Thursday, June 30, 2011

Final day in Dover

I had a wonderful final day in Dover. We had glorious sunshine, and after educating a couple of gents at breakfast about swimming across the channel and that the feat is still challenged, I ventured out the door for the cliffs.

The skies were so clear, you could see the outline of buildings in Calais, the the cliffs of France and looking westward along England's coast, I could see Dungeness, some 35 miles away.

I could have stayed there all day, the flowers, the birds, wrens serenading me, and the wild ponies, adorable.

I wanted to be back for noon, so I heading back to my home away from home.

I ran some final errands, took a final dip in the harbor and had a wonderful supper with Bill and Audrey Hamblin., while watching 1/4 finals at Wimbledon.

My computer went on strike, very frustrating.

Off to London tomorrow.
Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Channel 11 is in the books

Channel 11 is in the books: June 26, 2011.


I came to Dover, alone, hoping to be the 2011 season’s 1st solo crossing. Scheduling the crossing was the easy part, no one else wanted to swim a solo in June. I arrived on the June 17th and wait began, but I know now, the 7 days of training in the Dover harbor under overcast skies helped me get through my swim on Sunday, June 26, 2011. I came into this swim, very fit, feeling good but I actually was worried about my 15 pound weight loss and I won’t lie, I did miss that insulation.

The day started with Dover being FOGGED in. Mike Oram, my pilot settled into the waiting game, but because we were on the lowest of the neap tides, leaving later may affect my time, but we still should have a respectable swim. The first thing Mike noticed was my weight loss, he likes his swimmers fit with something to squeeze. While Mike and his crew James Willi and Derek Carter tinkered with the boat, I instructed David Chisholm, who has volunteered to help me with my feeds. Observer, Kevin Murphy watched over us and has voiced he will assist. In between chats, I would take a bath room break. I miss Janet, my life partner, she knows exactly how to feed me but I’m glad she won’t see the pain in my eyes I expect to have.
 
Finally around 8:15 am, an hour and 15 minutes past my original start time, it was safe to leave the harbor and go to Shakespeare Beach. Anastasia’s pilot, Eddie Spelling, had left a half hour earlier and his relay team was already in the water. As we turned right out of the sheltered waters of the harbor, the channel proper was quite bumpy but nothing out of the norm; I just had to get my head around it.

The fog prevented us to see the shore line, until we were only 20 yards away. Time to grease up, Kevin nicely applied the Vaseline over the areas where my straps and cap may cut my skin. I wish I could just have fun jumping off the boat, the kid in me wants to, but I know the shock of the water waits, I wish someone would just push me in. Well I finally did get into the water, cleared my goggles with spit and sea water while swimming to shore. I slipped a rock from the beach into my suit, put my nose clip on, looked to skies with a quick safety prayer, and off I went. The second my foot hit the water, Mike sounded the sirens on the Gallivant and I started #11. Will the training come through? Will I make it?, Get going Girl.

I've never swam in fog before, it was tough, I had no problems seeing the boat, it was just extra boring. I couldn't see anything in the distance. I prayed for a hot, sunny sky, and got my wish but not until we were over the 1/2 way mark.

I separate most of my swims into 1/3's, the 1st 1/3 of course, is interesting, and you’re excited just to be in the water. I had lumpy seas but I knew the tide and the wave action was coming from behind, pushing me toward France, so I tried to feel the surf action and let it flow. Still we had no sun warming my back side; I tried not to show how uncomfortable I was. I had drawn on all of my mind games to fight back that want to get out; I wasn't injured ... keep swimming; I was certainly bored ... keep swimming; you've swam doubles ... keep swimming; you know thinner swimmers that have swam longer time ... keep swimming; you're cold but not hypothermic ... keep swimming girl.

As the tide turned to slack, the water flattened and I really started to move, I was much more comfortable, started to hate my feeds (normal for me), but knowing I had to take in the fluid and energize the muscles, I just hate the bloating feeling that comes with it all. I'll manage through, not bitch about it and do my best.  At 4 1/2 hours, Mike tells me we're over 1/2 way, I’m excited but also know I have a time to go and this is the toughest 1/2. David makes me a feed with cocoa, a nice change, but by now, my taste buds are swollen from the salt water, and I have no distinctive taste; it's all in the mind.
 
At 5 hours we are really moving, I could have a personal best, but I'm fighting with that notion. I know this can be the time of the day when the wind picks up, blowing against the tide and mixing up the water, which is exactly what happened. By now, 2/3’s are over and I'm feeling a sense of confidence that I will finish this one, as long as I keep putting one arm in front of the other. Mike asked if I am tired, of course I am, but I'm fine, I cringe when he speaks of the feed with an extra boost of Maxim, I hate this stuff and by now I just want to vomit, but I hold it down. Mike knows I'm cold, sees the ice in my eyes, and starts his magic to get swimmers across, at least his words work for me. 
Eventually the skies cleared 5 miles from shore and we could see the cliffs of France, my spirits lifted to finally see something other than The Gallivant (no offence team). The wind started to pick up a bit, blowing against the tide to create a few white caps. Mike instructs me the water on the starboard side is flatter, so I swim behind the boat to the other side to finish the swim. I don’t mind being on the starboard side, but I am more comfortable close to my pilot, communicating through the lens. 

I took each boring 1/2 hour, one at a time, and after 19 feeds we were only 3,000 yards away shore, no need for a last feed, I’m not taking much in anyway, so keep her swimming is Mike’s plan, I’m up for that. That was the longest 3k I can remember, I know I’m clicking off a 1000 yards every 20 minutes. I can see the Light House at Cape Gris Nez, off in the distance; I will be landing just southwest of the point, very close to my first landing, almost 17 years ago. With every breath I can see the cliffs getting larger. Mike slows the Gallivant and I know am I very close, I lift my head, “hey, we’re here”, there are only sharp, large boulders in front me, high tide has not given me a very friendly landing surface. I slowly and carefully found my way through the first layer of rocks and touch a large barnacle and seaweed covered boulder, lift my left hand and the siren sounds from boat, 
Finished… #11, in 10 hours, 34 minutes, 34 seconds.
I swim back to the Gallivant, thinking ‘how, could I have turned around and swam back to England?’ Today I am ecstatic to take a boat ride home.

Thank you to my pilot and crew for a safe and successful journey.
Cast:      Mike Oram: Pilot, Navigator and friendly mentor
               Derek Carter and James Willi: Gallivant crew
               Kevin Murphy: CS&PF Observer & Hon. Secretary
               David Chisholm: swimmer’s crew/ feeder, photographer etc.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

We go tomorrow, 7am in the water

The weather gods are getting tired of all complaining and are going to open the skies for some heat tomorrow, at least that is what the forecast is.

I had a relaxing 30 minute swim in the overcast this morning, but as the day led on, the skies brightened and the air actually had a tinge of heat in it.

I had my sirloin at 3 pm and my pasta with pesto sauce, THANK YOU Jane Murphy, delicious.

The Harbor crew will be training tomorrow, Graeme Lowe, friend and Jersey UK resident, will be swimming from Jersey to France, while I attempt my 1st crossing this season. There will be all Americans in the water tomorrow, a relay team from San Fransisco and a friend, Jen, from Massachusetts will making her solo after a long year waiting, her tide was blown out last summer.

I'm off to rest and will catch you with you on Monday, maybe tomorrow night is able.


Here are 2 sites to track my swim tomorrow, we we be starting between 6:30-7am GMT (that's 1:30-2 am EST).

click on Satellite Tracker 1- Gallivant
this tracks the swimmer directly

click : Thames / Dover,   
then click on: Folkestone

This will show the shipping traffic of the channel, look closely and you can find Gallivant (small vessel)     Have fun.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

99% sure for Sunday

Today was my final hour swim, it was a beautiful sunny morning but the wind was up again, I was very happy not to be out in the channel proper.

I love the days when you can see France, so very cool, and we're going to swim there.

If you'd like to track my swim, go over to links and click on Spot Tracker: click on Gallivant. You will brought to the website and click on Gallivant, track where were are.

Until tomorrow.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting closer

I called my pilot this morning, Mike Oram, to find out what I should be doing for dinner in the next 72 hours, I have to make sure I get pre-game meal in, steak.. The forecast has pushed the better weather forward to Sunday, so that is where we looking to.
Now I can enjoy a couples more pints (only one per day) and plan my steak dinner for Friday. I am fueling these muscles everyday, and of course I don't have much else to do but rest, I have visited my favorite museums and sites but it's always more fun to bring a newcomer to see them all.

My wren friends are serenading again this evening.

I swam a relaxing hour this morning, and took a quick video from my eye (water) level, sites I see while training.

I bumped into a friend from Massachusetts, Jen , who will probably be swimming on Sunday also. She is making up a swim from last year, because the weather was so horrible, no one got a swim off during the late August tide, I wish her the best.

Until tomorrow, my final hour swim in the harbor, I hope.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Supply runs

 I've started gathering my supplies for the crossing.
I feel so relaxed, but I now realize I know how to do this.

Maxim (maltodextrose: the carbohydrate powder. Easily digested and gets into the muscles quickly) , water, honey, mouthwash (rinse out the salt water before a feed) and some baby Ibuprofen for the aches.

Another 90 minutes in the water, drill work and the water is feeling better every day.

The Water Sports Center is wonderful, hot showers right after the swim, awesome.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My friend is singing to me

Watching Wimbedon as I type, while my little sparrow friend sings his song to me outside my window.
I can't travel too much, short day trips at the most, I will head to Canterbury one of these days.

Today, I had a leisurely breakfast at 8:30, porridge (Bill's famous oatmeal), 2 fried eggs, bacon (a meater style than our American bacon), tomatoes, mushrooms and toast, of course coffee.

I stowed my swim gear at the new Water Sport Center on the beach, much more convenient, especially because I'm training alone this week. Many more swimmers will be arriving next week, but I am the only Solo crossing schedule for this early tide.
I'm getting more comfortable with the water temperature, right now I have just use 'colder than cool' as a description, I do not want to know the true temperature until my crossing is over. My mind is reacting just fine now, especially with these cloudy days we are having.

Started collecting the supplies for my swim, and I continue to eat, even I really don't have an appetite.

Training in the harbor:
Day 1: 2 hours (choppy with rain)
Day 2: 2 hours 5 minutes (choppy with wind and clouds)
Day 3: 1.5 hours (calm and over cast)

... and a nice nap this afternoon.
Until tomorrow.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekend Training at Dover Harbor


Having a blast old and new friends in Dover.
A very blustery weekend by the water front.
The wait begins for some good weather...
and the training continues in the harbor.


My Favorite swim camp.


Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heading out today

I can't believe today is here, seems like the year has flown by.
Travel day, or should I say, 'travel night'.

After a short 4000, relaxing swim, it was off to Manchester to make sure all my loose ends were tied.

The busy morning included, watering the plants and writing the final check for the month at the office, ordering flowers for Mom (next week is Dad's anniversary, maybe I'll be swimming, he'd be happy about that), Chiropractic appointment, straighten out the back, get to bank, and finally stop in and have a muffin with Mom, before 10am.
I finished the last minute packing and Janet and I were out the door heading to the Logan Express in Framingham, Mass. All the Bostonians are in especially good moods, after the Bruins took the Stanley Cup, CONGRATULATIONS.

Now, I am waiting for my 10:45pm flight to Heathrow. I gave up my earlier flight for a $600 voucher and now I'm flying 1st class and typing in the 'Sky Lounge', very cool.

Time to go to the gate.
Until tomorrow.
Dream, Prepare, Succeed..

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Birthday my friend John

So sorry I have been away, Life has just gotten in the way.
I'm still swimming and leaving for England on Thursday, June 16th.

Today is my friend and inspiration, John Lenard, 80th birthday, but you would never know it.

John still swims 3500 yards with me (everyday I show up to the pool), and he makes 100's consistently on the 1;35, or 1:40, I hope I can enjoy my workouts like that when I'm 80, if I make it to 80.

Simple work out today.

80 x 100 = 8K
I varied the intervals, throwing in a 1:25 occasioanlly.

A very good Birthday set.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

Swimming for Homes for the Brave

After spending the past 20 years paddling from Dover to France, it is time to venture into new waters, while helping some special people.
Soon, I will be traveling with my A-team to Scotland to swim the length of the famous Loch Ness.
As always, I try to help a Foundation raise funds and awareness and I thank you for interest and support.
I am deeply troubled with the thought of homeless individuals, especially in our US Veteran population.

That is why I am teaming up with our Connecticut-based “Homes for the Brave”. Can you imagine not having a place to call home?

Here is more information about Homes for the Brave! -Facebook pages – https://www.facebook.com/pages/ABRIHomes-for-the-Brave/199613606735630?ref=hl

- Annual Appeal with more information about our financials and programs- http://www.homesforthebrave.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/HFTB-2014-Annual-Report-FINAL.pdf

-Check donations can be mailed to the following address:
Homes for the Brave
655 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

- Donations can be made online as well: https://homesforthebrave.isecuresites.com/products/index.php?type=1110

Please write “Loch Ness Swim/Marcy” to track your donation.


I will always be dedicating my swimming to all those battling cancer and in the memory of 4 special people in my life. Cancer first hit my family when I was young. My grand-aunt Eleanor Kersavage, passed away with uterine cancer and my Auntie Bea Halchak battled with brain cancer.

On January 1, 2002, our LEHY family lost Nikki Giampolo to bone cancer, just turning 16 years old. Her spirit still lives on in our East Hartford swim team.

In July of 2009, my brother-in-law, Gregory Allen Urban, who passed away, after a valient battle with lung cancer. I can see him now, talking about cars and projects around the house, music and his family.

I know Aunties, Eleanor and Bea, Nikki, Greg and all the angels will help me CUT through all this water this summer.

The St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, based in Bridgeport, CT provides financial support for the needs that Health insurance companies don't cover, in addition to providing affordable cancer screening, wigs, medication and other things to make life easier for those suffering with cancer and their families.

Please make a donation, and thank you.

Online donations can be made at: http://give.stvincents.org

or you can send a check through the post to:

Swim Across the Sound
St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation
2800 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606
(203)576-5451

Thank you so very much, peace and good health to all.