FEATURES,  Readers' Swims

You’re gonna need a bigger boat!

The last 20 weeks have been non-stop swimming/training/ driving to venues, and so with one week to go till my Windermere one-way swim, according to my plan, I will only be doing two short pool swims. I initially wasn’t too sure how I would feel about having some spare time on my hands: it felt like I was being lazy. There is, however, actually lots to do.

Firstly, I need to think carefully about my diet, and what I’m going to eat this week. A quick look on the internet revealed that there are various suggestions on how soon to start carb loading before a long swim, and as I couldn’t find a one size fits all, decided to stop looking and just go with all week – that way I most definitely will have had plenty! I have only two, very much tried and tested (and actually edible), pasta meals in my cooking repetoire – Bolognese and carbonara. They are both eaten by my family regularly, without complaint, however I’m not sure they would tolerate the two dishes on repeat for the whole week. I spent a whole morning trying to find new recipes that the whole family would eat, but in the end resorted to choosing what I like and telling them to pick out the bits they don’t (great parenting demonstrated right there!).

Over the past couple of months, while my swims have been getting longer, my family have been living on leftovers and ready meals. Always served with an apology of course, and a promise that normal service will resume once the swim is done. To which they suggested (rather tentatively) that they would be quite happy continuing with this arrangement. Before I had time to object, they cleverly added that they think I will miss swimming too much. I’m stuck between being okay with it and being upset that they don’t like my cooking (not too upset, mind) but their “selflessness” does give me a free pass to continue my swimming…

Recipes chosen, I arrive at the supermarket with a list a mile long, including some ingredients I’ve never even heard of. Somehow I find myself migrating to the ready meal section. Well, they do say don’t change anything before a swim… I’m not sure that extends to family members and their diets, but I am not prepared to risk it and guiltlessly fill my trolley.

Next on my list is to gather up everything that I need to take to Windermere. Once gathered together I realise that it looks like I’m about to embark on a two-week expedition. I’ve packed more than double the food that I’ve trained with and, if I have a spare of anything, even things that I’ve never once needed before now when I’ve swum, they’ve all gone in … just in case. I’m not sure what kind of emergency would warrant seven pairs of ear plugs, a peg, a sewing kit and an “I heart New York” key ring, but I will take them all regardless.

Not only do I actually have to fit all my kit into my car, but I also have to get my swimming partner Shark’s stuff in too. I sent her a message suggesting that we (she) travels light; however, I don’t think she took me very seriously when she replied with a photo of all of her things laid out. I need to contact Swimyourswim to find out how big our support boat actually is, for as it stands nothing smaller than a barge will do. I fear that I’ll have to tell them, in the words of Brody in Jaws: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.