Well 2020 is certainly throwing us some curved balls!  I hope everyone is keeping safe.

For me, the year is flying by!  Training is ramping up nicely and I've done a few great swims through January and February. 

I mentioned the Jedi Polar Bear Challenge in my last blog. This ends at the end of March and I am happy to say that I have already completed all of the monthly swims and mandatory distances together with the additional ‘Jedi’ swims.  I am now a Jedi Polar Bear!  This year, the swims themselves weren’t the problem – finding water cold enough to complete the swims proved to be extremely difficult!  The water temperature this year has been quite high compared to last year.  The challenge was great fun and made the cold training swims enjoyable! 

I also competed in a 1k ‘ice’ swim at a local lake in February.  It was hoped that the water temperature would fall below 5 degrees but unfortunately it was nearly 7!  Still very cold for most.  Although the water temperature wasn’t really a challenge the wind was!  It was blowing a gale and the waves and chop in the lake were huge!  All good training for the different conditions that I am likely to face in Loch Ness. 

In addition to the cold water swims I have also been going to the pool as often as I can to work on technique.  I much prefer swimming outside but the pool sessions are equally as important.  I decided to take the day off on Friday 13th March and checked in to my local pool for the day – literally.  I swam from 1030am until 430pm.  The goal was to complete 100 X 100m (10k).  I completed that but finished earlier than I had anticipated so I did another 10 X 100m and then gave up counting!  I was very happy with my 11k+ swim.  The reward was spending another hour in the baby pool playing with my grandson when I had finished! 

The idea behind the long pool swim was more about the mental side of things.  Swimming for hours on end can be very boring, particularly when you only have yourself to talk to.  Although I have a team supporting and assisting me from a safety boat, I am still very much on my own.  I find swimming up and down a 25m pool boring at the best of times.  Swimming 500 plus lengths on my own was incredibly boring but very much worth it from a mental training perspective.  Once the water warms up there will be many more long training swims in the sea and the local lakes but im ready!

Im keeping my fingers crossed that the pools stay open for a bit longer but failing that I always have the river to train in! 

If you have any questions about my swim or my training, please email me on [email protected]

If you would like to sponsor me please visit my Orpheus fundraising page at donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/helens-loch-ness-swim