Thursday, 4 October 2012
Molokai - time to accept the challenge.
The date is tentatively set at next Tuesday the 9th of October. Weather conditions look reasonable, with a light easterly forecast but forecasts seem to change daily so I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed. Two weeks ago they had an outrigger race between Molokai and Oahu and I saw a short video of the 25 foot waves at the start of the race - not exactly the sort of conditions I want for my crossing.
With only a few days now until my swim I am finding myself flipping between excitement and nervousness. It's not an unusual scenario - so much of long distance swimming is mental. To help I try to prepare myself by thinking about the swim - breaking it down into different sections. I visualise the start (1am in the morning), swimming steadily in the first few dark hours, just getting into a easy rhythm. I visualise the sunrise after about 5 hours of swimming and the distant volcanoes of Oahu coming into view. I think about the finish of the swim, hopefully at Sandy Beach - navigating the dangerous shore break and feeling sand beneath my feet. Doubts are a normal part of most peoples psyche; have I done enough training? Will I be able to stomach my feeds? What will it be like swimming in such a deep dark ocean? What is beneath me??? The worst part of a swim in many ways is the build up. I think I was lucky in my first few big swims I didn't know what I was getting myself in for, but now I know that nausea, fatigue, serious physical discomfort lie ahead of me. Most of these things are easier to deal with when you are swimming than in the few days before.
The Molokai channel will be an incredible test of my physical and mental endurance. I have a great support crew lined up and I have a rare chance to complete one of the world's famous ocean channel swims, completed by only a few of the hardiest open water swimmers. This is a rare opportunity to add my name to a select list and in a way create my own piece of history. Life offers up only a handful of these chances to amateurs like myself. I don't think success is always measured by gold medals, records and accolades but sometimes simply by whether we are willing to stand up and take one of these rare chances when they are offered up.