Sunday, 30 July 2017

Swimming solo without my buddy...

I still cannot believe that Shark has the audacity to go on a family holiday, leaving me to open water swim alone... I tell her the reason that I swim with her so I'm halving my chances of anything having a nibble at me, and I'm not lying. If I see anything moving under the water (more worrying if it's above) I am prepared to swim over her to save myself - even if she is asthmatic. That's the truth. (same applies for thunder), however what I don't tell her is that I am missing my partner in crime (and we do get up to all sorts), my left hand swim buddy (always left - my equilibrium is off kilter if she changes side), our voice of reason (for I have no good sense) and my fellow cake connoisseur.

So this week, I find myself alone, by myself and unaccompanied with no swim buddy (I know she'll read this, so I'm really laying it on), and only my over active imagination for company. What could possibly happen when you arrive lakeside to swim in 19.2oc water with not a ripple in sight, the sun is out and the safety boat has been checked๐Ÿ˜‚?

As fortune had it I happened to arrive at the same time as a lady called Karen, who told me that she was just returning to swimming after breaking her leg, and was just having  "just a steady 1.5 mile swim." As I am buddy-less I asked her if I could tag along. She said yes, she would like that, however assured me again that she wouldn't be that fast. Fine with me I replied, as I'm tons older that her. I have to build up to fast. At my age this takes time. Steady is good.

Post swim- I look tired, Karen doesn't!

We set off, and by the time we had reached the first buoy I realised that her"steady" was actually my "really, really fast." I was committed now, and despite knowing that the likelihood of me keeping pace was less than slim, really wanted to have a go, even if it was a lot faster than I expected.

There was actually a point very early on in lap one that I thought that in order to keep up with her pace I was probably going to have to die trying - so be it! I literally gritted my teeth and cracked on!

After a while (once the shock had been replaced with determination) I settled into a steady(ish) pace, and for a brief moment believed that I just might be able to keep up, and in fact there was one occasion when I did actually over took her, very briefly, when I was spooked in an unexpected glimpse of the bottom of the lake (yep, that's the level of fear we are working with here), and a fish (looked large to me, and I'm sure it had a fin). Honestly, I challenge even an olympic athlete to have kept up with me at this point. I was practically supersonic.

The second lap was equally as speedy, and I was tiring. This neck breaking speed was an eye opener I have to say, and the thought that this was her pace, AND she had just been laid up with a broken leg was really inspiring. Pretty sure after today that the Olympics are out of the question for me, and that was quite sobering as I really thought I might have a go for it! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I didn't have too much time to dwell though, I was far too busy trying to breath and swim whilst keeping up with her.

The last straw, thankfully approaching the end of lap two, was when I was spooked by my own hand. I realise at this point, that despite having only swum a mile so far, I'd rather be out of the water being ridiculed (fondly), than in it being paranoid and jumpy (oh and exhausted. I mentioned this woman was a machine, right?). Definitely time to call it a day.

When I got out, I explained why I hadn't swam the two miles. I'd had very real issues on this swim, however feel I was not really taken seriously when their response was (and this is the bit where I thought I was going to be told the science part about refraction, but no), and this is a direct quote "is that the lake shark that's often referred to as a minnow?" Leon Fryer @swimyourswim (2017) to which there was much chortling, laughing, ridicule and general falling about. He then went on to promise me that the lake was only filled with (and I quote Leon again here) "brown goldfish and baby sea horses." I did not buy it. He gave the game away as he could not keep a straight face. Leon is a terrible liar.
With Karen and Al @swimyourswim.
that's not a strange growth on Al's head- it's me!

I got changed and waited for Karen (who maintained her pace for another lap, unlike some...) to get out, and laughing (only on the outside, inside I was still in shock) I enquired about her definition of "steady" because for sure our interpretations were pretty much poles apart, and here's where she dropped the very large bombshell (to be fair, I hadn't asked beforehand, and it didn't pop up in our conversation) that she is a Team GB athlete! Speechless for the second time today (first time I actually couldn't catch my breath to speak after our neck breaking mile).

Once I'd got dressed and had a recovery coffee, I headed home to download the data from my swim, desperate to find out how I'd done. I knew it was fast, however when my watch revealed that I had burnt off 21,203 calories. For a mile swim? I wish, and after a short investigation (I turned on the computer and looked online) my watch also told me that I'd been swimming for 2:28 hours and had covered 52.92 miles! News to me! Something was obviously amiss with my watch, as it couldn't possibly be that I could forget to turn in off when I got out and then drove home... And so I've come to realise that I don't just need Shark as a deviation from a possible fish attack, I also need her to tell me to stop my blessed watch! I am completely useless without her - as is proven today, however I have also learnt, and this wouldn't have happened if she'd been here, that I can swim really quite fast when it's a life of death situation, and whilst one could argue that being spooked by your own arm was not life of death, I challenge you all to use your imagination (dig deep) because it actually could so very easily have been an eel or such like. And no, I'm not one bit paranoid!

Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @Openwaterwoman_  and on my Facebook group @ Open water woman for more shenanigans ๐Ÿ˜Š

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