Kendal Mountain Festival Part 1

 

I am not entirely sure where to begin on such an amazing weekend but I have to start somewhere so I think to begin with I will start with some thank yous:

The biggest thank you goes to my absolutely amazing sister, Laura, or my big fishy. Without Laura acting as my carer/helper for the weekend the weekend simply wouldn’t have been possible. She did so much for me behind the scenes from carrying things, helping me find things, making sure people got out the way, helped me pay for things if a checkout was too high and generally helped me conserve my energy doing basic things like drying my hair after a shower to enable me to get the most from the weekend, both from giving a good talk to all the networking I also did whilst there.

Secondly, I must thank Jenny for inviting me to talk at the festival, I wasn’t sure about attending at first since it’s the first time I have ever done something like this, but I felt that as a campaigner for more accessible open water swimming I had to take the opportunity of spreading my message on a larger platform. I also wanted to share my journey to Windermere and show what you can achieve with sheer grit and determination, and a bit of stubbornness! It didn’t matter how terrified I was I wouldn’t let the opportunity pass.

Finally, I want to thank the Kendal Mountain Festival organisers and the helpers, sound guys, the film crew, and everyone else in the background for putting on such a great and welcoming festival. I couldn’t believe that I actually saw some other wheelchair users there, there were people of all ages, all diversities, just proving that the outdoors IS for everyone. So thank you for putting on such an awesome festival!

 

So, down to business: Continue reading “Kendal Mountain Festival Part 1”

Good Days, Bad Days and some in-between…

 

I didn’t post a blog last week as I have been struggling a lot with my pain and fatigue but I am improving, a bit, and I have had the chance to get some decent swims in this week. Monday started with a tough session with BRJ in the pool and once again I struggled with my breathing, this time to the point that I finally bit the bullet on Tuesday morning and called the doctors! After seeing me, they don’t know what is going on/the cause.

Not only did I go to the doctors on Tuesday, but I also managed a second good pool session of the week. This time I went back to my Scale Swimming book and adapted one of their sessions to meet my needs and abilities. I also went back to trying to swim with my legs tethered again, as I believe this may be the best way forwards for me in rough open water conditions when not in a wetsuit.

 

Continue reading “Good Days, Bad Days and some in-between…”

World Swim Day 2021 – What swimming has done for me

Saturday was World Swim Day and I wanted to write something about what swimming has done for me.

Swimming has almost always been part of my life and without it I felt lost. I had about 5 years after my accident with no swimming and during that time my life changed drastically, I became disabled, a long-term relationship ended, I graduated from University and I moved out of Cambridge. When I started getting into swimming again, I tried desperately hard to get back to swimming in the same way as I used to, I spent about 2 years trying to swim the same way as before, constantly trying to relearn to kick my legs but after a course at Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases I realised that I didn’t need to do things the same way, I just needed to do them! Continue reading “World Swim Day 2021 – What swimming has done for me”

Winter swimming is finally here!

 

If you have followed my blog, then you will know that when I swam 2-way Windermere I was wearing a wetsuit. This was because I didn’t know how my body would react to the cold as most of the swimming I have done in open water since getting back into it 5 years ago has been in a wetsuit. I felt that at the time, for me, it was the right thing to do, a wetsuit doesn’t just help me with warmth but the added buoyancy it gives me in my legs takes the strain off my back and other muscles to keep my legs together and streamlined. Obviously, in the pool I don’t wear a wetsuit but the distances are shorter so it is not sustaining the streamline position for hours on end.

 

Continue reading “Winter swimming is finally here!”

Travelling to Nottingham in a Wheelchair

 

Last weekend was a big deal for me, it was been exciting, stressful, panic inducing, wonderful and simply fantastic.

I have always been nervous about travelling alone since I have been disabled. This is because as much as I don’t like to think it and don’t feel it, I am vulnerable. Many more things can and are more likely to happen if you’re in a wheelchair, from innocent things like a lack of dropped curbs or accessible toilets to things like being more vulnerable to crime. I have had more bad experiences when travelling than good. So, since using a wheelchair I have never travelled somewhere, stayed in a hotel on my own and got back on my own, that is, until the weekend! Continue reading “Travelling to Nottingham in a Wheelchair”

British Long Distance Swimming Association Championships, Colwick Park

 

The British Long Distance Swimming Association put on several events each year, but I have never attended one before as they’re expensive. However, I wanted to end my open water season on a high so decided to take part in the event at Colwick Park in Nottingham. For this event I would be entirely independent and attend it alone. That meant I would have to travel to and stay in Nottingham, get myself to and from the event and then travel home alone – a truly terrifying thought!Continue reading “British Long Distance Swimming Association Championships, Colwick Park”

10 Years

 

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of my cycling accident that triggered all my current health issues, including my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. After the day of that accident my life changed forever but at the time, I didn’t realise the result of the accident would be so drastic and have an ongoing impact on my life. Afterall, it was just a sprained ankle and a few bruises.

The anniversary always brings up mixed emotions and normally they are all negative and I can’t help thinking about what would have been if my accident never happened. For the first time ever I am going to be honest publicly about how such a simple injury changed things for me. Continue reading “10 Years”

Windermere Part Two – Fell Foot to Ambleside

 

It was time to set off back to Ambleside, just another 10.5 miles to go and I would have finally completed my 2 way Windermere swim. It had been postponed due to Covid19, I had had emergency surgery 4 weeks before and only 2 weeks before I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to swim when I got to Windermere!

Continue reading “Windermere Part Two – Fell Foot to Ambleside”

Windermere – Ambleside to Fell Foot

 

I woke up at 5.15am on Wednesday morning having only had a couple of hours sleep. Thankfully I had, had the sense to get everything ready on Tuesday night, including talking through my swim plan with my sister. I had also had my final sports psychology session with Helen from think.believe.perform. We had gone through my plan for the swim, come up with a second honesty question (more on that later) and one of the most important things and the thing that stuck in my head from our session was her telling me to smile and enjoy it.

Continue reading “Windermere – Ambleside to Fell Foot”

Windermere Training Week 17 – Back in the Water

This past week has been another emotional rollercoaster, but I can finally say that I have decided to attempt my 2 Way Windermere swim despite only having surgery just over 2 weeks ago!

As mentioned in my last Windermere blog, the district nurse took my stitches out on the 14th August and told me that the drain sites needed longer to heal and as a result I was concerned that swimming was completely out of the picture for another week. This put me completely in the unknown in terms of my Two Way Windermere Swim. If I couldn’t swim for another week, then the first time I would be able to be back in the water was the week of my Windermere swim. If that was the case, Windermere Two Way was simply out of the question.Continue reading “Windermere Training Week 17 – Back in the Water”

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