Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Elbowed in...

As per my last post, I headed off to the Lakes this weekend for a couple of  'test out my elbow' swims, after which I was determined to make the decision about whether to postpone my Geneva swim or commit to it. I picked the beautiful Crummock Water as the setting for the swims - a long, thin lake, surrounded by monumental, relentless hills. It's stunningly beautiful, even when, as with this weekend, the weather is a bit grim. It was a grey couple of days, punctuated by high winds and apocalyptic bouts of rain, with air temps listed on the Met Office site as "12 degrees, feels like 10" (because of the cold winds). A bunch of wet-suited swimmers hanging around the beach told me that they'd measured the water temp at 15, which seems about right, although the wind made it cold across the shoulders, turning it into a bit of a slog at times.

But whatever the weather, this was my last chance to test the elbow before deciding about Geneva, so I set myself the target of 2 x 10km swims (one each day) - basically a full circumferential lap of Crummock Water plus a bit extra to make up the distance. Like every Crummock Water swim, it was beautiful (if a little menacing at times with the clouds sinking low down the hillsides), and the poor weather meant I seemed to have the whole lake to myself. Such luxury. I used a tow-float with energy drink in it, and one big bottle got me round each time (although for a 6 hour swim, I find I need more regular feeds, so carry gels as well). (As an aside, the Chillswim bottle-holder float has an advantage over the dry-bag tow-floats in that it doesn't flip over in rough conditions, meaning that the strap never gets twisted. This makes it much more comfortable to swim with, although you lose the security of being able to carry a robe and shoes with you).

And the good news is that my elbow held up just fine, and so I have now committed fully to the task ahead. To be honest, I don't think the joint is quite 100%, but with more physio to come, and no noticeable problems during either swim, I'm feeling fairly confident. And realistically, even if I wait until next year, there's always going to be something niggling away, so now is the time.

The Geneva swim season is about to start shortly, and I heard today that the water is a glorious 21 degrees. Let the fun begin.