Today is race day, day 6 of 9, up at 4:30am to stretch and load myself with fuel which consists of Porridge, bananas, a dash of milk and a sprinkle of sugar, then 2 poached eggs and toast, a hot cup of Barrys teas and a 500ml hot Maxim and water to go on the way to swim number one of today, my belly feels full and I can feel the heat of the food from the inside out.
This morning the air is crisp, 8.5 degrees Celsius crisp (47 F ish), the water a bit warmer than the air at 11-12 degrees Celsius (51.8-53.6 degrees), it is a beautiful morning, it is a morning offering an extra lashing of cold, I rub my warm belly as I look out to sea, ” come on porridge, share the warmth while I’m in the water”.
This morning the island looks unrecognizable compared to the other mornings, this morning we drive down the narrow windy road towards Sandycove Island, as we round the last corner it is not the familiar image you see above it is this……..
Morning meeting complete me and the other swimmers scatter to out various spots to get ready for our penguin plunge, today the grease is extra cold making it even harder for Robbin to smear on, cap, goggles, ear plugs and we are off for the ‘ hike” in to swim, with the tide being low, there is no ” walk the plank” off the slipway, we trudge across the sand and rocks, this morning I learn a ‘low tide lesson”…..
LOW TIDE = ROCKS, SEAWEED AND KELP
We are off swimming, (or is it scrambling), I chase Ned as he weaves in and out of the rocks and drives through the seaweed, my tactic of slithering over the rocks to take a short cut is a rookie mistake, the rocks are sharp and covered with razor sharp barnacles, like needles on a porcupine ” you will regret getting too close”, and me the clumsy puppy does exactly that, I slice my foot on the top of the rock, fortunately I have little feeling in the foot at the time so am oblivious to the gash while I am swimming, I feel just a bump andwith not much blood going to my foot there can only be a small stream of blood, if any leaking from it as I lap around the island.
Next trick is the seaweed and Kelp, I must say although I find this slow to pull through it appears to be warm, it wraps around my neck, my arms, feet and waist like a blanket, once it is wrapped it is tricky to shake off, it all looks like a Halloween forest down there, all sorts of dark shapes of different sizes, some look like massive mutated house plants gone wrong.
The first 2 corners of the island are the ones that are the rockiest and weediest, I slip and slither, pull and push my way through and then sprint to catch up to Ned, I know that without his expert navigation I will have a much longer and tougher swim this morning, his strong pace is great for me to swim along with.
So we are off around the back side of the island, no more sheltered water of the cove, it is noticeably cooler this morning, not only the water but the air, I am noticing the driving cold of my head, it aches with the cold, my feet have already ice blocked up but the good news is my hands have not clawed and my midsection feels toasty warm, I can feel the warm porridge sitting in my belly radiating heat like a pot belly stove AND I feel strong. What fun I am enjoying myself this morning, what progress from the horror show swim on Saturday morning just 5 days ago, either I am starting to show signs of acclimatization or my brain been tricked into thinking this hijinx is normal stuff, either way I’ll take it.
Around the back side things get rough, there is a keen swell and the waves are picking up, I am jostled about by the waves, sometimes I am picked up and dropped away from Ned, sometimes the swell knocks me straight into Ned, then we hit corner 3 the incoming tide picks us up and we surf in super fun, I get to swim around for 3 laps and each time I look forward to the surf in around the back corner, before I know it it is time for the final 800 meter sprint to Cape Gris, we pull through the current along side the red house and into the slipway, EXCELLENT, GOOD TIMES!
The cold did once more get the better of me today, Robbin shuffles me up the slipway, I stumble, mumble and slur ” Tanks Blobbin Zinzibar” to her as she wraps me in a towel, 2 blankets and thrusts a hot chocolate in my shaking hands. I am thrilled my brain is still functioning even if my body has started to shunt blood away from my extremities.
How far today….3 Laps 4.5 km
How Fast…our first 2 laps were Lap 1= 23 minutes
Lap 2 = 24 minutes
I like the faster pace, next up off to feed and rest up for tonight’s swim, back at Sandycove for a 2 Lap swim at my top speed, I am told it is a RACE, I LOVE TO RACE.
” Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of doing”