Monday, March 31, 2008

Sandycove Again!

Two days since my first sea swim of 2008 and I returned to the place of remind myself of what it feels like to jump into a freezing cold body of water and try to make my arms and legs move fast enough to warm myself up to where I can feel them again. Am I crazy? At least I wasn't the only crazy one there, we arrived to Sandycove to find two people getting ready to swim, one of whom was Finbarr who plans to swim the Channel this summer. They headed off as I got ready to swim (and as my poor dog, Fallon, went crazy in the car because she couldn't understand why we weren't letting her near the water that she could plainly see!).

The water looked nicer today, it was very calm...the air temperature felt much colder though, which wasn't very helpful in encouraging me to get in! But get in I did, had the same feeling that I'd never breathe again for my first trip out and back and then I settled into it and made another two that time my arms and legs were getting pretty numb! So Sarah left Fallon out of the car down to me and I tried to get her to swim out to me...totally confused the poor dog, she's used to having us on the beach, not in the water!! She wasn't too impressed by the deep water off the pier either, she got in and then panicked when she was out of her depth right away, resulting in me having to rescue her and show her how to get out!

Fallon looking at the deep water off the pier with disdain!

Sarah ended up having to take her all the way around to the shore area so that she could paddle away happily while I got dressed and warmed up!

My plan is to head down to Sandycove next on Friday, there's an organised swim on Friday evening. So I'm hoping to do a little more that evening-maybe swim out some of the way with the others and turn back when I'm too cold rather than just swimming in and out close to the pier. I'm already shivering thinking about it though!!!

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 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 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 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"!! :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bad News :(

So the pool closest to me where I do my lane swimming has closed "indefinitely"...there was some storm damage done to the roof recently and they've closed to fix that, but the place could do with being renovated anyway so there's some talk that they may keep it closed to do that now. It would be nice to have the place done up but it's really annoying that the only place I have to swim now is the college pool on the other side of the city. It also means that I have no structured swimming sessions in the week for now.

Other than that everything is going good, I did a nice long session yesterday afternoon, I'm stiff today from it! I really enjoyed it, it was nice to be able to really push myself while the pool was quiet, I got out of the pool absolutely exhausted but it was a great feeling! I need some more of those sessions to keep me motivated...I find it WAY too easy to be lazy!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I went back to swimming tonight after a break of a couple of weeks, so I figured it would be a good time to update this blog too!

Things haven't been good for swimming lately. I've had lots of things going on, both work and personal stuff, and then I got sick, and then I had my trip to Florida last week (not complaining about that one at all!). The week before last I didn't get to the pool at all, and I only got one swim in last week while I was away...I was planning to swim much more but the pool constantly had kids in there and since it was a hotel pool it didn't have a swimming lane. So I got one swim of 2,370metres done but I spent more time dodging people than swimming so I figured it wasn't worth it trying again.

So that brings me to tonight...first night back at Sunday's Well. I had a good group in the lane tonight, only 4 of us so we pushed each other way more than a bigger group would. I didn't realise how much my fitness had dropped in the space of the couple of weeks, the workout killed me! I'm probably going to be stiff and sore tomorrow :(

Now that life is back to normal (whatever that means!), I'm going to try to get into a swimming routine of doing lane swimming on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights and then a long swim on my own on Friday nights, I've found that that's one time that's consistently pretty quiet at the pool (most people have better things to be doing with their Friday nights!). And then a shorter swim Saturday and possibly weights one day a week, I think that would all work out well. It's a lot of training but once I get into the routine it will be fine I think.

Time to post this and get to bed I think...wish me luck for being able to walk tomorrow!