny swim (Windermere), so I cannot blame the weather
- I was tired - nope, not in the slightest
- I didn't have time - well I did. In fact, by finishing early it meant I had to hang around in the departure lounge for hours. If anything, getting out when I did caused a problem
So what was it? There is only one answer I can give, in all honesty:
I was bored.
You may think that having completed three, four and six hour swims, another four hour swim would be easy. But that is simply looking at it from a subjective point of view, trying to apply a form of mathematical logic that simply does not stick.
For me, these pool training sessions seem to be getting harder as they increase in duration. It's not like going for a run or cycle and being able to admire the scenery. It's not as if I'm swimming from one location to another either. It's endless laps of a pool, and is akin to training for a marathon on a treadmill facing a wall with no music or TV. Also, the challenge of swimming in a pool for this length of time has already been achieved, so now it seems like nothing more than mental endurance. And sometimes (like today) I just do not feel able to take the mental torture.
On this swim today, I found I had nothing to think about from ten minutes in. That meant that for the remaining hour and twenty minutes I could not take my mind off putting one arm in front of the other. It was soul destroying. I kept thinking, 'I'm not cold, I'm not tired, I have plenty of time.... but I SO want to stop and get out!'
Obviously I still do need to train, and I have to get over this somehow. I've already decided that not only am I no lover of long distance swimming, I'd go as far as to say I actually dislike it. Not a good discovery for someone who has to face the Channel in nine weeks!
'Luckily' for me, it is now also time to begin sea training in earnest. This will be a change of scenery for me, and will introduce some new challenges. I have a 13.5km sea swim booked, and then need to plan some longer sessions, ultimately trying to build up to 20km.
There is relatively little time left before my swim now, especially when compared to the 11 months of planning, training and organising I've already gone through. I'm just at the stage now where I want to get on with it, one way or another.
And to add insult to an already bad day, it's only now that I am at the airport ready to fly to the US for the week, that I've realised I left my swimming trunks at Tooting Bec! Damn!