Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas swims...

I've had a fun few days on the swimming front...

After Mike's party on Sunday, I had my last session with Eilís on Monday before she started her Christmas holidays, so that was a nice long 10k last long session for a few weeks :) For the next few weeks I've got a program of sessions to do so I'll still be swimming but my distances will be much smaller and I've got a couple of weeks off circuits too...yay!

So on Tuesday I had a nice short swim and since then I've been in the sea. On Christmas Eve we were in Sandycove, the weather had gotten a little colder since the weekend but it was still very mild so we got in hoping to do a double. I hadn't done a double in over a month, and the water temperature was about a degree warmer then, so I wanted to see if I could stay in that long, but at the same time I didn't want to end up hypothermic at the back of the island. So when we got to the second corner and I was feeling fine I decided to go around to the first corner again and see then how I was feeling-if I was feeling cold at that stage I'd head back to the slip. When we got around to the front of the island Ossi headed in towards the slip to see if Mike Harris, who had arrived while we were doing our first lap, was coming around, but it turned out that he wasn't. So while he was doing that I managed to catch up with Imelda, who was waiting for him, and I decided that I'd go again and head off ahead of them since they were wearing fins and were much faster than me. They waited for Sevy, who was also doing a double, at the first corner, so the three of us got to the second corner at around the same time, good timing! At that stage I was starting to feel the cold-mainly across my back and shoulders so it was probably more from the air than the water. My hands and feet were numb but not sore and I was still getting power from my stroke so hopefully they've started getting used to the cold! We finished in just over an hour, a good Christmas Eve swim!

On Christmas Day I went down to Robert's Cove for the Christmas Day Swim taking place there. It's really well organised-there's a nice big bonfire to keep warm beside and lots of soup and hot whiskey in case the bonfire isn't enough! There were lots of people there, way more than I expected. We were all told to get ourselves ready and gather by the bonfire until everyone was ready...

Waiting to go in

And then off we went....

The mad dash...

...which soon slowed down as
   people hit the cold water!

The tide was way out, so by the time I was in any decent depth of water, my feet were absolutely FREEZING!!!! Eventually I managed to get out to deep enough water to dive in, swim about 4 strokes and then get out again!! For me this was much harder than getting into Sandycove because I'm used to just diving in and dealing with the cold all at once rather than delaying the pain! 

It wasn't a day to be hanging around-especially since we couldn't feel our feet at this stage! So we trekked back through the shallow water again, the bonfire a very welcome sight at this stage!

Fallon greeting Tom, myself and a wetsuit-less Ossi!

Getting dressed was nice and easy without numb hands, and I had nice cosy boots to warm up my numb feet, so I wasn't really cold at all after the swim-it didn't stop me having a nice hot whiskey though...thanks Imelda! :) There are a few more photos from the day here.

Stephen's Day was another sea swim day...back to Sandycove again. We had a nice big group of peope turn out for the swim, it wasn't such a nice day for it though-there was an easterly wind, which not only made it really cold, it also made the water really rough. So it was a case of heading to the corner and deciding then where to go from there. I headed out with Ossi and Kieran, and as we were on our way out a big group of people who had headed out ahead of us were making their way back down the front of the island, having obviously decided that they weren't going around. We decided to head around anyway, making sure to stay together all the way along the back (in other words the other two swam slowly so that I could keep up with them-thanks guys!). I normally enjoy swimming in rough water-it's good for a change and it makes you forget about the cold. But it just wasn't a pleasant day for it-I found that by the time we got to the second corner I was absolutely exhausted from fighting with the water! It was definitely a one-lap day, so back to the slip we headed and it was only then that I realised just how cold I was, getting dressed was a struggle!!

So when I heard the forecast for today (stronger easterly winds) I decided that it was time to go back to the pool...the tides are at bad times anyway for the next few days so it makes swimming at Sandycove difficult. So it's back to short, sprinty pool favourite....NOT!!! And it's Christmas holidays so the pool will be full of kids and their parents taking up the lanes :( Oh well, I guess I'd better get used to it...the New Year is coming so the place will be packed now for the next month with everyone and their resolutions to get fit...kill me now!!!

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