|Apprehensive and offended by my fringe
Always on the look-out for new activities, my friend and I were discussing swimming in the summer for fitness reasons. She (I thought jokingly) suggested we swim this week! Half believing she wouldn't come, I turned up at her house at 8am, in full fog, replete with shortie wet suit, booties, goggles, tea and thick fluffy fleece. After changing in the hut, we walked through the wet-with-dew grass. The promenade was busy, with runners pre-park run, cyclists, walkers and lots of dog walkers on the beach, all in thick coats and woolly hats.
|See, we're smiling
She said that we just had to go for it. Run in. So she did. I was a little behind her, as usual. She dipped under with a somewhat surprised expression on her face. I can stand tummy-level until the cows come home, but I braved a back-first-dip-under. Some expletives from me. What hit us what firstly that it wasn't THAT cold, honestly, but secondly, our hands were FREEZING. We don't have gloves. Guess what's first on our shopping list now?
We started swimming, I realised I didn't need my goggles as it was so calm. We managed eventually to feel our hands again - who knew they could get SO cold? We swam past the concrete groins, heading to the pier, which we couldn't see, so thick was the fog.
Stretch, kick, splash, stretch, kick, splash, check I'm still parallel to the shore, stretch, kick, wiggle fingers. We were in the moment. Not wanting to overdo it on our first attempt (for cold reasons not fitness), we turned and swam back, with a huge duck honking overhead. As we left the water, three swans took our place. A cyclist shouted, "Morning ladies!" - it was our mate on his way to park run; we must've surprised him. (His daughter did think we'd gone skinny dipping when he told her he'd seen us!)
Back at the hut, we didn't feel the need to change immediately - but that was probably a schoolgirl error. After chatting with a dog walker, and changing slowly, whereby my friend actually started steaming, the shock set in with her teeth chattering uncontrollably and both of us feeling the cold. The tea I'd made before in a tin cup was topped up with hot water - possibly the second best cuppa after the one they make you in the maternity ward! While she shook, she tried not to spill her coffee over her, though it would've warmed her! A serene sit outside the hut allowed the endorphins to finally start rushing, and realising we'd we'd swam for roughly 15 minutes, we felt good - the exercise, the discipline, the commitment, being in that watery moment.
Walking back to the car, we did think we'd need to not only buy gloves, but next time, change quicker with warmer clothes. See what we did? We already talked about next time. I did mention that if we cycled down and ran afterwards, that'd be a triathlon. Watch this space.
(Let me make this clear, I have no intention of training for anything like that - I have many friends who do that already, the world doesn't need another triathlete mum.)