Saturday, 26 April 2014

The first openwater swimming of 2014

On Wednesday, my openwater swimming season officially started!  My alarm went off at 5.02 and I decided that I felt sufficiently awake and ok to head to the lake rather than roll over and have another hour's sleep and head to the swimming pool :)  The lake opens at 6am and I was determined to get there for the start.  It was a lovely morning (contrary to forecasts) and I enjoyed driving through the country roads as the sun came up [I left my house at the same time as the milkman was delivering to the next house!].  And I was one of the first people in:

Here I am in  the middle.  The water was 14C, so I decided that as I wanted to get a decent swim, I would go around in my wetsuit for 2 of the 1k loops.

I didn't quite have time for a third loop, and my wrist was starting to hurt - couldn't work out whether it was the continuous swimming, the wetsuit, or the cold - probably a mixture of all three - so I stopped, took my wetsuit off and went for a little plunge without.

It was cold but glorious.  I think I managed about 400m before I went and attempted to get dressed.  Too many rookie errors for the first swim of the year.  Forgot flipflops and discovered how very cold the ground is at 6am!  Forgot a woolly hat.  Forgot my easy slip on warm boots.  Oh well.  Then I drove to the university pool to shower and get dressed for work.  Still felt very cold so had to go to work in my north face down gilet and north face down jacket.  But what an adventure to have before work.  Not sure I can manage to do this every week.  I didn't feel too tired but I think that was dependent on having had a reasonable night's sleep which I was lucky to achieve on Tues/Weds.  And I know that doesn't always work out.

Then today I was at the Open Water Swimming show in Reading.  I woke up feeling pretty rubbish and like hiding in bed all day (Friday had been a particularly trying day).  Mr W had been planning a long bike ride and the last thing he needed was an excuse not to go as he didn't look very enthusiastic about it.  So I forced myself out of bed and into the car.  I found the place ok, and went in.  Felt exceptionally unsociable, but I looked out Dan from Swim for Tri to say hello and admire the new pink dryrobes (which I'm going to get one off!).  Didn't feel like looking for any of the other people that I knew there, so headed off for my swim.  There was a bit of confusion because apparently you needed a chip to swim and the man with the chips hadn't turned up, but I eventually persuaded them to let me in anyway!

The lake was pretty deserted, although the sun was trying to peep through.  The ice cream head seemed to pass a bit quicker than on Wednesday and I was soon swimming normally.  There was quite a lot of wind which meant that swimming one way was like swimming in a lazy river, and the other way was like swimming against a lazy river.  I had my very own paddle boarder who looked jolly cold and somewhat dismayed when, pointing out to me where to get out, I told him that I was aiming for 4 laps (750m each).  Kept going.  It was coldish (14C) but not too bad, and my hands only started to get very cold towards the end of the 4th lap.  Got out, and decided that I wanted to do a dip without my wetsuit or I would be going home cross with myself.  I know I am already very behind where I wanted to be swimming without a wetsuit wise, and not trying, would just make it worse.  Fortunately my feet were already pretty cold so that made getting back in easier.  I set off towards the first buoy, wondering how far I would go, but then decided that I would aim for a whole lap.  Bizarrely my hands suddenly seemed to warm up.  Still pretty cold as I rounded the last buoy and losing my technique, but feeling pleased with myself.

As it was a show, there were all sorts of people promoting things, one of which happened to be an inflatable portable hot tub.  So I jumped straight in one of those!  Super!  Unfortunately after about 5 minutes I started to itch badly, which I wondered if was to do with the chemicals in it, but I later realised was my body's usual reaction to warming up too fast after the cold (I get this if I go running in the winter with bare legs and then jump into the shower), so I hopped out and got dressed.  Was shivering quite a lot by this point, so I retrieved my jacket from Dan, who had looked after it as had my valuables in, had a quick chat with a lady called Zoe who I know from social media and then headed back to the car which was still nice and warm, and drove home.  Stopped briefly for a Starbucks, and got some very odd looks wearing my DryRobe.

Mood definitely lifted a bit so it was worth making the trek and getting on with it.  Mr seems to be having an interesting time on his bike ride to Worcester and back as he's just text to say that someone has just thrown half a carrot at him :-/  I'm spending the rest of the afternoon trying to relax a bit - this is the first day for months that I have spent on my own.  It's been ok but I'm starting to feel a bit anxious.

Long post - well done to anyone who got to the end :)  Do leave a comment!