PANIC!!!!!! That pretty much sums up my feeling as I began my swim this weekend.
It’s been one of those “life gets in the way” weeks with a germ ridden household, an overdue research assignment and not enough hours in the day. A consequence of which was realising I hadn’t been able to swim all week.
Deciding I needed to brave the Saturday morning hoards I headed off. Even with my new found medium lane confidence this was daunting as there’s usually only one swim lane on Saturday mornings – a one lane fits all. And then your heart sinks when you see a bottle of water pool side as you know someone who means business is there.
But off I set, except it seemed in those intervening days Northcroft Pool had swapped water for treacle. Sluggish didn’t come close, even after a few lengths my arms felt like lead and for the first time since beginning this adventure I found myself thinking “I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m not going to be ready in time.” (the censored version of what was actually running through my mind).
After 20 mins of torture I squinted at the clock and with a vague bit of mental arithmetic realised I was actually swimming faster than normal –which explained why I was shattered. It wasn’t until one of my many “recovery” stops that I glanced at the swim hat of my lane buddy – Ironman, bloomin’ Ironman. As in flying up and down at break neck speed, superfit, ironman. Hmmm that kind of explained why I’d found myself trying to swim in turbo charged mode. Thankfully Mr Ironman finished his swim before me, I breathed a sigh of relief and normal service resumed, and a realisation I could still actually swim. I made sure I kept going for 1.5k just to keep convincing myself I still could.
The ironman experience has made me wonder about how you pace yourself and know when to rein yourself in. I need a wetsuit with built in cruise control. The last thing I want to do is get half way along and feel like I need to lie down on the riverbank for a rest! How do you judge this? – It’s not as if I can stop and look at a watch, is it?
The weekend also saw the first glimpse of the route and the opportunity to meet up with Juliet, Katia and the other ThisGirlCanSwim girls. It was a bit like meeting penpals – from writing our blogs and our secret Facebook group we’ve begun to get to know each other. What was lovely was that we were all just as I thought we’d be.
The mile is along a beautiful stretch of the Thames and the bonus is that the supporters can follow within earshot. As ridiculous as it might sound it surprised me that you could see the end from the start. For me a mile is waiting for the next motorway junction, or trudging on the treadmill, so yes, it was a pleasant realisation. Walking along the towpath it felt no distance at all, admittedly this might also be because we were meandering along gossiping.
In just a weekend my panic over fitness was allayed by keeping pace with Ironman. I’d seen where I was going to swim and it was a breeze to walk it, and I can see the end from the start. But then we got talking about the S word – Sighting. It’s not something I’ve even attempted yet, but kind of get the idea it’s a bit like swimming like a crocodile. For now I’m just adding it to the things I need to master list.