With only 10 weeks to go till I swim Windermere (my stomach flutters every time I think about it) I have to be diligent with training and stick to my plan with military precision, so when I had to change my schedule this week, thanks to a family birthday party, it meant a change of venue. I don't mind admitting it threw me a bit- creature of habit that I am ... however being given the un-enviable task of 'entertainment coordinator' for the party I cleverly thought that a 6 mile swim would give me enough time to plan, seeing as though I'd left it till the eleventh hour!
Shark and I arrived at our alternative venue to be immediately informed by the only other swimmer there (and he was getting out) that the temperature was okay, but that there were tons of weeds. When I enquired as to where they were he did a sweep of the arm in the general direction of the lake. I was confident at the time that we wasn't being all that specific; now I know differently. Determined not to be put off Shark and I discussed how many laps we would do (20) and when we would stop for feeds (laps 9 and 15) and set off.
Swimming in weeds is no fun. Fact. For starters my imagination was running riot thinking about what's in amongst them. This was not helped by the website for the venue who advertised the you can fish there too, and to demonstrate how well stocked it is with mature and extremely well fed fish, there is a photograph of a proud looking fisherman, with what can only be described as a monster pike in his arms, on their home page. This does nothing to taper my vivid imagination. Don't those things hunt in packs for crying out loud?
We were sufficiently spooked enough to stop after one, record breaking lap, to gather our wits. Shark looked ashen and actually suggested that we just get out and call it a day already and head for the cafe (which happens to do the most amazing lemon meringue pie). I was tempted as it wasn't just a handful of weeds, we were pretty much swimming through spaghetti (I'm talking The Second Task kind of problems here). Sounding braver than I felt, I suggested that we carry on. We had driven for over an hour (would have been less if I hadn't thought I knew better than the SatNav...) to get there, and seemed such a waste to get out so soon. Also, this was our one opportunity this week to do our long swim. We needed to get over ourselves and get on.
After another neck breaking lap Shark stopped again. I knew it wasn't because of the pace, but rather that she wasn't happy. I have to admit that I wasn't all that over thrilled myself. At this stage we hadn't even swum a mile. Shark complained that her goggles kept leaking, to which I suggested that if she un-furrowed her brow this might help. We needed to slow down and try and relax. There was little chance that we would be able to maintain the pace, and if I'm honest if I were to be hunted down by aforementioned pike, I'd need to conserve some energy for the chase.
We began our third lap at a steadier pace, however as we approached the middle of the weeds Shark took a sudden ninety degree turn and literally swam sideways, away from me. Confused, I stopped to see what she was doing, and my feet found themselves in amongst the weeds, not that I could see them. This sent me into a panic and a high speed swim to the less weedy part of the lake. Shark in the mean time was wind-sprinting down the other side and back to the jetty. You would be forgiven for thinking that she were being chased, however she confessed when I caught up to her (I did this slowly - if she were being chased there was no way I was swimming straight into the arena) that she had actually seen a sunken boat (this is there, amongst the weeds, for the divers) and, wait for it - thought it was a shark (Yorkshire is full of them😂) and fled for her life.
After thanking her for leaving me, it became clear that neither of us were going to get in 'the zone', and I was never going to be able to drift off and think about organising party games suitable for a seventy year old with a dicky knee. It was a relief to get out truth be known, and although we laughed (me more than her) nervously about Shark's Olympic speed sprint afterwards (for quite some time), it became clear that even if we are in a lake 'alone' we are never actually going to be- weeds or not. The weeds aren't going to hurt us it's the Yorkshire river bound, boat shapes sharks hiding in it that will!