There’s a bit of a long story about the night before the Freshwater swim. It involves a photography course cancelled at the last minute (for the second time) and ends with a few more wines than was probably a good idea (especially given my pre-race routine usually involves none at all).

But what can you do?

It’s been ages since I raced due to the stupid weather and 100 million* reschedules and what would be an insignificant number of personal alternative commitments any other season. So a bit of a gee-up from a once-upon-a-time kind-of colleague (in that we worked for the same company and had mutual friends there but never actually worked together…is there a name for that?), had me signing up the day before.

I woke up on Good Friday. On the upside, the traffic to get over there was pretty much non-existent. And the weather was stunning. I really enjoyed the ride OTB and arrived to a beautiful day. As usual on the bike, I scored a primo parking position. and wandered up over the dunes….to find a nasty, nasty choppy angry-looking washing machine of an ocean out over the “always” calm Freshwater.

Pre-race I was feeling a little nervous. It’s been too long between races and I wasn’t sure I was in the right headspace.

And intra-race…well, I was also pretty sure it was a bad idea to be out there. It was as rough as it looked and choppy theĀ whole way.

Around the last can, though, things started to look up. I spotted the signature flouro swimmers of the lovely Bel M….I thought it might be possible so sucked it up and put on a bit of a surge to swim with her. The last leg of the race was looking up. It’s a bit hard to explain how much you can actually communicate with people in a race in the water, but it’s a very powerful thing to find yourself alongside someone you know and have trained with and consider a friend, and in this case it really lifted my (somewhat queasy) spirits.

As we headed in, the waves were helpful..and not. they were good for catching in to shore, but they were also just a touch on the scary side.

Short story –

  1. Cleaned up by a massive wave
  2. Lost goggles. Finished event without goggles.
  3. Evil calf cramp. Bad one. Bad enough to stick with me for a while Baaaaaad one.
  4. Bel, who if she was uber-competitive could have left me and kicked my butt, hanging around to check I was alright. Highlight of my race. And making me remember, yet again, why I do this particular sport, with these particular people.
  5. Bel and Jacki crossing the finish line together! Finishing on a high note!

So, in the end I finished. Probably not my finest hour and certainly not my most impressive race. Lessons learned: 2. First, alcohol and ocean swimming areĀ not a good combination. And second, never take for granted what the conditions will be like. Mother nature will throw you a backhand every time…especially if you tempt fate by ignoring lesson 1!

*not actual number

Freshwater 1.5km 2013

Freshwater 1.5km 2013