Setting the alarm last night for 5.45am, the opening line for this blog post came to me,
‘I have joined the lunatic fringe’!
And yes, the notion of flinging myself into a freezing lake before 8am on a saturday morning did feel slightly insane. But it wasn’t, it SO wasn’t.
First of all when we arrived there were loads of other people wandering around in wet suits getting ready to swim so it felt like an entirely normal thing to do.
And wow, oh wow, once I was out there, it felt like an entirely natural thing to do! Awesome, amazing, peaceful, beautiful! Just quietly gliding through a circle of sun filled water under a dome of a blue spring sky, what a privilege! Am I blessed or what??
Yes, the water was cold (13 degrees to be precise) but the wet suit did its job brilliantly. (Birthday present from my hubbie, thank you beloved, so yes I was swimming in ‘my birthday suit’). Only my hands, feet and face were cold and even then not too bad once we got moving. Putting my head under for the first time was the worst moment and my style was pretty ropey for the first 10 minutes as the cold just takes your breath away. In fact, I didn’t manage my usual ‘face in the water for 3 strokes’ style for the whole time but that was more to do with the cold on my face, rather than fear of the water (which I’d expected).
I didn’t see any fish. The water tasted fine (you can’t help swallowing some!) I wasn’t ‘allowed’ my swimming socks by Keith our instructor (‘they fill up with water and drag your feet down’ – so they’ll be going back to the shop). I had been worried about squidgy stuff and weeds under my toes and yes, there was both mud and weeds but it really didn’t feel that bad.
So here’s the suit:
Believe it or not I do squeeze into this. Squeeze being the operative word in that sentence. Think ‘vacuum packed chicken’ only slightly less attractive and you’ve got the idea. (This is why there are no photos of me actually in the suit).
But, okay in case you don’t believe me, here I am, in the water:
The suit does make you amazingly buoyant so it feels much easier than swimming in a pool. I expected a cold rush as the water slid down inside but in fact it seeped in so gradually the parts of me covered by the suit never really felt cold.
Getting it on and off isn’t quite so slick: an extra 10 minutes at least added onto transition time!
Thank you Keith for taking out a ‘novice’ and being so encouraging. Thank you Heather for coming along for company, I really appreciated your support.
My biggest fear was that I would freak out and hate the whole thing (would not have been great, given that I’m booked in for 3 open water events this summer) but it was brilliant, just brilliant. I can’t wait to get back in the water.
(Needed plenty of this stuff afterwards: my favourite body lotion – LOL):