Thursday, 22 December 2016

Part 11

The end of the open water season was nearing and so when Shark suggested that we combine a girls weekend in London and one more swim, The Serpentine, then of course it was a yes.

I hadn't realised that Shark had wanted a quiet weekend away. I boarded the train to find she had booked us in the quiet carriage. It's safe to say I (we) was doomed to fail before we'd left the railway station. Unfortunately for our fellow passengers we had brought with us some Fat Rascals which happen to be the noisiest thing to eat ever. In addition they are not a small snack and are best washed down with prosecco, half a bottle to be exact (we discovered). The unfortunate side effect of this combination was that we started giggling. I apologised using a whispered voice, but I must have appeared very insincere as I immediately stifled my laughter. I am far worse at this than Shark, and added to the stupid texts that went between us, our only way of communicating, it just made me worse.

The journey was a very long 2.5 hours. I don't think I've ever gone so long without talking before. I was shocked that I even succeeded. I felt very smug. A friend of Shark's had offered us use of his flat for the weekend which happened to be not 5 minutes from The Serpentine and to help us settle in, instead of having an early night, to ready ourselves for the race the following day we opened a bottle of champagne. We had nothing to celebrate  and it certainly wasn't the best idea we've had. We limped to bed far later than originally planned. Safe to say it was a struggle to wake up the following day. Our wave was the first one at 10am, and so thankfully didn't need to leave until 8.30 in the morning.

Sussing out the start line prior to the swim.
We were very lucky, it was a beautiful, warm day. we were early so took the time to have a wander about and familiarise ourselves. Friends had joked that I may need some jabs prior to getting in, but I felt that armed with the bottle of Cola that Shark had provided for afterwards, I'd got it covered. We got changed and wandered to the holding pen, where, after we were checked in spotted a (small) dead fish floating near the start line. We tried and failed to make some light hearted quip about it, so after a deep discussion about the possible causes of its death, we move on to talk about the possibility that we would be able to swim without swallowing any water at all after deciding that must have been how the fish died. The sad reality was that it was very unlikely however it wouldn't be without our very best efforts not to. I suggested we nip back to our bags so I could make one last phone call home to tell my family that I loved them, but the theatrical eye roll from Shark suggested I had just overstepped the being overly dramatic line.

The race started and we were off. There was no need to swim with eyes closed which is my usual 'go to' when I'm scared because even with eyes open I couldn't see further than my elbow. A bad thing? Yes, but kept repeating myself "what the eyes can't see..." over and over until the end. I could have swum next to a giant man eating halibut and I'd have been none the wiser. I managed to keep my mouth well and truly clamped shut until I called to check Shark was ok... I only checked once!!!

It was actually a great swim, nasty mouthful of water aside, it was really well organised and well supported. We were rewarded for our efforts with a huge medal, and another swim crossed off the list and also brings everything right up to date.

Swim done and now off into the Big Smoke
 to celebrate with cake

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