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Welcome to my world

June 26, 2007

Well it is time for me to come clean.  I have a secret.  And before you all get too far along; No I’m not expecting, No I don’t have a boyfriend, and No I didn’t win the lottery.

 

Since last June, I have been training for one of my all time dreams.  I never really thought that I would ever do it.  I thought that it was just one of those dreams that you shove in the back of your mind and think if only life were different.  Then June 2006 happened.  I read the book No Opportunity Wasted and attended a training class that made you think “What would you do if you didn’t have any obstacles?”  The answer for me was simple…I would swim the English Channel. 

That pesky little dream wouldn’t go back into its proper “only if” box after that.  After about a week of sleepless nights, I made some phone calls to a coach who had coached a woman across the Channel twice.  He gave me the name of a boat captain.  I called and got a slot for the Summer 2007 season.  Some of you may be doing the math, yes that is this summer and yes, I have known about this for over a year now.  So after getting a slot on a tide, I decided I should probably check to see if I can even swim anymore.  At this time I was swimming with Nike Masters 2 days a week.  I quickly signed up for the Minnetonka 5 mile lake swim and for an 8.2 mile swim in Alaska.  Minnetonka was to prove to myself that I could swim long distance and Alaska was to prove that I could do it in cold water.  Somehow both came back with a resounding yes.  I was on my way.

At the end of last summer, I began the task of getting my crew in place and determining costs of the trip.  Unfortunately my dream wasn’t going to come cheap.  I told a few very close friends about my crazy endeavor and then I asked them to keep it secret.  I thought that people just wouldn’t understand my dream and perhaps would even make fun of it.  I also tend to be a very private person and I knew that the fewer people that knew the fewer people I would have to tell if I ultimately failed.  It has come to my attention that I was wrong.  (Please note that I’m admitting it).  I need the support of others, spiritually, emotionally, etc.  I can’t do this alone. 

Thank you to the few friends that have known about this as long as I have and kept it secret.  I now know that this was causing strain on you as well as me.    I have learned that friends and family will support me no matter how crazy my dream is to them.  They will help me through those rough times and cheer me on even when I don’t think it is possible.  I realize that they will help me shout it from the rooftops and remind me to breathe. 

So here it is I’m shouting it.  “I’M SWIMMING THE ENGLISH CHANNEL!!!”

I’m guessing that some of you are stunned.  I know my family was when I finally told them almost 6 months after signing up.  Here are some particulars that I think people find interesting.

  1. I’m the first swimmer on the second tide in September.  This means when the weather is good, I’m the first swimmer that has a shot at that tide.  The tide dates are September 16-24.
  2. I’m flying to England on September 9th to get acclimated and hopefully train with some Dover Harbour swimmers.  I’m dying to meet the Queen of the Channel, Alison Streeter (43+ crossings and counting) and her mother, Freda “The General” Streeter.  The General helps to train all swimmers in Dover harbour for their channel attempts.
  3. No I can’t wear a wetsuit, which will now explain why I’ve been swimming without one.  I can only wear one standard swimsuit, one latex cap, one pair of goggles and as much grease as I can get my crew to slather on me. 
  4. I will have a crew on the boat that will give me my feedings.  Yes I realize that I sound like a dolphin by calling it feedings, but this is what it is called.  I believe I will be feeding on hot tea with honey and carbo pro as well as shot blocks.  Feedings occur about every 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Reg Brickell is my boat captain and his vessel is the Viking Princess. 
  6. Yes, the Channel is expensive especially since everything is in English Pounds Sterling.  For an idea, just the boat is costing me about $4000 after conversion. 
  7. The Channel temperature will be around 60 degrees.
  8. I’m mentally preparing for a 14 hour swim.  It could be longer. It could be shorter.  It all depends on how I hit the tides.

I’m coming into some very difficult training periods where I have to spend 6-10 hours in the water swimming at one time (no stopping) and practicing feedings.  This has been made all the more difficult due to a hiccup with my shoulder.  It has decided to start acting up…I can’t imagine why.  So now I’m walking the fine line of training hard, but not hurting my shoulder further.  And as my few friends that knew can attest to…I’ve been a little mentally nuts lately.  This is part of the reason that I need all of you. Thank you all for coming along on this ride.  I can’t do it without everyone’s support.  I’ll need swimming buddies, beach buddies, joke buddies, inspirational quote buddies, you name it I’m going to need it. 

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4 Responses to “Welcome to my world”

  1. Tricia says:

    Michelle,

    Wow, wow, wow! That’s all I keep thinking in my head. I just think it is fantastic that you are going after your dream. Ken and I will be rooting you on…Kathleen will be screaming at the top of her lungs and Michael will be clapping and trying to copy Kathleen. So you can keep all those images in your head as you train! We know you are going to do great!

    Love, the Madden clan

  2. 7/6/07
    Michelle,
    Perfect timing. I could not have kept the secret much longer. Hang on to that dream Sloopy…Sloopy
    hang on. We are all behind you 100% and trust me I know about dreams. Prayers of encouragement are coming your way with all our Love. Jo Ann

    PS. What was the name of that book?

  3. NERD says:

    KEEP ROCKING THE SWOOSH! Stay away from sharks! :o)

  4. Shannon says:

    Michelle,
    I just heard your news. I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait unitl you’re in Alaska in two weeks and all of us up here can pass along as much good karma as we can to you! It’s so awesome that you’re going after your dream. You’re right there are so many people who think about them, but you’re actually doing it! Taking the journey is an adventure and it looks like you’ve done great! See you in Ketchikan!
    Shannon

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