Wednesday, 21 December 2016
On the back of an amazing swim in Coniston, I began looking to see if there were any other events nearby that I could enter. If I'm being honest I also wanted to have another bash at a 10k, and it would be a shame to not have a go whilst I was fit enough. Sure enough there was at the Blue Lagooners. We had been training there all through the season, and so it was a familiar venue. It's a great place with no nasty fish - it was my first question... so if I was going to have a good swim, it was going to be here.
My son had volunteered to be part of the safety crew and was part way round on one of the kayaks. It was lovely to have him there. It was a hot day, and the water temperature was 18 degrees. Perfect. The course was 10 laps of the full lake with a 100 metre sprint from the end back round to the beginning. There was going to be trouble. Diving in at the start of each lap was my first problem, you see I don't do diving in. My most previous attempt at a dive was actually a non-dive off the jetty at Hatfield in May. The jetty there is just so high that you could practically class it as tombstoning! And I'm not great with heights for a start. Despite the best efforts of the guys at Hatfield and the words of encouragement and bribery from Shark, I did attempt to dive in. Let's just say that it didn't go well and the red/ slightly purple, sore mark on my stomach afterwards was quite something. I'm not convinced that the looks on their faces afterwards was sympathy, shock or amusement. The time before that, and the reason that I don't/can't do it, was when I dived into water 35 years previously when I face planted the bottom of the shallow end at my local swimming pool. Now every time I attempt to overcome my fear I just see blue mosaic tiles, whether it's pool or a lake where I am assured that the bottom is 4 metres away, it doesn't matter. Still the dive did bag me a certificate at the Swimyourswim Christmas bash. I'm both delighted and offended at the same time!
The second problem was the 10 exits. From previous posts you'll know that I am rather unstable exiting the water. This is much improved by ear plugs, but there is still a good chance that I will make a complete idiot of myself, and possibly injure myself, or worse a spectator... still, I was prepared to risk it if they were. I actually did ok. The first two exits were less than perfect as expected, and I swear I ran double the distance I was meant to trying to right myself, but I worked out that if I came out like the March of Man I was ok. I wasn't the fastest, but it was most definitely the safest, give or take one collision (no man or beast was injured but there is a piece of blue carpet with an edge missing, and one toe (mine) with a blue nail.
The whole day was brilliant. I really enjoyed it, despite the less than professional entry, and the drunken stagger out (a huge thank you to the team for extracting me safely. They must possess some strength that's for sure), I was really pleased, and very relieved. And am the proud owner of a huge medal capable of causing serious neck injury if worn for too long. Worth it though!