I made the decision to attempt the English Channel in late January of this year and shortly thereafter secured my July 19-27, 2014 tide with the Sea Leopard I've been swimming toward this goal for 10 months and have 8 more to go until the big event. The middle of training is a lot like the middle of a marathon swim. I'm tired, but not defeated, and there's a long way ahead. I can't see the beginning behind me, nor the finish ahead of me. It's just one arm stroke after the next with nothing in sight.
I'm trying to figure out my spring plan and I don't have a coach or pre-packaged plan to follow. There aren't a lot of English Channel aspirants in Nebraska, though I am fortunate to have some advice from Kris Rutford, the only Channel swimmer I know of conveniently located right here in Lincoln. Kris is in a league of his own. He's not only conquered the English Channel, he's also swum the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim about 28 times. He's swum it clockwise and counterclockwise - he's probably swum it with bells on, all 28-miles of it. And as if that weren't enough for a statue in the park, he's a totally nice guy. The kind who picks up trash on the sidewalk and throws it in a trash bin. The kind who helps people find directions. The kind who tells an already slightly overweight swimmer she should pack on another 10 pounds to acclimate for cold water swimming insulation.
So between Kris and the many accomplished swimmers on the Marathon Swimmers forum, I have access to people with knowledge and experience. But I still need to swim this damn thing on my own and be prepared for it as best I can. I'm not sure whether it would be better to have two 4-day ocean swimming trips in the spring or just one for a full week. I need as much cold, ocean swimming practice as I can get and I need to complete a 6-hour swim to qualify for the English Channel. Are my chances better with 2 short trips or one long one? I just don't know.
I have some time to figure this out and will keep pool swimming and weight lifting and cinnamon roll eating in the meantime. Just keep swimming.