Well, a week on from the Jersey swim, and I'm still feeling pretty good about it all.
My left shoulder is still pretty sore, though - but to be fair, continuing to swim on it for several hours after developing the problem was never going to be the most sensible way to manage an injury. I'm hoping that a week or so more rest will do the trick. I've also been looking at some of the bits of film, and have noticed that I always sight forwards from the right, and it looks like this causes me to lever myself up on my left arm a bit - this is probably something I need to try and balance out to reduce the strain.
I've been trying to think about how to approach the next few months of training. I want to stay out of the water for a couple of weeks to let my shoulder recover; psychologically, I also think it's quite good to have a bit of a break before getting back down to it as I don't want to get stale - there's a long way to go yet. So, in the mean time, I've been thinking about what my training programme is going to be. One of the things I didn't do enough of last year was cross training, so in addition to swim training (mostly focusing on technique, plus speed training), I'm going to use the next few months to try and get back into the gym work, plus some running and a bit of cycling. It's frustrating, but although I'm probably the fittest I've ever been right now, I'm also very unfit where running / cycling are concerned, so it's pretty much back to the beginning there, but hopefully it'll come back slowly.
But here is my confession - I really don't like cycling... I find it uncomfortable and difficult, and am really very rubbish at it indeed - think Miss Marple, or Mary Poppins (without the gift of flight). The thing is, I really think that I should like it - outdoors, nature, exhileration, wind in your face...and all that. Plus, lots of people I really like and admire LOVE cycling, and I know there must be something there that I've just not been able to tap into yet. So, today marks the beginning of Project "Learn to Love Cycling". It has to remain very much a secondary activity to support the swimming for this year, but my goals over the winter are to (a) get myself a decent bike that fits me; and (b) get my strength and confidence up to ride it without looking ridiculous or wanting to leave it in a ditch and take the bus home. Watch this space.
As a rather nostalgic and sentimental aside, I saw my mum yesterday, and she had dug out this photo of me - aged five, on holiday in Majorca:
I remember that holiday really well - I swam my first unaided width in the hotel pool there. You will notice however that I am wearing a shirt in the pool - sunburn was always the greater threat in my mum's eyes than us being sucked under by clothing not designed for submersion. It's no wonder my brother and I became strong swimmers.
She had some great pictures of my grandad, Harry Cornforth, from the 1930's looking incredibly dashing in his full-body knitted swim suit - he was a splendid swimmer and a seriously good water polo player (even trialling for the Olympics). Once we've sorted them, I'll post some of them up. He would have loved all this Channel stuff.