Yesterday I completed my English Channel qualifying swim by swimming 6 hours in 60 degree water or less (the water temp hovered around 59)! Matt had a full boat of friends Caroline, Tom, Heather, Frank and Kelly! We pushed off from the Deltaville Yachting Center around 10:30 and headed up the Rappahannock River since the tide was ebbing. I jumped around 11:30 and was a little chilly but feeling pretty good for the first few hours. Caroline got in for some moral support about 2 hours and 45 minutes into the swim. She stayed in for a little over 30 minutes and it was great to have someone in the water with me. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes after Caroline got out, things turned bad. The wind picked up, the water got very choppy and I got VERY sick (i.e. puking). The people on the boat got very quiet and I’m sure it was a pretty uncomfortable thing for them to watch (and not pleasant for me to go through). I’m not sure what the cause was – but, historically when I have “fed the fish”, I have felt almost instantly better. Yesterday, that was not the case. My stomach never felt better and I wasn’t able to get much food/liquid in me. As a result, the cold started to creep in and I became very lethargic. About 4 hours and 45 minutes in – I knew I was getting close to 6 hours but I was feeling really bad. From there on, I broke the rest of the swim up in my mind into 15 minutes increments. If I could get to 5 hours – I would only have 4 more “15 minute slots” to go. Those mini “sets” made it seem more doable and I pushed through and was able to get it done. Thankfully, my mind stayed pretty sharp – so I didn’t feel like I was heading into a bad hypothermic state. But, I was definitely cold.
The big question is – what made me so sick. In the past, I have chalked it up to taking on too much liquid/food in too short a time such that I am unable to digest it fast enough. Once “eliminated” I have felt better, taken in a gel and moved on to the next feed. Yesterday, it was more than just “elimination” and was pretty violent (sorry for the icky description). I can only think that it was because I have been sick for the past few weeks. I’ve been on a round of antibiotics, cough syrup with codeine, asthma medicine (although I don’t have asthma) and Mucinex. And, because of my cough, I haven’t been able to sleep very well. I coughed and wheezed throughout the swim. I was having trouble breathing around the time Caroline got in – and I asked Matt for my inhaler…maybe that had something to do with it. I’m having a hard time believing that it is my feeding regime – because I have been doing the same thing for quite some time. But, I will keep an eye on that over the next few weeks and see how it goes.
Thanks to the hardy souls on the boat for helping me push through. We had many laughs and lots of great drawings on the white board!
I’m certainly glad to have that one in the books.