Saturday, March 29, 2008

My First Sea Swim!

Way back at the end of January I made a promise that I'd try to get into the sea over Easter. And since I haven't finished my Easter Eggs yet, it's still Easter to me!! So I took the plunge (literally!) this morning. There was someone else going in for his first time too, so I figured at least I wouldn't be the only one. So I headed down there for a little after 10am this morning, it was actually sunny as we were driving down there and the picture makes it look like it was a gorgeous day, but it wasn't anywhere near as warm as it looks (the air temperature was about 10degrees C-50degrees F)! The sea wasn't quite as calm as it looks either, but I wasn't too worried about that since I wasn't planning to go in for that long anyway!

Sandycove Island on a "beautiful" March morning!

By the time I got down there, the other new guy, Paul, had already gotten in and was swimming in and out from the slip in his wetsuit. He got out soon after so I was all on my own-the others were going to wait to make sure that I got in and out ok before heading off for their mile-long swim! So I took Ned's advice and got changed quickly before I got too cold or lost my nerve!! I wasn't wearing a wetsuit, so it was just my swimsuit, two swimming caps (0ne thermal) and a pair of goggles...take off the thermal cap and you'd have my Channel swimming outfit!!

Me with Ned as I'm fixing my thermal cap!

I walked down the slip to dip my toes in and nearly got back out again...it was SOOOOOOOO cold!!!

Shivering as I tried to get up the courage to dive in!

I knew it was a case of 'now or never' so I dived in (not so gracefully as you can see) and began swimming for my life (literally I think).

My oh-so-graceful dive into FREEZING cold water!

Once I got in my major thought was "when will I be able to breathe again?"...the cold just totally hit my chest and I couldn't get a proper breath. I don't think that the rest of me felt the cold at all at that stage because I was concentrating so hard on trying to breathe (maybe that wasn't a bad thing?)!! I swam out 20 or so strokes and then came back in (that was the advice Ned had given me...no point in swimming half-way to the island and then finding that my arms were too numb to bring me back in), and by the time I got back to the slip my breathing had gotten a lot better. So I made a second trip, which felt much better because I wasn't as panicked, I felt like I was swimming out of choice instead of out of necessity to keep myself alive!!







Swimming out as fast as I could .....










..... and back at a more relaxing pace!









I swam out about the same distance again the second time, had a bit of a headache from the cold but Ned had warned me about that. By the time I swam back in to the slip my hands and feet were starting to really feel the cold and it was time to get out while I was still enjoying it so that I wouldn't dread going down the next time!!

Everyone was so great, Ned was there to help me onto the slip and Owen had my towel ready so that I could get warm straight away. I'm sure that I was shivering like crazy, but I still wasn't as cold as I expected to be, I guess that I was in for just a good length of time-enough to get a feel for it but not too long that it would take ages for me to warm up again. I headed straight for the car and thanks to Sarah was lovely and warm very quickly...I love a car with a heater that really works!!

Smiling because I got in to the sea or just because I'm not in there anymore?!!

Once I got myself layered up with clothes I was warm very fast and I found that with the two swimming caps on my hair had stayed dry, so that helped a lot too.

While I was getting dressed the others were all getting dressed too, but getting ready to get in rather than getting out!! We stayed around for a while when they headed off, we were talking to Paul who had been in before me. He told me that they had measured the sea temperature-it was 8 degrees C (46 degrees F)!!! Now...who wants to join me for a swim on Monday? Don't all volunteer at once!!

That was about two degrees lower than I'd been expecting-if I'd been told that the temperature was that low before I swam I'd have been much slower to get in!!! But it was nice to find that out after...it means that it really can only get better from now on!!

So overall a very successful morning....while I didn't put in much mileage, I think that this was far more beneficial than a Saturday morning pool session would have been. Now I need to start planning to get in again soon so that I can start building on this morning and staying in a little longer!

And by the way....thanks to my great friend Sarah for escorting me all the way to Sandycove and for taking lots of photos of me freezing to death....and for feeding me chocolate all the way home to "warm me up"!! :)

1 comment:

Mark said...

hey
now I like and kinds recognise that blog address! looks great in there...we will be there at the end of May with Ned and the rest of the loons! Hope your training is going well...2009 be here before you know, I will read through the blog in full later today...best wishes Mark