Day 4/ Swim 1: Garryvoe
4 hours sleep and my alarm chimes, it is 4:10am, time to pull the suit on and pour some hot tea and porridge down my throat, I scurry around gathering my gear, we have a 90 minute drive to today’s swim.
Today we are getting a ride with Craig, I am grateful for the relaxing journey, the countryside is beautiful, I am all geared up for a lake swim this morning and excited as the temperature is said to be a few degrees warmer than the sea, I sit happily in the back suit with thoughts of a swim where I am in my comfort zone, what a treat.
It turns about to be a short lived treat, after the mentally challenging, bitterly cold swims of yesterday I have been focused on this next swim and misread the schedule, it is not a warm lake this morning at all, we are on our way North to the ocean, and north means cold….gulp.
We arrive at Garryvoe, the water is calm, it looks like a glass counter-top, the skies are gray and heavy with cloud, I open the car door, a blast of cold air hits my face. We gather to hear instructions for the swim, it is an out and back course towards the Island, “decide your maximum time in the water, swim out for half the time, then turn for home”, Ned instructs.
We all fall back to our cars and prepare, ” it was 14 degree water, just last week”, says Carol enthusiastically, I am happy to hear Carol’s report. That’s me on the left and Carol on the right….
We walk down the beach, it is shallow and we have to wade quite a distance before it is deep enough to swim, we are partnered up with the same swimmers from the river yesterday, Ned turns back and shouts ” What’s your plan”, “1.5 hours”, I reply, ” OK, we turn back at 45 minutes, with that we wade deeper, the water stings my thighs as the water level rise up my legs, ” this is cold”, someone announces, ” time to face fear”, I think and dive in. That’s me at the back of the pack…..
The water is brisk, I pull through the water with long relaxed strokes, I feel powerful and determined, ” time to put fear aside”, I declare in my mind, and with that I pull harder, sighting every now and then on the island in front of us, it is a stunning landmark with a red blinking light on the top, it looks mystical surrounded by the low lying blanket of cloud.
We swim closer and closer to the Island, my belly feels warm, my teeth aches, I know the water temperature is cooler today, still I feel confident and no longer fearful.
Time to turn, 45 minutes complete, the houses look like tiny specks on the beach, still I can see them, ” If I can see it I can swim it and there is no choice today, it is the only was to shore in my mind”, I check my watch, ” 51 degrees Fahrenheit, I throw my head down into the water and swim hard. We swim and swim, I sight and land does not appear to be closer, ” If you can see it you can swim it”, I keep repeating over and over in my head, I notice my power still to drain, my swim speed is slowing gradually, ” stroke faster” I command my brain, and I do. Robbin waits on shore with our abandoned flip flops…..
” Must see how far”, my mind keeps commanding and I start to stop and look, it doesn’t help core temperature which continues to plummet, I can no longer feel my feet, my jaw is clamped shut and my fingers have clawed up like eagle claws, it is harder to pull, ” CHARLOTTE”, Ned sharply shouts, ” SWIM”, I snap back into swim mode, my stroke turnover is high, I push on, ” I landing on this beach as strong as I can”, I think, bit by bit the beach gets closer, then I see Robbin, my sister, I recognise the brown jacket, I smile a clenched jaw smile, still a few hundred meters to go but I an sure I can see the tiger blanket, a rush of happiness runs through my chilled veins and I stroke in, it gets shallow fast, I look down and see Ned jogging along the sandy bottom to my right, on my left Alan surfaces in full verse of a Neil Diamond song, I look at them both and smile my best possible Hypothermic smile, I am pleased.
Next up a shuffle to the car, clothes and wrapped in that Tiger Blanket, Robbin gives me hot chocolate which I proceed to spill all over Ned’s blanket ( sorry Ned, better than pee, right!), then it is off home…..
Into the shower and breakfast, prepared by Robbin of course, I am feeling fully recovered and ready for the next challenge and I won’t have to wait long, it is in just a few hours, a river swim, did you see me wince when I wrote that, Yip back to the river, Blackwater River this time and you know I want to conquor a river.
Will I conquor the Blackwater River swim? I’ll keep you posted
How long did I swim? 1.5 Hours in 51 degrees Fahrenheit
The best way to monitor progress today is to compare yourself to yesterday