Thursday, 23 October 2014

Swimming and new goals!

Last year my best friend and I organised a sponsored swim for us both to do. 
We had both started swimming.....we have a friend with a pool.....and I had discovered that I could still swim just with my arms, even though my legs don't work! I was loving being in the pool, the sense of freedom it gives me and I finally felt that I was doing some exercise, however small that may be! 
We had decided that we wanted to raise money for the MS Society and the British Heart Foundation. These were two charities very close to both our hearts but we needed to decide what our goal was and the logistics of when and where etc. 
We asked if we could use our friends pool, which was fine, and Joe had heard of a saying "walk a mile in our shoes". This was a great tag line so we worked out how many lengths would make a mile, the answer was 120! After we got over the shock, we realised that 120 lengths each was perhaps going to be a little large for our first goal but we decided that 60 lengths could be manageable. It would mean that we were both sharing that mile that we wanted people to think about. 
We worked out a proper training plan. We had decided that we wouldn't be able to do sixty lengths up and back without stopping, so we worked out that if each person swam six lengths at a time and we each did that ten times we would complete our sixty lengths. 
The first thing to train ourselves to manage was to be able to swim six lengths at a time. It doesn't sound like much but when you've not been doing much exercise and you body is fatigued without doing anything, swimming six lengths in one go was the first challenge. 
We then decided that we would spend time building up each set of six lengths. Joe would do six lengths and then stop and I would do six and stop. This way we were both able to recover in between each set and I definitely needed that! 
We spent a few weeks on each set of six, so the first few weeks we just did six and once we were comfortable with that we moved onto doing two sets of six etc. This seemed to work really well.
The other thing we made sure of was that we didn't set ourselves a date to complete it. We knew we would need time to advertise it and get sponsors but we didn't want the pressure of a fixed date until we knew we were going to reach our goal.
The training went really well, I was swimming twice a week whenever I could and the focus it gave me having a challenge to work towards became really important to me. 
I believe it was around February 2013 that we decided that the end of April would be a good time to look at completing this so we booked the date with everyone we needed to, set up a Just Giving page and went about getting sponsorship money! ;-) 
I'm pleased to say that we completed our goal, swimming sixty lengths each, which was half a mile each, and we raised over £1000 doing it! The sense of achievement was immense! :-) 
We had talked about what our next goal was going to be after we'd finished that swim but we were going to take a good few weeks off first! Those few weeks turned into months.......and months! 
Various things happened that kept us out of the pool, the main one for me was getting very bad vertigo, which turned out to be Menieres Disease. We have tried at different times to try and get some continuity going with the swimming but it just hasn't happened.........until now!
We hadn't been swimming since the end of July, Martin had been doing a play, we went away on holiday, all those sort of things kept getting in the way, but in the week after our holiday I had an appointment with the pain clinic and the doctor asked whether I was still swimming and I felt quite ashamed to say no.......though it wasn't for the lack of trying! But that sparked something inside me and I decided I wanted to make the effort to get back in the pool again. I knew how it made me feel when I was in the water, giving me a sense of calm and freedom, so why wasn't I trying to have that in my life again?
So over the past three weeks we have got back in the pool again and it feels great! 
We were there on Monday and it is a little frustrating because we are starting from the beginning again BUT I know I can do it and I have faith in my passion for being in the water! Also because of the re ignition of my passion it has opened up the part of me that wants another challenge, I need another goal, so I have decided that I want to do another sponsored swim.....the same ideas as last time but this time I want to swim the whole mile.......I want to swim 120 lengths! 
I may be slightly bonkers, I may have to re adjust my goal depending on how I can cope with it but I want to at least try......I need to try......and it feels good to want to do this feels good to have another goal! ;-) 



  1. 120 lengths?! You nutter! That will be a massive achievement and for 2 worthy causes. Keep us all informed how your practice is going and when you've set a date - would love to sponsor you, Very best wishes, Nicky x

  2. It's funny but a lot of people are saying that I'm bonkers at the moment......I can't think why?!?! Lol! ;-) Big hugs hon XxXxX