To push your endurance limits to new heights takes a finely tuned body, one that has been conditioned over many months, even years. It takes...READ MORE
Adventure doesn’t always have to be found in the far flung corners of our planet, and this expedition proved to be one of the toughest and most fascinating yet for me. In August of 2013 I set off to become the first female in history to swim the length of the Thames River, starting from it’s source in the middle of a rather unremarkable field of cows in Gloucestershire.
It all began with a 13 mile run from the Thames Head to Cricklade where it was deep enough to wade. Six miles later, after swimming into a submerged shopping trolly and unexpectedly stepping into someone’s old shoe lodged into the slimey riverbed, I reached Lechlade and deeper water. Oxford brought the gentle, rumbling hum of passing river traffic, whist the city of Reading saw the first signs of ‘Thames tummy’ emerge which was to stick with me to London.
ne thing I was not prepared for from this seemingly tame adventure was the storm that would rage inside my head as I battled the mental fatigue and weaknesses that comes with 10 hours of solitude a day, every day. Fifty percent of my view for the day was of the side of a paddleboard, the other fifty percent spent staring into the monotony of muddy brown water. I was unable to speak in the water, hear due to wax earbuds, nor see much with foggy goggles and murky water.
As exhaustion, illness and cold took residence in my body, the seeds of doubt, negativity and frustration took hold in my mind, eventually waging a quiet war internally as I glided stroke after stroke down the Thames with those watching on non the wiser. The lessons I learnt on this swim have taught me essential skills that will be invaluable for my mental fitness in future expeditions.