Oceans Seven......Pat's Adventure of a Lifetime

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rest and Recovery during Marathon Swim Training

My last few postings on my blog have been about my swim training for July 2015 solo attempt of the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.  As I previously mentioned, my training includes endurance swims, cold acclimation, and cross training ( weight lifting, rowing machine, speed walks, etc).  Today, I would like to focus on the importance of rest. In my early years of training, I would train 6 days a week and felt guilty when I took one day off.  But after 18 years of being an open water swimmer, I have come to realize that rest days are necessary for recovery from the necessary long and hard training days.  Sometimes I may take three days off in a row to let my body get "energized".  My best advice for an athlete is to listen to their body. A swimmer will not gain anything if they arrive at the start of a solo swim feeling exhausted and sore from over training. So, enjoy taking a few days off from training and you may find that you will feel stronger and more energized.   Enjoy your days off!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Swimming Boot Camp

In less than ten months I will be attempting a solo swim of the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland. To prepare for such a challenging swim at the age of 64, I have increased my training.  I continue to work as a nurse 32 hours per week and help care for my grandchildren 40 plus hours per week.  On my days off from work, I capitalize on my training.  I call it my "Swim Boot Camp".  I will swim, cross train, and lift weights all in the same day for at least 3 days per week. I vary each bootcamp day with endurance swims, eliptical workouts, treadmill, rowing machine, powerwalk/jogs, stretch cords workouts, core workouts, etc.  I cannot afford a trainer so I go to Youtube and watch a number of their videos on swim training.  There are several outstanding swim videos with great workouts. My swim boot camp for the month of October will be a 4 to 5 hour training day.During the other days my training is less due to work and family commitments.  As each month gets closer to my target date of the North Channel, I will increase my training hours of swimming and cross train for a couple of hours all in the same day. I will not taper until I board the plane for Ireland.  Today, I had a boot camp day.  This morning I swam for 2.5 hours and incorporated speed work in the last hour. Afterwards, I combined a power walk and jog for one hour. Then, I used a rowing machine for half hour.  Afterwards, I weight lifted for an hour....I worked on my upper body and core. Then, I used swimming stretch cords to work on my technique.  Also, I continue to follow a healthy eating plan.  I consume healthy snack every two hours during my training and I drink lots of water.  Since I'm trying to lose weight, I watch my carbohydrate intake, too.  So far I have lost about 15 pounds.  Also, I have continued with cold acclimation. On the day I attempt the North Channel, I know that I will have done all the necessary training to cross this grueling channel.

Friday, August 29, 2014

North Channel swim training update

My next solo swim attempt of the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland will occur in about 11 months.  My training includes endurance swims, weight lifting 3 x per week, and cross training. (And yes, I still work 32 hours a week as a nurse and help care for my 3 young grandchildren 40+ hours per week).    Last year I intentionally gained weight to help fight off the notoriously cold waters of the Irish Sea.  The extra weight on a swimmer is somewhat comparable to wearing a wetsuit....it keeps you warm.   The extra weight certainly helped me to stay warm but it significantly slowed me down, too.  I made the decision to lose some of the excess weight to see if my swim speed will improve. I plan to continue with cold acclimation by swimming late into the swim season here in Maine.   For the past few weeks, I've been consuming smaller portions and following a healthy eating plan. I am very pleased with my progress. I want to have a successful solo crossing next year and I will do all the necessary hard training to reach my goal.....and, I realize there is an element of "LUCK" involved with Mother Nature.  I hope next year she will be kind and give me weak currents off the coast of Scotland.  But in the meantime, I will train hard and hope for the best.    

Monday, July 14, 2014

Training for the North Channel

In July of 2015 I will be returning to Ireland to attempt another solo crossing of the North Channel. Last year Mother Nature provided some very strong currents off the coast of Scotland preventing me from reaching the finish line. My attempt ended after swimming 16 hours and 43 minutes in 58-59 degree water and less than one mile from the finish.  It was gut-wrenching not to finish but I was not defeated.  In the past few months my swimming has been in the early season of swim training. But, now I need to crank it up a notch and enter the mid-season of swim training (mid July to December).  This will include cross-training such as workouts on the elliptical machine, stationary bike, and weight training.  I will swim at least four days per week for 3+ hour each day. Every other week I will have a four to five hour swim in one day and gradually increase the time and continue with my normal swim schedule.  And yes, I still works as a nurse 4 days per week and help care for my three young grandchildren(ages 6, 3 and 2 years old) forty plus hours per week.  You may ask where do I find the time to train?  It takes much planning.... My days off from work and time off from caring for my grandchildren, are scheduled as my long training days.  The days that I work and care for my young grandchildren, I plan short sessions of cross training.  You are invited to follow my blog for updates every two weeks on my training.  I will post the first and third week of each month.   Happy Swimming!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peaks to Portland 2014

   The 33rd annual Peaks to Portland swim was held today under sunny skies with air temperature in the 70's and water temperature of 58 degrees. A strong incoming tide brought colder currents not anticipated by many swimmers.  Most of the 363 swimmers wore wetsuits and only a handful of swimmers followed the old tradition to swim without a wetsuit. Nine brave swimmers were pulled from the chilly waters of Casco Bay. I applaud all swimmers for their participation in this wonderful event promoted by the YMCA as a fundraiser for their swim programs.  Again, the Y promoted a safe open water swim as clearly shown by the many volunteers monitoring the swim and attending to the needs of swimmers with hypothermia.
  The winner of the Men's Non-Wetsuit Division was Simon Wignal of Falmouth, Maine with a time of 0:46:48.4  and the winner of the Women's Non-Wetsuit Division was Julie Dansereau of Windham, Maine with a time of 0:49:28.8.   I applaud their speed, endurance, and desire to follow the tradition of non-wetsuits.
   The winner of the Men's Wetsuit Division Scott Yeoman of Bethlehem,Pa and the winner of the Women's Wetsuit Division was Cheryl Daly of Maine.
   Congratulation to all swimmers....it was an incredible event.  Many thanks to the Y and all volunteers for their dedication in promoting the Peaks to Portland. 
 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Appreciation of sponsorship

I would like to thank Keller Williams Realty of Maine for their very generous contribution toward my next marathon swim scheduled for 2015.  Their support is greatly appreciated. Last year when I listed my home with Julie Kocian of Keller Williams Realty, she had my home under contract within a week.  If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Maine, I would highly recommend their company. In appreciation of their support, I will proudly wear their logo on my swim cap.   Many thanks to Keller Williams Realty.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Working Class Athlete

Today Arena Water Instinct posted an article on their website about my swimming endeavors. Many of my swims have been in memory of my brother Robbie who died at the age of 34 from a sudden and unexpected heart attack. I am very grateful to Arena for writing about the global swim event "Swim for your Heart" to bring an awareness to heart disease and its prevention.  http://www.waterinstinct.com/water-life/pat-gallant-charette-working-class-athlete/
Contact information: patgallant.charette@gmail.com

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Bucket List of Marathon Swims

People from all over the world have their own personal list of goals they want to accomplish in their life.  I have a special bucket list of 15 marathon swims that I would love to achieve.   At the age of 63, I continue to work as a nurse to fund my swims and help care for my three young grandchildren (ages 6, 3 and 2 years old) forty plus hours per week and train in my  spare time. I believe I have many more years of swimming ahead of me. I am very proud to say that my mother is nearly 90 years old and still swims three days a week. And now the drum roll, please:     Pat's Bucket List of Marathon swims:    #1 English Channel (done 2011), #2 Catalina Channel (done 2011), #3 Strait of Gibraltar (done 2010), #4 Tsugaru Channel (done 2012), #5 North Channel in Ireland-- plan to re-attempt in 2015, #6 Cook Strait in New Zealand--plan to re-attempt in 2016, #7 Molokai Channel in Hawaii in 2017, #8 Manhattan Marathon Swim, #9 Swim around Key West,  #10 Lake Ontario, #11 Loch Ness in Scotland, #12 Tampa Bay Marathon swim, #13 Lake Tahoe swim, #14 Rottnest swim in Australia, #15 Lake Zurich in Switzerland.
 

 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

From spectator mom to adventurous athlete....

It is a great honor for me to be one of the 10 adventurous athletes over the age of 60 featured in "Life by DailyBurn" a health and fitness website.http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-athletes-over-60/

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Maine Swimming Hall of Fame induction

On April 12, 2014 I will be inducted into the Maine Swimming Hall of Fame. I feel very honored and humbled by this award.
Many years ago at the age of forty-six, I considered myself a spectator mom.  I was very involved in my children's sport activities. The extent of my exercise was going for a walk around the neighborhood.  I knew how to swim but I did not swim as a form of exercise.  Then one day tragedy struck my family....my younger brother, Robbie, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of thirty-four.  It was a devastating loss. At that time, my son Tom was sixteen years old and a member of his high school swim team.   He said he wanted to swim the Peaks to Portland (2.4 mile ocean swim) as a tribute to his Uncle Robbie.  My brother won the P2P twice. I said to my young son, "That's so sweet! I wish I could do the same." He responded encouragingly, "You can, if you try". His words motivated me to start training for my very first open water swim. I remembered having a lot of self-doubt about my swimming ability.  On my very first day of training, I asked the lifeguard to keep a watchful eye on me because I was unsure if I could swim two laps of the pool.  As each day passed my endurance and confidence improved.  My love of open water swimming blossomed into a passion of marathon swimming in iconic locations worldwide. And founding the global swim event "Swim for Your Heart" to bring an awareness of heart disease and its prevention.
I can't thank my family and friends enough for their unending love and support.
 Along this journey I have come to  realize that a person is never too young to give words of encouragement and a person is never too old to listen to them. 
 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mexico's "Swim for Your Heart" 2014 Event

Mexico's "Swim for Your Heart" event had 21,000 swimmers participating to bring an awareness of heart disease and prevention. The sport of swimming was emphasized to help promote a heart healthy lifestyle. Over 100 nurses were at 79 pool locations throughout Mexico that included 24 public pools, 15 private clubs and 40 Sport City pools. They provided free blood pressure screening and gave handouts on heart disease prevention to all participants.  They are to be applauded for their effort and dedication.  This event received support from the local government of Mexico City, and from Mexico's federal government and private sector.  The Mexico Heart Foundation was the recipient of a donation from this event.   Many open water swimmers supported this cause along with Antonio Arguelles, Mariel Hawley Davila, Nora Toledano.  A large press conference was held at Sport City Fitness Center. The room was filled with reporters from several newspapers, radio, and television stations. Also, local celebrity athletes were there to promote this event.   Local and state dignitaries spoke about the importance of physical exercise especially swimming to keep the heart healthy, including Dr. Hermes Liarraza from the National Institute of Cardiology. Many community businesses supported this event. I would like to thank all the swimmers, community leaders, local and state dignitaries, businesses for their support in this worthy cause.  A special thank you to Antonio Arguelles who was one of the main organizers.  His passion to bring awareness of heart disease prevention by promoting swimming to his country is to be commended. 
  I swam in memory of my brother Robbie who died at the age of 34 from a heart attack.  He was unaware that he had heart disease.  Also, I swam in memory of Ivar Sisniega's brother who died two weeks ago in his mid-thirties from a heart attack.  Sadly, Ivar had another brother who died one year ago to the day from the same problem. 
  We need to continue to support heart programs throughout the world and to encourage people to swim as a means to stay heart healthy, and to see their health care provider to assess their blood pressures and cholesterol blood screening.  Thank you.
  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mexico Nurse's take part in Swim for Your Heart


 Mexico's "Swim for Your Heart" was a huge success. 21,000 swimmers participated at 79 locations throughout Mexico.  Many thanks to all the nurses who provided free blood pressures and gave heart healthy pamphlets to all participants. There were over 100 nurses helping to promote heart disease awareness.  I had the pleasure of meeting the nurses above.  Their hard work and dedication was very much appreciated.  I will be posting an update on the event in a couple of days.  I will be traveling back to Maine in the next few hours. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Swim for Your Heart

On February 14, 2014 swimmers worldwide will join in thought and action to bring an awareness of heart disease prevention. It is a great honor for me to be here in Mexico City to help promote their event.  As of today,  20,000 swimmers have registered to swim 1 Km for their heart. It will be the largest global swim event promoting the benefits of swimming to prevent heart disease. I would like to thank Antonio Arguelles for his amazing dedication and hard work to educate and promote wellness in his country.  Also, I would like to thank Paul Smith of Grupo Marti, Pablo Kuri Morales the Undersecretary of Health, Prevention, and Promotion, and Hilda Davila Chavez the Director General of International Relations for meeting with me today.  They are working very hard to promote a healthy lifestyle in Mexico. It was a great honor for me to meet them.  I appreciate their support for the event Swim for Your Heart.  Also, I would like to thank Sport City for their involvement and the many other organizations that have worked very hard to make this event so special.  And lastly, I thought of my brother Robbie today.  He died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age 34.  He was unaware that he had heart disease. On February 14, I will be swimming in his memory and I will make a donation to my favorite heart charity as a tribute to him.  I hope you will join me and make a donation to YOUR favorite heart charity in memory of your loved one.  Thank you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Swim for Your Heart....in Mexico

In Mexico, swimmers throughout the country will be going for a swim on Friday, February 14 to bring an awareness of heart disease and its prevention.  Swimming is known to be one of the very best exercise for cardiac wellness. My friend and marathon swimmer Antonio Arguelles of Mexico has organized a large event promoting swimming for the benefit of a healthy heart.  I applaud his dedication and hard work in organizing "Swim for Your Heart".  Antonio invited me to visit him and all the swimmers in Mexico City.  I accepted his wonderful invitation.  I will be meeting him on Thursday for a swim at Sport City Coyoacan, Mexico.  Sport City has been one of the major supporters of this event.  They have shown a strong commitment to bring attention to cardiac wellness in their country. They are leading the way on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.  Also, Antonio has arranged a meeting with Miguel Angel Mancera, Mayor of Mexico City; Pablo Kuri Morales, Undersecretary of Health Prevention and Promotion, and Paul Smith the CEO of Grupo Marti.  It will be a great honor for me to meet these distinguished dignitaries.  Also, to promote the event in Mexico, a radio interview with Pablo Carrillo will take place on Thursday to help promote the event.
   I am inviting swimmers throughout the world to join us in thought and action by going for a swim on February 14 in your country and send a donation to your favorite heart charity.  "Swim for Your Heart" is a global swim event to bring an awareness of the benefits of swimming for heart health and to promote heart disease prevention.  Thank you.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Retirement?

At the age of 63, I continue to work as a nurse 32 hours per week and help care for my three young grandchildren (ages 5, 3, and 2) for 40+ hours a week.  I train for my marathon swims in my spare time.  In the past several months, I have been asked if I plan to retire from marathon swimming. My response, "Absolutely not!" I believe that I have many more years of marathon swimming ahead of me. There are so many wonderful swims worldwide that I would love to attempt.  However, the expense of these swims is very costly and I need to continue to work to pay for these swims. I love the sport of marathon swimming.....Mother Nature has not dampened my spirit to continue with my open water swim adventures.  If anything, Mother Nature has energized my determination.  For me, the sport of marathon swimming is more than reaching the finish line.....it's the journey. My swim of Cook Strait in New Zealand, was an adventure of a lifetime. And, although Mother Nature was stronger than my swimming, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.  And, now onto the next swim adventure.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cook Strait swim result

My crew and I departed from the North  Island of New Zealand along with Philip Rush and his crew to travel to the South Island. We were informed that weather forecast for later that morning would have increase winds.  With only 4 days left to our trip. We decided to go for it.  Wind conditions on the South Island, was perfect.  However , calm conditions can be deceiving.  My crew and I held hands to pay tribute Matt Rairdon.  His name was written on my upper arm.  My brothers Robbie and Johnny had their names on my forearm.  My crew and I wore our "Westbrook Strong" t-shirts on board .  As I started my swim, I had a 3 hour delay due to swirling currents keeping me in place. Four hours into the swim, conditions worsened. (I will post a video when I return to Maine next week.).  I started having issues with seasickness. However, I felt strong enough to continue. I actually enjoyed swimming in the very choppy conditions.  I noticed the finish line was not getting any closer after nearly 10 hours of swimming.  Swim legend Philip Rush, the organizer of my swim, said the current had changed (pulling me away from the finish)and it would be impossible to make the finish line.   I knew my choices: continue to swim for another 10 hours and be  further out in the Pacific Ocean or call it quits.   I asked Philip to stop the swim.   I felt strong enough to continue with my swim if Mother Nature was on my side. But, she was not.
I was disappointed that I did not finish the swim because this would have been a world record. However, I am not defeated. I will continue with my swim adventures.  I discovered for myself that it's the journey that is more important in life than the destination.   Swimming Cook Strait was a remarkable experience.  I can't thank my crew enough for their support.  Also, many thanks to my family and friends for their words of encouragement.  And finally, I thought of Matt Rairdon and his family several times during my swim. My brother David who was in the smaller boat, held a sign "In memory of Matthew Rairdon".  Domestic violence needs to stop.  It is a growing global problem that needs more attention on prevention.

Mother Nature wins again...

SWIM UPDATE:
After almost 10 hours of swimming and over 1/2 the distance traveled Pat Gallant-Charette's Cook Strait swim has ended.

Her crew reports:
"Swim over. made it half way. Ended due to Severe sea sickness. she is still vomiting. Boat pilot severe sickness too. very rough seas. She asked to get out is what is being said. can't talk to her yet, just got her wrapped up."

We're still so proud of you Mom/Pat!
Great job; love ya!
 
 -Sarah, Tom, Jim, Gallant family and all of your friends


I'm sure Mom will be updating her blog and answering your questions once she is back on solid land and rested. Thank you for following along on her swim journey :-)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

9 miles to go...

The swim crew reports: "She has made progress but wind is picking up and now see whitecaps"
(She has been swimming for almost 7 hours)

Swimming strong, but tide is stonger...

SWIM UPDATE:
Text update reported by swim crew:
"Having difficulty ,very little progress in last 1.5 hrs. She continues to swim strong but tide is stronger"

She needs to break through it according to pilot . Tide changed at 10 and was to her Advantage. Thinks she is in an eddy."


It's a GOOOOOOO!

SWIM UPDATE:
Pat's crew reports she started her New Zealand Cook Strait swim at 08:26a.m. (14:26pm EST)
The crew reports it is sunny and the water is calm.
SWIM UPDATE:
I just received word from Pat's swim crew that they are almost to South Island.
It took them 2 hours by boat to get to the start of her swim.
She will be starting her swim soon!
SWIM UPDATE:
Text just received from Mom:
"Still at boat dock... One and half hour boat ride to start"

They have reported there have been delays in texting and no internet:(

I will report updates as I receive them.
It is currently Friday 6:20a.m. In New Zealand.
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SWIM UPDATE:
I just received an email from Mom "Pat Gallant-Charette"
as she waits in New Zealand for her marathon swim:

Hi Sarah, 
As far as my swim, weather has improved tremendously. Philip Rush will call me in 10 hours to confirm if it's a "go" for tomorrow. I will let you know as soon as I receive word.
If it is a "go", my swim will start around noon to 1p.m. Maine time zone on Thursday. Since New Zealand is 18 hours ahead, my swim will start between 6a.m. and 7a.m. on Friday.
I want you to be aware that text messages will be sent by Jeannie Pray Gallant who will be on the main boat. I have notice that some text messages that I have received from dad has been delayed. Jeannie has not had any issues with texting, but I heard that phone reception between the islands can "sometimes" be a problem.
Please let everyone know that my swim will be in memory of Matthew Rairdon. We will be wearing the "Westbrook Strong" t-shirts to show our support. Before my swim, I will mention Robbie and Johnny and their names will be on my forearm. Matt's name will be on my upper arm.
Other info: Cook Strait is 17 nautical miles with very strong tidal flow, aggressive marine life, I will be swimming between two boats. David and Philip Rush will be in the smaller zodiac boat and Jeannie will be in the larger boat with Philip's crew.
Please post on my blog updates due to several of my friends are not on Facebook. Refer Facebook friends to visit blog so you are not updating both sites.
I truly believe it will be a "go" for tomorrow . I will email you as soon as I receive confirmation.
Love,
Mom

Monday, January 20, 2014

Update from New Zealand

Weather conditions continue to be problematic.  However, it is expected for wind and rain to subside in a couple of days for 24 hours.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my boat pilot and organizer of my Cook Strait swim , Philip Rush, will approve a swim for Thursday (Maine time zone).  New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Maine so my swim may occur on Friday morning (New Zealand time zone)My crew and I have kept busy. Today I trained in Wellington Harbor during a heavy downpour of rain and strong winds. My crew stood on the beach in their rain gear and closely monitored my training.  I am blessed to have such a dedicated crew.  Yesterday, we experienced a 6.2 mag earthquake.  No injuries were reported. Some damage throughout the Wellington area.  At the airport a one ton ceiling display of an eagle collapsed. Last week on arrival to Wellington airport, we stood beneath this beautiful display of artwork.  We have felt minor aftershocks.  As soon as I receive confirmation from Philip Rush, I will post. My daughter Sarah will receive text messages from my crew during my swim and she will post on my blog.
 My swim will be in memory of Matthew Rairdon of Westbrook who died a few months ago in my hometown from domestic violence.  He was a very caring and compassionate young man. On the day we arrived in New Zealand, headline news reported the death of two young children from domestic violence on the South Island of New Zealand. This news was very heartbreaking.  Domestic violence occurs in every country and there is no simple solution to solving this major problem.  I hope you will join me in bringing an awareness to this very tragic problem.  Thank you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cook Strait swim dedicated to Matthew Rairdon

 My crew and I will be leaving in a couple of days to travel to New Zealand for my upcoming swim attempt of Cook Strait scheduled for the week of January 20th.   This 17 nautical mile swim will start on the North Island and finish on the South Island. Cook Strait is known as one of the most difficult swims in the world due to its cold water, swift currents, and aggressive marine life. I will be swimming between two boats under the guidance of boat pilot Philip Rush. Again, my brother David an Orthopedic Nurse, and his wife Jeannie a cardiac nurse will accompany me as my experienced crew. I am very grateful to both of them for their unending support. My daughter Sarah, a dialysis nurse, will update my blog as soon as the swim starts.
  In prior marathon swims, I have dedicated the event to someone who has inspired me.  I am dedicating my swim in memory of 22 year old Matthew Rairdon of Westbrook who tragically died a few months ago from domestic violence.  Matthew grew up in my hometown of Westbrook, graduated from Westbrook High School and St. Joseph's College with a Degree in Nursing.  He worked in the Emergency Room at Mercy Hospital.  Matthew was a young man who was greatly loved and admired. Along with his family and friends, the Westbrook community mourns the loss of this wonderful, caring young man.
  The Westbrook community has started a fund raising drive called "Westbrook Strong..Matthew Rairdon Scholarship Fund".  They are selling T-shirts to raise money for scholarships to a Nursing School Program. As a nurse, I have joined this effort.....my crew and I will wear the "Westbrook Strong" t-shirt the day of my swim in New Zealand.  Moments prior to the start of my marathon swim, we will join hands and dedicate our day to Matthew.  
  I hope you will join us by making a donation to the Matthew Rairdon Scholarship Fund.  You can make a donation at Evergreen Credit Union, c/o Pauline Campbell, P.O Box 1038, Portland, Maine 04104-1038.    Thank you.