Thursday, 7 May 2009


I had to miss my usual early Tuesday morning session because I was in London for a meeting about a book project that I'm (a small) part of. It was a wonderful couple of days - lots of interesting things to think about. But I did miss my swim, so when I got home that afternoon, I went for a run at the gym (so far so good on the knee front, so maybe the injection worked after all), and planned to go for a swim at Coventry pool in the evening. But frustratingly, even though I phoned up in advance to check that all of the lanes were available and not being used by clubs (thereby increasing the chance of getting a good swim in a lane not full of sedate breaststrokers), when I got to the poolside, five out of the 8 lanes were being used by a club. I was furious and decided it was better just to go home. This is a long-standing battle with the pool, which is inexplicably unable to provide reliable information ... But at least it's open water season now, so I'll be less reliant on them for a few months.

So, on Wednesday, I decided to head up to Swan Pool (in Walsall) for some open water swimming. There was hardly anybody there, and it was quite windy and chilly, but I braced myself and plunged in....well, actuallly, I slithered gracelessly down the boat slip (which is coated in green gunk) until I reached a watery stop and ploppped in. It was COLD, COLD, COLD. Now, I know that there are a lot of people who go in water much colder than this (including all those people who went down to Dover this weekend for the first training weekend of the season), but I very rarely hit water of 12 degrees, and I really found it hard to cope with and couldn't stop thinking about it as I was swimming. I managed three laps of the lake (about 2400m) before getting out ... well, actually, before crawling up the slimy boat slip on my hands and knees in an utterly undignfied manner. I got changed as quickly as I could on the lakeside, and then scampered back to the carpark and sat in the car with the heating on full. On the way home, I stopped off at a garage to buy a hot chocolate, but by then I was shivering so much that I actually managed to spill it on the floor of the shop. I can't imagine what they thought was wrong with me, all wrapped up and shaking. Anyway, even though I didn't manage to stay in for very long (about 45 minutes), it was really good to experience it and to know that I can do it.

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