Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Part 9

The weekend of Coniston has finally arrived!!!

We had driven up to The Lakes the night before, otherwise it would have been a very early start, but as we got nearer the darker the sky became. The forecast for the day of the swim was cloudy, and already it wasn't looking good. We went to where we would finish the swim to dip a toe in, literally testing the water, and decided that cold and choppy was the prognosis for the following day's swim.

Coniston the night before the swim.
The day of the swim arrived. I forced myself to eat some scrambled egg on toast, but didn't really taste it. The weather had brightened, and the wind had dropped; it was looking really nice - between the clouds. The temperature of the lake was warmer than the day before so it wasn't too bad. I knew it would take me a good mile to warm through, with the exception of my toes that are almost always cold regardless. 

The view from the Bluebird Cafe, Coniston
The swim was amazing, and we wouldn't have been in better hands. The support crew were constantly monitoring us, and our canoeist went above and beyond to help Shark with her foot cramp. I just wish I had a photo of it to share. I had no idea she was so flexible (and in a wetsuit too, who knew?)! The motorised support boat provided us with water and Jelly Babies and Jaffa Cakes (delighted). I took one, but it ended up in the lake before I had even attempted a bite. Ever tried treading water whilst holding one above the water line? No, thought not. It's like dunking it in tea, which professional Jaffa Cake eaters know doesn't bode well for the cake, and also shouldn't even be attempted. Ever. Developing a technique is something worth working on though for future swims, and was the focus of my thoughts for the next mile or so. 

The swim was going really well, and it was only in the last mile or so did I have a meerkat moment (you know those ones where something unexpected touched you? Or not, as is sometimes the case... When you stop dead in your tracks and look around like a meerkat with a worried/terrified look on your face - of which I have many!!!). I wasn't the only one, Shark had felt it too. There was no need to look under the water to see the cause for concern, you could see it. Weeds! Huge weeds and lots of them. Aside from the obvious problem of getting tangled up in them, my other, more pressing concern, was aquatic livestock! It lives/hides/hunts in this stuff. There was no way I was even attempting a food stop in this predatory environment. My strategy to survive the last mile? Eyes closed, stay close to Shark and kick like hell!

The time went so quickly I couldn't believe we were at the end, and despite a ropey exit worthy of an Oscar, where I banged my knee (I still need to work on this), we had survived in one piece!

Celebratory champagne, certificates and of course cake followed along with an amazing sense of achievement. 

That's me collecting my certificate whilst clutching some champagne.
It's a small bottle, I don't have enormous hands!

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