Of course, since I was worried about how tired I’d be swimming a mile every four hours for twenty four hours, I planned to get lots of sleep the night before. And of course, since this was real life, I failed. For a start, I’d been on a (wonderful and a very enjoyable enjoyable) SLSC day trip to Stratford on Thursday, from which I ‘d returned at two am, so I wasn’t exactly dew-fresh to start with.
Then there was the timing. You can pitch tents at Guildford Lido for the event, which is a good idea as it gives you a base where you can leave all your stuff, change in between swims, and have a nap if you’re able to. They allow you to pitch your tents between the hours of five and six pm the night before the swim, and I’d volunteered to go down and put up our tent, kindly loaned by Ian, along with Helen.
By the time I’d picked Helen up, driven to Guildford, pitched the tent next to Mick and his brother with their giant SLSC flag, had a chat and driven back, it was seven pm. I’d also volunteered to drive the next morning, which meant getting up at 5.30 to get everything ready and packed, pick up the others and be down at Guildford by eight ready for the start at nine. By the time I’d had supper and was en route to bed it was nine pm, not terribly late, but it would still mean that I’d have less than the ten hours sleep I’d wanted to get. (Could I really have gone to bed at 7.30 pm? I don’t know, but as a general rule I can sleep on a clothesline at any time of day or night, so I wouldn’t put it past me.)
As it was, it was 9.30 when I put the light out, which meant eight hours sleep. Would I be too tired? How tired would I be? And how would it affect me? I suffer from restless legs, and driving back from Stratford at midnight on Thursday, my legs were like Cupid Stunts’s. Would I have restless legs at Guildford? The thought of feeling as though I’d been possessed by the vengeful spirit of Riverdance for hours on end was grim. And how would it affect my swimming? It’s bad enough trying to stay awake when you need to sleep, far worse when you have to force your soft, sleepy body, feeling as tender as if it’s short of a skin, into a chilly swimming pool to swim a mile. How bad would it be? Would I even be able to do it?