Welcome, formerly known as 'Salford Swim Swim'. This is a Manchester blog about running and swimming and random stuff. Oh and mental health, it is good to be mentally healthy. Which we of course are not.......so if you're not too then check this out.........Moodswings

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Kath finally starts swimming outside (and not doing too well at it)....

The first outdoor swim was yesterday. It did not go well.

The place was full of relentlessly cheerful people. What is it about sport that attracts these types? They actually seemed to think that jumping into extremely cold water and swimming was a good idea, rather than something that needed to be got through before going to the pub. And yes, I do still think like that, even though the drink afterwards is non alcoholic. My attitude to all this is to get through it on sheer bloodymindedness. It may not be the right attitude, but it’s the only way I’ll do it.

So Sam and I were giggling nervously, actually to the point of hysteria, while everyone else did their ‘Good to be back!!!!!’ (Back?!), ‘Oh, you’re just doing the swim are you? I’m doing the 10k run first. Must be mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ (Yes, you’re right, you’re completely certifiable),  ‘Lovely day for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t WAIT to get in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’  routine. And I know I’ve used too many exclamation marks there, but these people talk like that, all the time. And suddenly I was back to shivering at one end of the lacrosse field, hoping the ball came nowhere near me.

After a quick and graceful change into my wetsuit, followed by a swift rubbing with baby oil and lube (yep, that kind of lube. It was not a trip round ASDA that I’d particularly like to repeat) round the neck, we went down to meet with the coach.  ‘First time? Marvellous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ he bellowed. Actually, you probably heard him, but I’ll carry on for our hearing impaired readership. ‘Oh look over there. Our Channel swimmers have just arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They’re doing it properly – no wetsuits for them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ He then went into some spiel about breathing and sighting and lots of other stuff that meant absolutely no sense at all to me. While I can swim, and swim a long way, I actually have no particular technique for doing so. At this point I realised I probably should have. 

“You’ll be FINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll keep an eye on you, just go round the hundred metre course a couple of times so I can check you’re competent.”  This means he thinks we’ll drown. “All you need in open water swimming is CONFIDENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Unfortunately, to me , he might as well have said “All you need to do is flap your wings” just as I jumped out of a plane.

I jumped in. The wetsuit started to fill with icy water.  12.6 degrees, my, erm, eye. I duly set off, trying to remember to breathe, and to look (but not too often) and develop a whole new swimming technique, whilst very aware that he was checking I was competent and judging me not to be. I was lucky to do 50 metres without drowning. My arms have never felt heavier. The wetsuit was apparently supposed to make me more buoyant, but it felt like it was a dead weight.

I swam back to the pontoon, out of breath. “You alright?” he asked. “I’m finding it really hard. The wetsuit feels really heavy” I whinged. “Don’t blame the wetsuit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You need to do more pool training!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Perhaps that sort of comment spurs other people on.  I’m probably in a minority of one who takes it as a personal criticism, and then feels completely inadequate.

I set off again, but still couldn’t remember how to swim. I got out after another laboured hundred metres.

The drink in the pub was still good afterwards, though. They had alcohol-free Holsten Pils , which is the nicest alcohol-free lager I’ve found so far. And Sam did really well, and was very sweet and encouraging. Which is a nuisance, because it means I’ll have to be nicer about her on the blog now. That probably means I can’t mention that my “10 things I like about Sam” post is way ahead of her “Monday Monday” post in the ratings, so I won’t.

I’ll beat her next time, though. I just have to learn how to swim first.

1 comment:

  1. That is the best one yet!!! I wish I could be there to cheer you on, but as you know I have battles of my own to deal with at the moment.

    Maybe soon I will find courage similar to yours and do something almost as awesome.

    You go, Henderson!


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