Zoggs Swim Diaries: Swimming 65 Miles of the River Nene

2016-07-25-PHOTO-00000053Lisa Ryan is training to swim the length of the River Nene for charity, an incredible 65.6 miles over 9 days. Lisa shares with us the latest on her training and what's inspired her to take on the challenge.

My latest challenge is to swim the River Nene... a kind of David Walliams swim but in my local river.  The plan is to swim 65.6 miles over 9 days, from Northampton to Whittlesey. I am stopping at the Dog in a Doublet where the water becomes tidal. I have completed a channel swim equivalent in the river Nene before, 22 miles in one day which took 16 hours 15 mins.

Why do this? I am raising money for two projects that I have a close connection with. For the past four years (this being my 5th) I have visited Bulembu, a small town in Swaziland where they have a big orphan care programme. On my first visit I discovered they had a pool where I offered to give swimming lessons and I have done every year since. 2 years ago the pool was refurbished and now any money I raise goes to help fund the swimming project. The second project is swimming lessons for deaf children. Working together with some parents we decided there were no other projects around that addressed the issue of teaching deaf children to swim outside regular swimming sessions. So we decided to set up deaf friendly swimming lessons. These have been very successful and are now taking place in Stamford on a Friday evening. After starting the lessons 3 years ago and being one of the only schemes running this, they are the most rewarding sessions I teach.

Back to the challenge in hand. Being 9 days away, a training week at the moment consists of swimming Monday, Wednesday, Thursday some Fridays and Sundays, this will all be outdoors; indoors now actually seems like such hard work. The river is so warm at the moment, around 20 degrees, it is so pleasant to swim in and so nice to be outside whilst doing so. I have spent so long in the river the swans in the area where we swim seem to recognise us, often swimming alongside and watching us, it's quite sweet. I also do a fitness class on a Tuesday and a Thursday and a personal training session on a Friday, as well as working 40+ hours a week... tired most of the time doesn't cover it. That's not it, I still have support crews to sort and this week will see me on my way to getting the nutrition sorted from Go Protein. Having used them before when completing a 22 mile swim in a day I am not prepared to risk getting it wrong so am going to stick with what I know works.

Every time I fund raise I do something different.  I have walked on hot coals in bare feet, tackled big swims and completed the London Marathon twice. This one is a toughy...  right now I have trained right, I am eating right and enjoying the river. The apprehension comes from the thought of 9 days in a row of continuous shoulder movement and trying to imagine just how I keep doing that and how much it’s going to hurt... but it will all be worth it if more children can get access to this valuable and necessary life skill.

I am crazy to do it, feel crazy for doing it and am going crazy thinking about it.

If Lisa's story and projects have inspired you, then you can show your support by sponsoring her here.