Crappy phone pic from Dock 9 this morning
Woohoo! We're back in season, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. Literally - I just don't have the words to describe how it felt to be back in the water again, and specifically this water. I mean, I had a great time at Tynemouth, but this is home, with familiar buildings all around, people I know, horrible coffee and the steps to slouch on in the sun afterwards.
So. It was 8oC in the water and 8oC on the land according to the car. The sun was shining, this week's vicious winds had dropped completely, and all in all it was the perfect start to the season. I had it easier than a lot of people because I came equipped with neoprene gloves and boots - I just don't have the acclimatisation to go without at that temp, and rubbish circulation as it is. I'd rather look silly and risk the odd sneer than not swim at all. Not run into any sneers yet, though! As soon as I can I'll be dropping the extras, anyway, because my socks have a tendancy to fill up with water and my gloves are rather thick. I am full of admiration for those who can go without.
Today we just had a short course laid out at 250m, which was more than enough for quite a few brave folks coming out for their first try. Goodness, that must be hard to have your first go at open water in such cold! I feel lucky that I was able to start in waters of 16oC or so and have the pleasure of 20oC last season. It meant I got over the face-in-the-water fears without having to deal with brain freeze as well. That was pretty much all I found difficult today - my limbs were fine, but getting my head down was hard. I did most of my first lap in breaststroke (more difficult than it sounds because my wetsuit seemed awfully buoyant!), with frequent pauses to let my face and ears get used to it. And to just stop in the water and stare around, delighted to be back!
One thing I learned very quickly, once I could swim properly, was a good reason to exhale through your nose and not your mouth. Water that cold really makes your teeth ache!
For the second lap I was able to do much of it in front crawl. I think I may have been ok going for a third lap, but my left foot was really quite cold for no reason I can work out, and I was worried about ear pain. My youngest daughter's just had the most awful ear infection and I'd rather not risk that, so having forgotten to put in ear plugs (again) I decided to quit whilst I was ahead at around 25mins in. I wasn't particularly cold or stiff when I got out and the water should be much warmer next week if the weather holds. That'll give me a nice warm-up for Swimathon 5k, which is next Sunday! I feel like I've done barely any training and Easter certainly took a toll in terms of poor food choices. I'm pretty sure I can do the distance, though I'll be very surprised if it's close to 2hrs. I just hope it's not too boring.