Sligo woman, Clodagh Murray kindly shared her story with us. Read all about the build up and training involved in her swim across the English Channel.
"Swimming the channel solo has always been a dream for me. It is a huge undertaking but its something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. It took me 10 hours and 51 minutes to get from Shakespeare beach in Dover to Cap-Gris-Nez in France, all 22 miles of it! More importantly, it took several months of training to get to the start line and many years to build up the courage to even try.
This is a challenge that has been on my mind since I was 10 years old and now I’m delighted to be able to say I’ve done it. I’d dreamt of going under 12 hours so when I stood up in France and realised I’d gone under 11 hours I couldn’t quite believe it. I’ll never forget the feeling when I heard that I was the second fastest Irish female and within the top five of all Irish swimmers to ever make the crossing.
I’d worked hard and it had paid off. The real work was in the months running up to it more so than the day of the swim itself. In many ways that’s the actual challenge. Working part time as a pharmacist and studying full time to become a doctor, finding the time to train was difficult. Life was pretty hectic!
The preparation for swimming the English Channel is tough. I trained throughout the winter under the watchful eye of Coach David Warby of Connect to Perform. My average week consisted of six swims, two gym sessions and three to four yoga classes. For me, yoga and meditation were a huge part of mental side of my preparation. Life was pretty demanding but I still managed to fit in 20-25 hours of training a week.
I had to be so organized with my time, there wasn’t really anytime off. My recovery day was usually a Saturday so then I could work in Life Pharmacy in Ballsbridge.
In one sense, I had a particularly difficult run up to the crossing and yoga helped me through this allowing me to remain calm and focused. Once I get through my medical training I hope to complete a Yoga instructor course- it’s become a really important part of my life.
I didn’t really mind the hard work. I didn’t really notice the sacrifice because I wanted to swim the English Channel. I wanted it badly.
I almost missed my chance to take on one of the world’s toughest sporting challenges because of bad weather. I spent a full week waiting in Dover for the right weather conditions and was finally told at 8pm on the evening before that I would be starting the swim at 5.50am the next morning, August 14.
The waiting was one of the most grueling aspects of the entire endeavor. It’s what also makes it so different to other sporting challenges as there is no exact start time or date. It is all down to Mother Nature so you need to be ready to peak when the weather Gods decide to play ball. If I didn’t get a break in the weather, I would have been told to come back next year.
Conditions were rough for a large part of the swim, with winds reaching force three and four at different stages. The choppiness felt relentless, like there was no let up in the wind.
I took Revive Active daily in the months coming up to the swim so that I’d be in peak condition. I couldn’t afford to be under the weather otherwise my training or my studies would have suffered. I had to be realistic- I still had exams to sit.
I really noticed Revive’s effects in terms of the sustained energy levels and shorter recovery times, especially after heavy training weeks or the longer swims. It really did reduce my fatigue levels particularly after I’d been taking it for 3 or 4 weeks. I feel like it had a really positive effect on my immune system too as I never felt sick or run down despite all of the training, work and study.
I first came across Revive Active when I was working full time as a pharmacist in Brogan’s Total Health Pharmacy Boyle, Roscommon. I used to take it intermittently or during busy, stressful periods. I then read an article online saying the Olympic walker Rob Heffernan was taking it, so I thought if it’s good enough for an Olympian in training it’s definitely going to be beneficial. I don’t know about Rob but I even noticed my nails and hair growing much quicker!"
Thanks for sharing your story with us Clodagh, you are an inspiration.