I got up bright and early this morning and set off to the swimming pool, my aim was to try and complete my first measured mile, nautical mile that is-of course. As it was I went a little bit beyond, as I lost count of the 76 lengths needed, so added on an extra 10 or so.
My wife Lizzie who was also swimming with me, decided that it would be a good idea at the 30 length mark to try and pull down my neoprene paddling shorts - this was of course in-advertant, she was in fact just trying to get my attention, but in so doing they filled with water, the change in drag became really obvious to me. No longer a stream lined creature of the deep, now a wobbly water filled Guinness drinker once more!
For the next 40 lengths this played on my mind and I tried to lose myself in the stroke, seeing if the shape I held my hand would catch and release water like a wing blade, then I tried changing the angle my arm entered into and then travelled through the water, instead of pulling water straight back I started to experiment to try and make my strokes longer in the water. It dawned on me that there is, as much technique in swimming as there is in paddling and hull design. Except you are the vessel, my beer belly, even though it is reducing slowly, is like having an underslung deck bag on a kayak, I am going to have to work on that. I then lost myself in thoughts on the Taran's flat bottom, when I went out in Salcombe with Rod and we surfed the swells back from Prawle Point I was managing to pick up swells very easily, the buoyant bow keeps the ride high, certainly in comparison to other boats I've paddled. Once on the swell the kayak would accelerate and almost start skipping, planing I think they call it in boat terms, in my terms it skipped, from one swell to another, I now found that I was starting to try and steer from swell to swell, using the rudder. In retrospect I now realise how much of a reflective learner I am, but I was naturally falling into the groove of doing this in the moment, which isn't reflective at all! Can you see how I lost those 10 lengths?
Anyway back to Lizzie, having failed in de-robing me, she did manage to make me focus on streamlining. That's life, there's always someone to bring you down to earth when your feeling on top of things and in all thing's there is a hidden lesson.
With 16 weeks of training ahead of us all it will be interesting to see the differences which take shape both physically and mentally in each of us over time. We haven't consulted with each other in regards to a set training schedule, each of us are doing our own thing. In the past I have always gone into an expedition knowing that without wind or tide being present I'm happy to manage 30 miles daily, but this time we are all keen to push our own personal limits to see what we can do. Time will tell I guess.