My new wetsuit had arrived on the Thursday, and I'd bribed Shark with cake to come round and be on standby just in case it was more complicated getting in and out of it than I expected, requiring immediate practical and/or possibly medical assistance (she is a nurse - how fortuitous). After much deliberation Shark finally arrives carrying one of those long shoe horn and some Glide. I would have preferred a full medical kit. I think she fancies herself as a comedian! After a tense, and careful 10 minutes (new wetsuit therefore using white cotton gloves provided 😇) I am in! I'm not zipped in, but I'm in. I would award myself with a well deserved pat on the back but I actually can't manoeuvre my arms into that position and I'm far too hot and feeling slightly claustrophobic. I need to get it done up (step in Shark) and take it off again. All this done, and after comprehensively swinging my arms around for an extended period of time, I've decided it fits.
Saturday couldn't come round soon enough. The sunshine that I had so desperately wanted had arrived after a full week of non-stop rain- I'm not talking biblical proportions, but enough for me to consider putting it off. I wanted today to be just right, and that included the weather. Today wasn't about training, it was about taking the time to smell the roses. It has been a long winter of not being able to train after my operation, followed by long and sometimes difficult (mentally and physically) training sessions at the pool regaining my strength and fitness, and whilst necessary, I was really ready to be back in the open water again. I wanted every aspect of the day to be just right. It was important to me to be able to reflect on how far I'd come, and to remind myself of why I have been training so hard ... and if I'm being completely truthful there may be a small part of me that also went for the cake. They make amazing cake!
Shark and I arrived at the lake feeling quite giddy and you'd be forgiven for thinking I was staying the week at the lake, the amount of stuff I took. I was so worried I'd forgotten something (wouldn't be for the first time), that I over packed.
As I walked to the lake side, donning my new wetsuit, I began repeating the procedure for getting into cold water in my head, possibly to distract myself from swearing as I got in, however the water wasn't too cold at 14oC and although I took a sharp intake of breath when I was waist deep, not one swear word escaped (proud moment!). After easing myself in I swam a slow and steady mile enjoying the scenery and the absence of chlorine, lane ropes and other people and their toe tapping shenanigans. The water was crystal clear and the temperature was not too bad for the most part, and although there were occasional pockets of cold (freezing cold - borderline Arctic) that took my breath away I was enjoying it so much hardly noticed. I was feeling quite buoyant (excuse the pun) when I finished, and was grinning like an idiot, even though I nearly broke my neck staggering out. My exit still needs work - I'd forgotten that I'm unsteady at best when I get out!
It had been an amazing morning and the standard post swim regime of shower (long) and coffee (hot) and cake (chocolate) followed and returned home feeling energised and eager to be back outside (but a little grumpy as my next swim was back in the pool). Unfortunately not every swim will be able to be this leisurely, there's so much to do in the way of training and I need to remain focussed on the bigger picture, but also recognise the need to stop every once in a while to appreciate all that is around me. I'm especially talking about the lake closely followed by the cake selection at this point (and possibly the good folks that have continually supported me over the last 6 months).