It took me a little while to get fully submerged into the water today. I always prefer to go in slowly rather than go straight in, as it helps me to acclimatise to the cold and to feel safe and happy in the water before I swim out to the deeper parts of the quarry and out to the buoy. But today took a bit longer than usual. I could really feel the muscles in my calves, a little like an ice cream headache but in my legs, but it soon passed. I blame it on the fact that I've been swimming in a hot pool recently, especially since I've been swimming further and harder than I would winter swimming!!
I've had a sore back this week and my muscles have been a bit tight, so the cold was a little uncomfortable on my legs at first, but soothing at the same time, and within a few moments they felt really good, and my Hunter-Lewis reflex kicked in as it always does, leaving my skin hot to the touch all over. I never fail to be in awe of this phenomenon, and I'm sure that my getting in the water slowly really helps.
I wasn't feeling in tip top condition today anyway. I've had a busy week with a lot of travelling, and I woke up with a bit of a headache, and haven't been very active this week. Plus I was tired, but I like to swim anyway, even if it is more of a dip, because it always leaves me feeling refreshed afterwards. I just know that it is important to listen to my body, and for that reason I didn't swim out as far as everyone else today, but stayed closer to shore and swam widths instead, and enjoyed diving under the water and scooting along the bottom looking at the very big fish that live in the quarry. The water is crystal clear, and from the surface you can see all sorts of unusual objects at the bottom of the quarry - a devil baby from Blackpool fair, a boat, rocking horses, and other such items. No point pushing myself when I have a few hectic days ahead, sometimes it's just about taking part, rather than going for a distance swim. I'm totally OK with that.
As always, I was the last one out of the water, I'm always reluctant to leave, but in the winter, it's important to remember that whilst you feel hot and fine and like you could stay in for ages, your temperature is plummeting dramatically as hypothermia sets in.
Thankfully, my 'after drop' is generally minimal, and I don't often find myself shivering after my swim, and I warm up pretty quickly. The important thing is to get out, get dry, and dressed, as quickly as you can, and to get some hot drinks down you...and of course cake! This is definitely one of the bonuses of swimming regularly at Capernwray all year round, because there is always a lovely mug of hot chocolate sat waiting for us when we come out of the water!
I'm a very long way from being able to complete an ice kilometer or even an ice mile, but I'd like to think that one day in the future it will possible. As long as I work on my cold water acclimatisation, and improve on my fitness and swimming technique as much as I can over a few years. But for now, it's time to get ready for a new week ahead.