|Confirming the temperature was well and truly baltic!|
|...just setting off.|
Back at the clubhouse the recovery felt really long (although I was assured by Ally that recovery is long, and that’s normal). The care from Ally and Shark was absolutely amazing (the jokes were less amazing). They really knew their stuff. I was dressed, draped in hot water bottles and encouraged to drink, walk about and was asked various questions (to check my recovery), and although I felt a mild detachment from all that was going on around me, I did manage to answer them all. I drifted in and out of listening to the conversations going on around me, preferring to focus on the Herculean task of getting the straw in my mouth and drinking without spilling, when out of nowhere arrived some Mars Bar (I will never eat Mars Bar again I don’t think). Someone (Claire) put some in my mouth, which I immediately (and I can’t believe I did) spat it out! According to a very disgruntled (and rightly so) Shark I also spat out her home made lemon drizzle loaf cake… very out of character, and very much apologized for since.
When I finally felt completely back to normal, the reality was that I hadn’t succeeded, and no matter how many fellow swimmers congratulated me regardless, and no matter how many told me swimming 1,250m in that temperature was an amazing thing to do, for me I’d still failed. I felt quite sad and teary. The car journey home was spent with me, between tears, quizzing Shark on the bits I’d missed, whilst she continued to check my pulse every fifteen minutes. She had told me that when the boat came in she thought I was in big trouble as I was laid down, rather than sitting. I lied and told her that I had actually rolled into the rather tiny boat, and got stuck, hence the lying down bit. She then revealed to me that I had lost one of my new nasty shoes, and that despite a thorough search of the premises at the time, there was no clue as to its whereabouts. I told her I was very upset that she had been so careless with this timeless and iconic fashion statement piece, that will no doubt become a collectors piece of the future. She said there was no doubt it would turn up, and unfortunately it did, rather quickly as it happens, for who would willingly steal a nasty shoe like that anyway? I checked with her that I hadn’t had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction as I got out. I was so numb I would have had no clue if I had unknowingly revealed far too much of myself to the poor folks that lined the shoreline. I also checked that I hadn’t made any promises, or agreed to do anything stupid, legal, or indeed illegal, whilst I was recovering.
Before today I have swam in water as low as 6oc, and after every swim, once fully recovered, have felt elevated, lively and with a great sense of well being. It's exhilarating! We are all very different, and what I experienced today there will be some of you reading this that find this temperature and distance a breeze, but I'm not going to sugar coat it, for me today's swim was not only very challenging, it was also demanding, exhausting, harsh and by far the most difficult thing I've ever done (child birth excluded ... GWS). Added to this, the very lengthy recovery that followed was at times deeply unpleasant, uncomfortable and strenuous mixed with violent shivering and (I'm told) a few sweary words, and the remainder of the day spent on the sofa glued to my hot water bottle feeling fatigued and lacklustre and also very regretful of my decision to reject Shark's lemon drizzle cake! Despite all this, I'm far from put off. I cannot wait to get back in next week, not to try a mile, but to get in, swim a bit, embrace the cold, and enjoy a cappuccino and home made cake afterwards with my amazing swim family!
One more thing, I couldn’t finish without expressing how thankful I am to have been surrounded today by the most knowledgeable and experienced bunch at Swimyourswim, led by Leon, and if (it’s really only a matter of time really) I decide I’d like to have another stab at it, they are the guys that I trust the most to get me through it. What an amazing team! I’d also like to thank the great folks that I consider my swim family, who cheered me on, fed me and stayed well beyond they would have normally to check I was okay, oh, and if I did accidentally reveal all (or even a little something) to any of you, I’m truly sorry. X
Finally, it's a year since I first began writing my little blog, which stared as a way of writing about my recovery, the training and the swim I did last year (Windermere one way). I have been amazed and overwhelmed at the amazing response, and lovely messages of support I have had. After I had completed the swim I was asked if I would consider putting last year’s journey into a book. Going from a blog to an e-book is something quite different, and a lot scarier, however I decided after a lot of consideration to take the plunge (no pun intended) and do it, and finally has now been published this week on Amazon. How amazing (but mostly scary) is that? I hope that for those of you that read it feel inspired to not only take on difficult challenges, but also to never underestimate how far you can push yourself to achieve what you set out to do.
|Open Water Woman Swims Windermere is available on Amazon|
Open Water Woman