Thursday 19th September – The Last Training Session
The plan today is to just have a leisurely swim without the wetsuit and maybe finish early. There is a reason for this.
With the event happening in less than 48 hours’ time, I am more concerned with the logistics of getting there and the process of the day before the swim than training sessions now. My journey driving the 300 kilometres from Yambol to Sofia Airport will start very early in the morning as the flight leaves at 12:05. Having looked at all public transport options, I can only say it would be dodgy, to say the least knowing how it works here. Then, once landed in the UK three and a half hours later, it will be a coach from Stanstead to London, Victoria. The place I am staying at is an hour walking distance of Coach Station, so no further public transport needed. I will look forward to stretching my legs after being seated most of the day.
Because I live abroad, the event pack is not being posted to me but has to be picked up on the day at Serpentine one hour before the start. Just hope the official swimming cap fits. Another bonus is that there will some kind of person there to come to my rescue and zip up my wetsuit!
So, did my plan got to plan today in the pool today?
No, I decided not to go training at the eleventh hour! Whatever I did in the pool today it wouldn't make any difference to what happens Saturday. Besides, I do feel tired and a bit worn-out after all this time. I just want to get on with the event and take a breather from swimming.
It has been a nightmare trying to book a parking space near Sofia Airport. The system requires you to have a third party account before you can book. This includes an intensive security process involving downloading a profile picture and ID document scans that had to be downloaded. It took two days to finally get the booking in. Nightmare, like I said.
Then there are the Serpentine event pictures which are half price if booked before the event. Because I live abroad and don’t have a UK postcode linked with any of my bank accounts, I can’t pay for the picture bundle. To be fair AWOL the company that is taking the pictures have been helpful but helpless. All they could suggest was to get someone in the UK to pay on my behalf. Again this has taken 4 days to date and still not booked up to date. My son hopefully will take care of that.
Then there is bloody RyanAir who I know are the worst airline going, but I had no choice. Booking in was fine to go out, but then they tactically ask you to book a reserved seat before you can check in 24 hours before the due flight. They know that most do not have a printer in their holiday suitcase and the inconvenience of getting a boarding pass printed out from another source. This is almost criminal. I had to pay a fee to reserve my seat therefore and am very bitter about that. I might add that I am not in the least surprised with they snide policies from past experiences with them. Oh, and 50 Euros charge if a boarding pass is not presented!
Traveling light is the name of the game tomorrow, not just because of the want but because of RyanAir’s measly free baggage allowance. Just enough room for a wetsuit, tow float, and towel.
The only thing that went to plan was the booking of a room near Hyde Park for one night, This was done some 6 months ago and thankfully sorted.
Even trying to print out the coach ticket for the return trip from Stanstead to Victoria Coach Station took 2 days to sort. With the long summer heatwave, my printer cartridge dried up and I had to get a refill before it could be churned out.
All I have been saying to myself over the last week is, ‘Nothing’s Easy!’
Almost all of these hurdles now out of the way, hopefully, all the work put in over the last 7 months will be worth it. Just enjoying the challenge which from many months I thought could not be achieved. No matter what I will complete the 2-miles on a day where it is forecast sunny and warm in London.
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