I tried to write this in my bed at the end of day 2 but at 11pm with a 3:30 alarm call for an hours drive then a 5am sea swim I’m afraid I only managed a few lines so I am instead finishing it halfway through day three…
Day 2 of Ned’s distance camp, a Sunday, therefore a religious day so we flocked to the temple of Poseidon for 2hours of morning worship. As we arrived at Sandycove Island the sunshine appeared – I am fairly convinced that I am a solar powered swimmer, everything just seems so much easier when the sun is out. The visibility of the water was less clear today but other than that sea swimming conditions were near perfect. No baby sharks today but instead lots of big purply blue jellyfish (if I had to guess dear designer friends of mine I’d say between Pantone reference Violet and 2602), they certainly keep you on your toes as you’re doing your laps! Only one managed to ‘tickle’ me but it got me quite well, I saw his friend and used every pilates honed muscle in my body to rise up over the little herbert but in doing that I slid my arm over his illusive buddy – wrist to armpit of tingles, it wakes you up if nothing else. Though not as much as hearing a strange loud sound above your head…what in the name of bejesus could it be? Oh a massive drone camera – obviously. Followed by a speed boat containing the blummin’ CBN guys and sticking a camera in your face while you’re swimming, and a sound boom over your head…I think they heard the vicious rumour that was started during my channel swim that energy drinks make me trump, I didn’t ‘perform’ but I did ensure I had a good long wee so that if I make the final cut I’ll be able to say ‘aww yea, I was weeing right then’ to my Mum as it’s beamed out across America – she’ll be so proud. It’s funny more than annoying though it does temporarily take away the delicious mediative state that sea swimming send me into alas. I am beginning to love this Island, Ned assures me that the water is magic, I just might believe him.
Just 4 laps this morning (this is about a mile per lap so 4 miles) as we were all taking it a little easier than yesterday morning as we then left Sandycove Island and headed straight to Loch Allua for registration in our next 8k swim, I’m finding that swims here are impeccably organised and I’m loving that they appear to like feeding you up before and after swims. We were split into five waves with the slower swimmers heading out first, fastest last with the idea being that we’d all kinda finish at the same time-ish. A lovely man piled each wave into the back of white transit van and hurried them up to the start at the other end of the loch then returned for the next group of people. We’d been warned that the course was fairly difficult to follow, stretches where reed beds only gave you a few meters with to swim through, turn left at the caravan (which I never did see…!!), careful past the baby bullocks as they might be drinking at the water edge, don’t miss the second turn as you’ll end up in a lagoon miles away, all calming type stuff…I started towards the back – the water was about 17º (measurement courtesy of my skin rather than anything more scientific!) and as soon as I put my face in I was happily reminded of my favourite Fritton Lake, the water was so familiar – silky soft and black and peaty – my favourite! I loved this swim, if I’m honest – probably too much as I found myself sightseeing for much of it rather than sighting but hey, it’s a new exciting place to swim – of course I’m curious to look at it, even if it means taking the long way round. Taking a detour off to the right, stopping, removing goggles and exchanging pleasantries with the cute baby bulls probably took the sightseeing a step to far however but they were super cute and you don’t get to chat with bovine at the pool. The end of the swim was down a very narrow channel, so narrow and shallow that you caught your hands on the bottom in places, also rousing one from ones daydreams…a final time of 1:52 for a 8k swim including some dawdling is good enough for me and it was then off to the pub for a much needed feed.
As a vegetarian of over 25years I’ve gone from experiencing it being a rare and difficult thing to cater around when out to entirely the norm so when I asked for the vegetarian option to my friends roast chicken or roast pork dinners I was surprised to receive a plate of mashed potatoes, roast potatoes and some swede – I got the proper giggles!! Yes please – can I have some potatoes with my potatoes, especially as we’d grabbed potato wedges for lunch………bed followed soon after arriving home, devouring something that ticked the nutrition boxes and showering as the Monday morning swim to start the week was an early one. Sadly I forgot my phone today so no pictures of the rare Irish sunshine or the beautiful loch – I feel really sad about this but I was so snoozy when I got up I appear to of left it under my pillow – our rooms/bathroom situation in the house isn’t quite as promised by the owner so sleep is proving difficult alas, hopefully I’ll not drop off to sleep whilst swimming later in the week…!