Drum roll please……
In fact forget the drum roll I want a great big massive Mexican wave spanning countries and countries, flags waving, children clapping, streams of coloured paper in the air – get it done!
Basically I just completed my FIRST EVER open water swim.
Now you can understand the celebrations!
It’s just under 7 weeks to the Edinburgh Half Ironman and I knew I needed to get past this mile stone so headed down to the nearest organised open water swimming (safety first after all, can’t just go jumping in the local river!).
Time was tight and we didn’t get there until after the session had started but that didn’t really matter. I wasn’t convinced I would be able to force myself to properly swim anyway so was going with the intention of maybe getting about 50m along the front – possibly.
We changed in to our wet suits and headed down where we saw Brian on his bike. Stopped for a little chat and as Joe went to put his swim cap on….it broke. He headed back to see if he could locate a spare. Standing at the side of the Loch trying desperately not to look like I didn’t belong there I waded very slowly in. Very slowly. I waited for the water to start dribbling in and surprisingly it wasn’t as cold as expected. I looked back at the shore and Joe still wasn’t back. People were going off in dribs and drabs, it was very relaxed. I was not.
Right come on and you going do this? No. Seriously? Man up! No, I will just wait for Joe. Why? Isn’t that what I’m meant to do? What, you think he’s going to swim with you? You’re not fast enough. Right fine!!!
And I was off! I was actually off! Put my face in the water and went for it!!
I very quickly took my face out the water.
Oh My God I can’t see a thing!! Gasp gasp gasp!! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.
But…. I’m still going. Yes, I am still swimming. Head for the huge yellow thing, it’s right there. Deep breathe – intake of Loch water, choking, spluttering, BUT still swimming!
Round the yellow marker and on to the next one. Still going. Still can’t see a damn thing in the murky water, still not thinking about that, or what might be in here with me, including the massive pike the registration form ‘joked’ about. Still swimming.
I get back to the shore and pause my watch (if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count after all). Holy crap I’ve just swam in that Loch! I was ecstatic! It might have been beyond slow – although I didn’t really get over taken – but it was a swim. Joe was back and had located another swim cap so we headed back in so he could do his first loop and I could do another. I waited for him to go first before going again.
A lot less gasping this time but still struggled to put my face in the water however, still got round. Again. This time my hand brushed some weeds but I was surprisingly calm. Didn’t panic at all. It was weeds. I am telling myself it was weeds. Nothing else.
I managed one more loop before time was up. On the last loop I got grabbed a few times and had to handle a crowded turning but I was fine. I did it.
Back at the van and I was straight on the phone to Ben who has given me a few swimming sessions. ‘I didn’t die!!!’ Was my message. ‘Woo! Gold star for you’ was the reply ha ha.
So it’s done! Milestone achieved, level unlocked, nappy changed! Can’t wait to go back and do it again. I’m genuinely shocked at how much it didn’t kill me. Don’t get me wrong it was far from perfect and it was only about 1000yards but it wasn’t as slow as it felt. I was only a few seconds off my standard swim time. That was a shocker.
So. More swimming to get more used to it (but I didn’t die!). Marathon this weekend. Then focusing on the final weeks of training.
I’m still excited about this:)