September 24th 2011
Letter to my mentor...
Thank you as always for all your support. I'm so grateful. Yesterday, everything that could go wrong, did.
I knew it was going to be a long tough swim, and unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be this time around. I'm deeply disappointed.
I'm not going to lie.
It hurts because I gave it EVERYTHING. I NEVER quit. Ever. But in the end I made the decision to pull myself. I can put my hand on my heart and say to myself that I gave it everything. But it still hurts. A lot.
On the flip side, and because I'm a positive person, I've learned a great deal.
1.) I need to work on my technique - because when everything else doesn't go according to plan, if you can just keep motoring along, you can get there. My work-in-progress technique wasn't enough.
2.) I need to change my nutrition - in the open ocean with waves hitting you at all different directions and a head wind right in your face, the last thing you want to do is swallow sea water. During my 6 hour qualifying swim in the SF Bay, there were barely any waves and my Perpetuem, Gu and drink bottles worked perfectly. As long as I'm getting the calories I need per hour, I can keep going and going. Yesterday this wasn't the case. I was lucky if I was ingesting 50 calories per hour. I need 10x that. (Damn fast metabolism:))
3.) Vomiting while swimming sucks. This was a first for me. Ugh.
4.) Bring a crew of support team. I was thrilled to have Jordan crew for me, but he needed more people on the boat to support him as the boat crew were tired from piloting a 15 hour swim the night before and I just don't think they wanted to spend all day and all night out on the Channel again. Jordan agreed with me when I told him the night before that I didn't want to know where I was in the swim and how far to go. I just wanted to swim to France. Unfortunately the boat pilot spoke to me during one of my feedings and said that this was going to be a 20 hour swim. I wish I hadn't heard that.
I leave Dover today, proud that I was part of a successful relay crossing (WE SWAM TO FRANCE!!), but with a heavy heart. I hate unfinished business. I LOVE the thrill and excitement that open-water swimming gives me. I feel so alive when I'm in the water. And, even when it was tough out there yesterday, I knew there was no other place I'd rather be.
The challenge of the English Channel is still there for me. And I can promise you that I'll be back.