Thursday, 8 November 2012

Front Crawl, Back Crawl, or just plain End-Up-Crawling

Now then. I suppose it is time to tell my coach I am struggeling, but then again, it's my fault!!

After every swim I am exhausted and to be honest I am not seeing much of an improvement because after every session, I just want to go to bed! I am pretty sure that this is a very bad sign, but then again, I've never really taken much notice to signs, like when Morrison's had a 'Slippery Floor' sign up, I walked past it and slipped, but that might just be because I'm a little clumsy; I have had some support, people saying 'keep going' and one saying 'drown and I'll give you a fiver' (thanks for that by the way-my History teacher is so kind) but even then I am a little down hearted. The challenge gets closer and closer, a little bit like judgement day. No, not like judgement day, that's too dramatic. Like a day when an important exam is coming up but however hard you have revised you just don't feel ready enough.

The next time someone asks how my training is going, I will try and force a smile, but deep down inside I have a sinking feeling that won't go away, as the title suggests I am lagging behind

I apologise for the shortness of this post, but apart form exams and Grease rehearsals, not a lot is going on!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Expedition-A Near Death Experience

As many of you will know, (if you read my last post) I cancelled my training last week in preparation for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition. I needn't have bothered. There was no training on Earth that could have prepared me for that weekend.

I was packed and ready and got up early on the Saturday. We got to the squadron head quarters early and then got on the minibus, the 6 of us were a bit tired but we thought ourselves ready. How wrong we were. Of course Saturday wasn't too bad, we only got lost the once, ending up in a sheep field instead of Keevil, and the public footpath (as was not specified on the map) went straight through a field of cows. I thought cows were docile creatures, but when a person in your group insults them by saying their meat is worth 99p in McDonalds, they charged at us. 5 of us panicked and ducked under barbed wire (successfully) to get into a neighbouring field, but 1 of our group stayed slap bang in the middle of it, nose in the map, she just continued to walk. We were all shouting at her to come back, but she was being, what I call, selectively deaf. The cows amazingly just slowed down and congregated around her, then proceeded to follow her around in a fashion more suited to sheep then cows.

It was Sunday that finished me off however. It was longer then Saturdays journey, it was after a very bad nights sleep in a freezing tent, it was over 2 big hills and it was going through even more fields. This was horrendous. Never in the history of the universe has anyone hated hills as much as I did on that Sunday. The first hill was hell, the second hill was worse. At the top of this hill was our finishing point, it was the steepest and biggest hill and I almost died going up that muddy, slippery slope. I got to the top, met the assessor (our flying Officer) and cried.

I barely survived.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


I have had to cancel training this coming week as I will be doing a small amount of training for my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expedition on the 27th-28th. And oh my word am I going to suffer. As I said in my last post, I am an Air Cadet and with this organisation I will be undergoing my DofE with 4 other unlucky cadets who are stuck with me, probably the biggest moaner in the history of the universe, as proved by this blog.

I was not with the cadets when some of them did their practise, so some of them are doing their Qualifier, I am doing my practise. Now in their practise, they got lost. And I am talking lost with a capital 'L'. They had their bearings right, their fitness was (apparently) perfect but their observational skills appeared to have been lacking. They had to walk right past two massive radio masts. After 2 hours of extra walking, none had realised the masts were not present in their view. Another hour past and suddenly a light bulb moment caused them to stop and turn back "Radio masts!" and back off they went down the way they had just walked.

I am fairly observational (hopefully) and unlike them, I am glued to my watch (which all of them in their practise forgot to bring) however, my map reading skills are dire and with my feet being used to being flippers rather then feet, I doubt my walking skills are much better. Hence the change in plans, this week I shall not be Swimming for Comic Relief I shall be walking as the Comic Relief of the other Cadets. Hooray.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Swimming...but for Air Cadets?!

Once again, I cannot apologise enough to you wonderful people who are bored enough to search the web and find my tiny, quite irritating little blog and find I have not updated it for almost 2 weeks.
In case you have forgotten or are unaware, my challenge is taking over much of my life, and it seems, even in an organisation that was set up for flying, I must swim in it too. I swam for my Air Cadet squadron and won my backstroke race (but it was a close run thing) and then on Saturday I competed for Dorset and Wiltshire. Although I enjoyed meeting other cadets (ok, well some of them) I cannot help but feel disappointed. In my backstroke race I came 4th out of 6th, meaning I am definitely not eligible to swim for the South West, and then in the relay I fear I let my team down with my front crawl, I did quite well, but halfway through a length, something snapped in my leg. It was my knee in fact, and I think I pushed it a little too far, as when I got out of the pool, I had to limp a little to get back to the changing rooms. I would say I am glad that my knee is working perfectly well again, but I feel down that it didn't do well when I needed it too.
So, I am sorry Dorset and Wiltshire because my stupid knee cost our very capable relay team of a place in the regional competition, and although my fellow swimmers were kind, the injury has shaken me quite a bit.
Although this was a set back, think of how miserable I will be if my knee does the same in my actual challenge.
 I will have disappointed everyone as I am sure I did in that relay.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Inexcusably late...Sorry!

It's astonishing that even now people I see at school everyday are still not aware of my challenge, their reactions are even more amusing, "wow, that's amazing, I couldn't do that" well, actually, yes you could. But it's whether you would. Would you?

The training is non stop, the water appears to be like I have ended up in the Arctic each swim and the jogging, well, you only have to look at my earlier posts to know how I feel about jogging. I get a few words of support, and a few words such as "drown and I'll give you a fiver!" and I get lots of people doubting me, but actually I like doing it.

It makes up for all those times that I have walked past charity collectors and have spent the money I could have given, on myself. I was the person that looked at charities like Children in Need or Oxfam and just said "hasn't got anything to do with me" I am sorry.

I am sorry this is late, I am sorry I ignored charities before and I am sorry that I can't do more for charities. Because now I love doing this, and the question is, would you?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Back to Routine

Well, I'm back to school tomorrow, and that means I will have to juggle exams, Grease rehearsals and my training all at once. I'm not looking forward to having to do this balancing act, but it is something I cannot afford not to do.

Thinking about the challenge has lead to more then a few sleepless nights. Next week I will be doing the assemblies (if all goes to plan) and that is just the tip of the iceberg. My training may be doubled when I get back, maybe even tripled. I'm not sure yet as my coach is going to be giving me a time table for my training, hopefully it'll be easier to understand then the revision for maths has been; but I can't expect miracles.

It's dawning on me now, just how big this challenge is. I mean, I always knew it was a mountain, but nobody told me it was a whole mountain range. A few people have had suggestions about making it easier 'why don't you have sharks chasing you?' Well, seeing as I already have my coach doing that, and all the people who know about the challenge doing that, I think sharks would be a break, if I'm honest.

I love the support I have been getting, however, the expectations of these people are unbelievable. At the moment they strongly believe I can do this more then I believe. They believe in me, and that is really difficult sometimes, because I am terrified of letting them down. I am terrified of letting Comic Relief down. I am terrified because this is so hard! But I must soldier on with a smile on my face, because if I let myself be negative for too long, I may turn into a wailing wreck, drowning in my tears of negativity, and seeing I an drowning in a pool any way, that would certainly be counterproductive.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What do you think about?

I have decided after my whinge about assemblies on my last post, that I will be using  a power point, but it will only have a few pictures on it. However, it occurred to me yesterday, what exactly do you think about when swimming?

I mean it wouldn't usually bother me, but I am going to be swimming for a long time, will I be repeating the famous phrase from Finding Nemo 'Just keep swimming' or will I be imagining my coach/PE teacher being barbecued on a spit? I have no idea, I have not really swum for long enough for it to bother me, but now it is playing on my little mind.

I suppose I shall have to stop moaning now. I can't do a blog about moaning can I? Well, it's never stopped me in the past

March is so close! Too close!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Word of Mouth unfortunately it's mine

It's been on my mind since the first assembly I did at my school about my Comic Relief challenge, however now it must become a reality. I have to start planning my next 3 assemblies to the 900 odd pupils I have to tell. Soon I'm going to be trying to get sponsorship, but even that is feeling like an impossibility.

The first assembly I did, didn't go to plan (as I wrote on an earlier post) I got great support from it but at the end I was shaking such a lot. It was terrible! How could I have been such a coward in front of my peers? What a disgrace. However, I must do my bit and tell the masses about my challenge...oh who am I kidding?

This has to work, I really need the support and soon I'll be needing sponsors, I'm thinking of doing £1 per length so people can choose which length(s) they want to sponsor.

I mean, it's not exactly like they're limited on choice!

I'm not sure if I should use a power point or not, my feedback says that it was more personal without, but filling 15 minutes with just me at the front is terrifying. What should I do? Anyone can comment, so please, tell me, what shall I do?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Jogging...oh dear

So I woke up this morning and decided "hey, I know what I'll do today, I'll jog to keep my fitness up for the challenge!" So I went and did just that, I mean how bad could it be?

I have heard many people say that jogging is fun and refreshing, was this really what they were talking about? It was hell. Seriously, I think I nearly died! I went down to some local woods to do the jog, I don't really like woods, there are far too many trees for people to hide behind but I thought it would be far more scenic then jogging alongside a main road. So as I jogged I listened to my ipod, and after a while, the tunes that had once kept me at a certain pace were almost mocking me, the lyrics to 'The Climb' became ironic and the lovely sounds of Adele became quite unbearable as she sang songs that sounded so familiar to each other they sounded like they never ended.

I met a few dog walkers along the way, some said a quick good morning and at the start, these cheery greetings were pleasant, but after the jog I was sweating like a pig, dragging my feet, almost killing the earphones that kept falling out, and after the 80th good morning I was very wound up. In fact I was so wound up I think I growled at the last person to say good morning (I know I should be a better neighbour but they were so cheerful and I was so tired...)

So the next time anyone says "you should try jogging" I am going to reply "I would rather eat my trainers then jog in them again"

Friday, 10 August 2012

A holiday of training

Ah, hello again world, I am back from my holiday! I know it's not a Tuesday, which is when I usually update this blog, sorry for the break in routine. This holiday was not much of a break in routine for me though.

The hotel was amazing, it had three different pools, I was usually in the main one. I trained mostly in the first week of the holiday, trying to pick up my stamina; it was basically endurance swimming. But the training that stretched me the most was in the sea believe it or not. You see, there was this rusty old boat anchored out in the sea, it was about 80 or so metres away from the shore so I decided it would be a good idea to go and swim to it. Bad idea. The wind had  picked up a bit so the waves became quite tough to swim against, there was also an underlying current which kept trying to tug me back. All my friends that I had met on holiday (Daniel 14, Ellie 9, Ruth 11, Occan 13, Jonathon 16 and not-really-called-Derek 13) and my little brother swam to the boat too, most of them had a float or snorkeling fins to help them swim out, apart from me and not-really-called-Derek (he was Turkish and I couldn't say or spell his real name)

I was struggling, gasping for breath at the side of the boat that was rocking quite a bit at this point, it had no ladder as well so I had to try get onto the boat because, well, I was running out of energy and the sea was quite deep. Thankfully not-really-called-Derek swam over to me, I couldn't get into the boat so I was just clinging onto it desperately; Derek was amazing, he was 13 and just pulled himself onto the boat. Then along came Jonathon who Derek helped up because Jon was stronger then me and could help pull everyone up. So Jon reached down and picked me out of the water like I was a speck of dust, he wasn't out of breath much due to the float that had helped him get there (CHEAT)

We all ended up on the boat eventually though and lay there for quite a while in the sun. Then Derek realised he had cut himself while climbing onto the boat. It was like Casualty on sea. And because the boat was rusty, we were all worried the cut was going to get infected, so we did the only thing that seemed right, we washed the wound...with salt water. Poor Derek. The salt water made the cut hurt quite a lot, however Derek was brave, Jon however just sat there talking about tetanus which was not very helpful.

Probably the most stressful and exhausting training ever. So far anyway.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Difficult? That's an understatement

With all my exams, being part of Grease (for those that know Grease, I'm playing Eugene as a boy) and just generally revising, this swimming challenge is big to say the least. Just the other day I told another person about my challenge and they said "oh, that sounds difficult" "Difficult?!" I replied in utter disbelief "Difficult is not anything like this challenge!"
You see, as an individual I am not very sporty, the only sport I really did well in was archery. I gave that up after 3 years. I am ashamed to admit that currently in training I can do about 5 lengths before having to stop and take a breath; this statistic is disgraceful. I will never complete this challenge with such a poor statistic.
I will be going away soon, so you won't be updated for 2 weeks, however, there is a pool on holiday and you can rest assured I shall continue my training there, day in day out. It seems this challenge is going to follow me right until the final length in March 2013.
Any comments you can make would be appreciated as this challenge is a massive mountain and at the minute, it seems to be a great obstacle. Thank you again for bothering to read my blog, I shall update you in 2 weeks time

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Reply from my Hero!

Unfortunatly training wasn't on today however something far more exciting happened on Thursday last week!

About a month ago I sent a letter to David Walliams about my swimming challenge, and on Thursday I got a reply! It was so amazing to have him reply as he did a similar challenge a while ago, this is what he said:
'Wow! I am so glad I have inspired you, 22 miles is a very long way! Good luck love David x'

I know it's short but it was fabulous to get a reply, I've even saved the envelope. He really is an inspiration and I am overjoyed that he thought of me, even if it was just for a minute or two

Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support, and thank you David Walliams for giving me a boost!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

That first step

My second blog. How time flies...Today was the day I did the first of four house assemblies in my school, it was in front of my own house, Gandhi, and I must admit, I was not looking forward to the experience.
It was destined to be a disaster as 24 hours before I was informed I could not use the presentation I had prepared as the projector was being used elsewhere; this sent me into a flat spin as I had to start from scratch. So I did.
With a few last minute notes scribbled down in maths (triangles were not a very interesting subject Mr.Farr!) I was a nervous wreck, but at least I had some notes now. When I began I was shaking, however as I told my story the people I was talking to quietened down, I was suprised as I was not booed off, no. instead I got a massive round of applause.
But perhaps the best thing about this was the immediate support I began to recieve. People respected what I was doing, and one person said they were inspired.
So despite my aching limbs, I am still smiling as now I have people to encourage me!

If you want to see the story that inspired me, click on the link below. Thank you all

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


Hello world. Before I start, thank you Nathan for setting this bloggy thing up for me. I will hopefully be posting lots of comments/general moans on my training of my Comic Relief Challenge. I am swimming 22 miles, about the length of the English Channel, in my local swimming pool for the 'comic releif' of others (especially my friends) No, seriously, Comic Relief is a really worthwhile cause for my suffering however I do not intend to drown for my efforts so I am training every Tuesday while being coached by a PE teacher at my school.
So far I have been training for 2 months, and I have not yet drowned, however when the lengths seem endless with my coach telling me 'to get a move on', then drowning appears to be the easy option, it would probably be less painful too!
So, that's my first bloggy thing over and done with, I hope you can support me and maybe even sponsor me, but right now, I just want people to spread the word, thank you :)