With just over six weeks to my half ironman race, the fear has started to set in. Not so much about the whole half-iron thing, more the swimming in the open water thing.
Sure, I’ve been hitting the pool pretty hard the past few months. But my wetsuit hadn’t been, ahem, wet yet. And Loch Lomond is very different from a six lane indoor swimming pool.
So, last week I joined a Facebook page for wild swimming and latched on with a hardy bunch that swims in Loch Lomond most Wednesday evenings. I pitched up loch side at 7pm to find a fellow already in full wetsuit and neoprene headpiece, and three girls wearing swimming ponchos and crocks, ready to hit the water.
Being slightly late arriving was a good thing – no time to think second thoughts. A quick bit of wetsuit wrestling, and off we went.
Minutes later I discovered that having no gloves or socks turned out to be a bad move – it was quite painful. More painful was watching the girls remove their ponchos to reveal bathing costumes. Yes, bathing costumes. No wetsuits, no neoprene. Nada. In 7.1 degree water. Hardcore!
So I decided not to whine about my lack of gloves or socks.
The swimmers kept me right and over the next 15 minutes I started to relax and wonder if I could really do this for say 45-50 minutes. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure if I can.
So I’ll go back each week and try to build my confidence and time in the open water. But next time, with neoprene gloves and socks as well as full thermal wetsuit.
Thanks to Karen for taking the photo!