Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sherkin to Baltimore

Last Sunday we had our last organised swim of the was the Sherkin to Baltimore swim organised by Liz Buckley. I had never been to Baltimore before so it was all new to me-this whole swimming thing is doing wonders for my geography knowledge!

I headed down with my sister Sarah (who I had volunteered to help with timekeeping!) and we managed to only get lost once on the way (even with a gps telling me where to go that's a good record for me!!)! There was talk of a few people swimming out and back to the island so I was hoping to get there in time to join them (and the lazy part of me was hoping that I wouldn't!!). So we got down there for about 2pm, with the boat leaving for the island at 3pm. I went and registered and found Imelda and Ossi, who were leaving about 15minutes later to swim out, giving us plenty of time to cover the 2km distance before the others got out there. So I figured that since I was there in time, I really had no excuse not to do the extra distance!

I went and got myself ready and grabbed a towel to put in the kayak in case we were waiting around for a long time at the other side (the others were wearing wetsuits so it wasn't such a problem for them). And we set off. It was such a nice swim out-I love swimming with Imelda and Ossi because they swim just fast enough to push me and keep me on my toes (although when Imelda's in a wetsuit she could leave me for dead if she wanted to!). We weren't in a rush so we had a chance to look around and just enjoy the swim. We could feel the tide pushing against us-a good sign for when we were going to be coming back!

We got out to Sherkin in about 40mins, just as the boats carrying everyone else were starting to arrive. I thought that since everyone was arriving we'd be heading off again soon, so I didn't bother getting my towel from the kayak-unfortunately though the kayakers needed to be briefed and that took a while, so by the time we were ready to start off I was shivering like mad-I was dying to get back in there to warm up again! I was in the second group of people to start, thankfully there was only 90secs between the starts though.

The start was absolute mayhem-there were 52 people swimming altogether, with most of them in my group. And most of them were triathletes who are used to high-contact swimming races! I wanted to sprint a little at the start to warm myself up, but I soon found out that if I did, I'd just keep getting kicked in the after a few of those kicks I figured I'd just hang back and let them off-I was in no rush to get in in first place!! I warmed up pretty quickly once I got going anyway.

It was a totally different swim on the way back-there was no looking around and admiring the scenery this time around! I found some people ahead of me to follow and just tried to stay behind them for the way across-I know how bad my own navigation skills are!!

I came across a swimmer who was stopped at one point and I stopped to check if he was ok-it turns out he was only fixing his goggles, but he seemed really surprised that I stopped to check on him-I don't understand that-why would anyone keep going if they suspect that someone is in trouble? By his reaction I guess he wouldn't have stopped if it had been the other way round. Some people take these races WAY too seriously!!!

I managed to pick my way around the boats near the end-that's always the part I hate most-at almost every slipway there are always boats parked and I'm always afraid I'll go head first into one of them! But thankfully I didn't this time and I managed to make my way to the slip to finish the swim. The second half of the swim took 35mins so a little faster but we had some tidal assistance I think so it may just have been that.

As usual I headed straight off to get changed after and get myself warm before joining everyone in the pub for drinks and then pizza. It was a nice end to a really fun swim. I was glad that I'd done the swim both ways, it made it feel like the journey was worth it-a 2hr journey is a long way to travel for a 2km swim!! But for 4km it's not so bad. A big thank-you to Imelda and Ossi for swimming out with me and to Derek for kayaking for it-without a kayaker we couldn't have done it.

It was the perfect end to a great swim season-let's hope that I'll manage to fit in some of the swims next year around my other training! From now on it's the pool during the week and Sandycove just at starts for real now!

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