Disability and arts News and blogs Helen's Loch Ness Swim - Lockdown delays the challenge Oh......... This year was supposed to be my year. My goal was to go and smash Loch Ness, and find Nessie of course! Funny how all the best laid plans can change! This training blog for April and May certainly isn’t what I had intended it to be! April should have seen me building on the 110 x 100m that I completed in March. The first weekend in May should have been the first Dover Channel Training weekend down in the Dover Harbour. The water early may is about 10 – 11 degrees. This means that for the first couple of weeks, training usually consists of shorter double dips where the swimmers get in and swim for about half hour, get out and get dried and dressed and then get back in and repeat about an hour later. The idea is to get swimmers used to the colder temperatures as most will have only done pool training over winter. However, on the basis that I have been swimming outside throughout winter, the plan for me was to complete another qualifier 6 hour swim to supplement the qualifier swim that I had already completed. My cold water training was going brilliantly! I was easily and comfortably outstaying my peers in the cold lake – although I personally would have liked it to be colder. The training plan to start longer cold swims once the temperature had risen to about 11 degrees had been set. I had even got on top of my sea sickness. I felt that my training was truly on track. I was going to be ahead of the game for the weekends in Dover and was actually looking forward to the 6 and 7 hour back to back swims that form part of the long distance training there. On top of that I also had various shorter marathon swims (over 10k) booked including a swim of the length of Ullswater Lake in the Lade District in July which I was really looking forward to. If I was asked, I could honestly say that I felt confident that I would complete the length of Loch Ness in August and I certainly would have been confident that I had done all that I could possibly do training wise to ensure that I was physically and mentally prepared for the swim. Now I’m not so sure. I haven’t been in the water for over a month. It’s likely that I wont be getting in the water for some time yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still training. I’m actually doing more land based training than I have ever done previously. I’m aching in places that I didn’t know could ache and that’s all good stuff. All in an effort to maintain some kind of swim fitness. I actually think that all of the land based training will mean that I will be fitter than I would have been had I just continued with my normal swim training. But in my head it’s not the same. It’s not swimming. I’m no longer as confident as I was that I can get in the water at Fort Augustus and get to Loch End if I haven’t been in the water as much as wanted and needed to be. The enforced lock down has scuppered my training plan and my personal mental resilience has been knocked sideways. I want to get in the water at Fort Augustus knowing that I have given myself the best chance of success but I cant do that if I cant train in the open water. I could go up to Scotland in August and give it a good go, but that isn’t what I am about. I want to finish it.