I've been fortunate enough to have had glorious sunshine for every open water swim this season so far, and today was no exception, but it turns out that a sunny day and perfect conditions do not always make for a good swim ...
We had decided on a three mile swim (9 laps) but would stop at 6 for a drink and to consider whether or not we wanted to continue. As soon as we set off I looked back at the banking to see fellow, and more diligent, swimmers warming up - Whereas we had just got in and hadn't - unlike us, but too late now. Half of the first lap in and my shoulders already felt tight, my watch was too loose and kept catching on my wrist and I was struggling to see out of my new "anti fog" goggles. The rest of the lap I spent talking myself out of getting out and calling it a day.
As we completed the first loop I stopped (well away from the buoy) to sort out my watch and my goggles. Whilst I was faffing about I was quite literally swum over by a swimmer doing breast stroke (and no apology offered😒)!?! How I wasn't seen I do not know, but on the plus side the large involuntary gulp of water I swallowed negated the need to get out to get a drink saving a little amount of time.
Setting off after our unauthorised stop my goggles once again fogged up. I was struggling to get into my stride without being able to sight properly. It was very unsettling. I didn't like it and knew I needed to stop again. This was forced sooner than I expected when I accidentally toe tapped Shark at the first buoy at which point she caught my eye and smirked, making me smile. The movement from which made my cloudy and not fit for purpose goggles leak ... This was not my day! We stopped again as I readjusted them. I persevered for a couple more laps with limited vision in one eye and almost none in the other. Enough! I got out at the start of the next lap, put on my spare goggles and got back in. Fog free we set off again.
It's especially busy at the moment with people training for the Great North Swim, and in previous years it has never bothered me, however this year all the time that I am swimming I am in self preservation mode. I'm really guarded around other swimmers and concerned that they will knock me or tap my feet. Added to this I was especially cautious after last week when whilst swimming as we went past the third buoy I managed to scrape my toe on the bottom. I thought I'd seen a huge fish and just panicked. The water level is particularly low at the moment and as it happens the 'huge fish' was actually the bottom of the lake. I limped back and after a brief examination from Shark was told it was a graze and to get over myself! I'm not sure I liked her bedside manner - and she's a nurse!
With my new all seeing eyes I was finally relaxing into my swim, that was until I got to the third buoy, and now that I could see again panicked when I saw the bottom (still very shallow after no rain) and pretty much swam over Shark to move to deeper water. As we finished this lap Shark stopped, and after a heartfelt apology and explanation she suggested that we swap sides swimming. I am a creature of habit. Shark always swims on my left side, and I really didn't like the idea of change, however I liked the idea of scraping my toe on the bottom again even less, so to avoid further injury I agreed, and during the next lap gave myself a lengthy internal talking to, yet despite this did exactly the same again, only this time not to Shark, but to the man from early doing the breast stroke! There's Karma at work right there! After a fleeting (and I'll admit not very heartfelt) apology I carried on, swimming more towards the middle of the lake, incurring no further injury. Phew!
I was tired from the off, and usually would be considering some food to combat this, but I was tired due to a sleepless night, not from swimming and wasn't convinced that any amount of Jelly Babies or food would have perked me up, so kept going. We completed the swim and although it hadn't felt fast (probably due to all the stops), surprisingly it was. Feeling uplifted there was one final hurdle - to get out of my wetsuit in one piece without injury or exposure. I think I managed it, I say think - I definitely didn't injure myself, and nobody near by looked particularly traumatised or alarmed, so assume I didn't unveil anything I shouldn't have 🎉. Relieved we head to the cafe for well deserved refreshments. Usually we would also have been analysing our swim, however today the very brief general consensus, as we sat enjoying the sunshine, was that it was just "one of those days!"