Swim The Big Blue – Battling Jelly Fish, Sharks & Swimming Pain
Key West Training Camp – March 2015
March witnessed my training move from the cold UK to ideal and hot conditions, realistic, in Key West and it took a week to get going!
A slow build up but a total of over 230 miles (370km) covered in the pool and sea swims, in massive temperatures of average 85F (29°C). The sea was 78-81F (25-27°C) also! Not only did this bring curious learning for friction beneath the arms and groin, hydration concerns and fuelling adjustments but of course it brought jelly fish, shark and swimming pain in realistic conditions we simply do not have in the UK. This was awesome! From overuse of peanut butter, sickness and dysentery, to unseen objects stinging me in the chest, this was an incredible training camp. I lost nearly 30 pounds in weight (which I did not need to lose) and have improved in endurance and pace, finishing in the last week with good 16km dailies/double sessions x 2, for 32km daily distance; yet my eating went up and weight went down!
Thankfully my nutritionist has come to the rescue as I have experienced the utter low of failing to fuel properly in February, where I needed help out of the pool after five hours, and in the hot sea training, it led to headache and fatigue setting in to early. Here is an example of my daily diet on a full-training week in Key West – 7-8,500 calories (10-12,000 in The Atlantic).
So training continues to be realistic, hard work and there are times where you think “I can’t do this,” but then I think about my daughter, the people supporting me and the team around me, and with a little music in my ears – I drive on hard as I return to the UK to focus on pool work of speed and volume; edging towards sustaining 1:50-1:53 per 100m over 16km+, and up towards two sessions per day, 6 days per week.
Without hard work, we achieve nothing and the highs of warm weather, successful swims and shark encounters, enthuse me further; over-riding the lows of pain in shoulders, broken salt stung skin, sunburnt skin, swollen tongue and face from salt exposure in high temperatures.
This is as tough as it gets with 90+ hour weeks of training (120km + per week in swimming), gym and yoga, whilst running my expedition.
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