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!

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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.

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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”

Why I am Fundraising for Arctic One?

After my cycling accident in 2011 I stopped all sports, I tried to continue with Triathlon for a while but I was just in too much pain so eventually, I gave up. I didn’t train, compete, or even think about sports for 5 years. 

I first got back into swimming as a result of going on a Chronic Pain, Pain Management Programme at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. The course lasted a year with a 6 month and yearly check up. It started with 3 weeks intense physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, psychology sessions and also worked with someone on medication too. At the beginning of the course, we had to set goals and one of mine was to try and get back into swimming, if possible, open water swimming and maybe into Paratriathlon. Sport had always brought me so much joy and it was part of my identity, which at that moment I felt I had lost. I hoped that if I could get back into sport then I may not only be able to improve my mental wellbeing but it may also help me to figure out who I was despite my disabilities.

 

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Week 16 – Two Weeks To Go!

None of this is what I hoped to be writing just 2 weeks before Windermere but sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you hoped.

It doesn’t seem possible that I had a pretty major surgery less than a fortnight ago, it was slow progress when in hospital but as soon as I was home at my parents I have recovered remarkably well. Having major surgery so close to a huge event is never great but having surgery just before such a huge physically and emotionally fuelled challenge felt like a disaster. When I was in hospital Windermere was not mentioned, I refused to talk about or even mention it, it wasn’t until I was getting ready to be discharged that I started to mention it and talk about it properly. I have struggled with what is going to happen with my Two Way Windermere Swim, I have had so many differing opinions and thoughts from people whom I am sure mean well but that have not been helpful. Although I refused to talk about it, when I was in hospital I felt like I still HAD to swim Lake Windermere Two Way, no matter my health or how poorly it may make me, I had to do it. I was being harsh on myself, very rigid and frankly after such an awful couple of weeks, I was simply being horrible towards myself. 

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Windermere Training Week 15 – Hospital Stay!

 

My plan for training the past week was to get back into swimming after my unplanned hospital visit and on Tuesday 3rd August. I got in the river and can’t explain how good it felt to be back in the open water. The plan was to swim from Houghton to Brampton and back, I said if I made it to Huntingdon (approx. 4km), I would be happy, if I got to Godmanchester (approx.7km) I would be really pleased and if I made it to Brampton I would be surprised and thrilled, if I made it all the way back to Houghton I would be gobsmacked. 

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Windermere Training (sort of) Week 14

This week started off with me still in hospital so again, there wasn’t very much training done this week! By Monday I did just want to get out of hospital, which for me is always a sign that I am on the mend and feeling better. Thankfully, my bloods came back with good enough results for me to finally going home on Tuesday but I would need to continue my antibiotics at home and try to have a low fat diet. In the end, I got home on Tuesday afternoon, I was so happy to be home and back in my own bed but I knew I needed to take it easy. Unfortunately, I got the news that as I had come out of hospital, my dad had gone into hospital, meaning my mum was alone at home with Reggie, which worried me. So, on Wednesday I headed up to Sawtry to spend the day with my mum and our beautiful dog Reggie, it was a nice, relaxed day, doing not a lot and resting and exactly what I needed.Continue reading “Windermere Training (sort of) Week 14”

Windermere Training (or not!) Week 13

Week 13 of my training didn’t exactly go to plan. Last Monday I had an appointment planned with Helen Davis from think.believe.perform about the possibility of some sports psychology sessions in the lead up to my Lake Windermere swim. I know from experience that long swims are often as much about being strong mentally as they are physically, and I want to ensure that I have strategies and plans in place for if I begin to struggle during the swim. We discussed that one of the things we should work on is ‘what if’ scenarios for during the swim. On the same day I also tried to get a GP appointment for my abdominal pain but with no success. I decided not to swim on Monday night because my stomach pain was too bad.Continue reading “Windermere Training (or not!) Week 13”

Open Water Swimming Safety

As the sun comes out and it gets hotter more and more people will be tempted to go for a dip or a swim in open water. I love that more people are getting into open water, and I even actively encourage people to try it. However, I wish more people would think about the risks involved in the sport and the consequences that their actions may have BEFORE they enter the water or decide to jump into the river from a bridge. In the news recently there have been several reports of people sadly dying and getting into difficulty in open water and felt I should write some of the main safety points I follow and encourage to my students.Continue reading “Open Water Swimming Safety”

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