Many, many moons ago, when I was several years younger and several (lots of) pounds lighter, all of my lucky stars aligned and I was fortunate enough to work out in California for a couple of years. During my first Summer I was offered a chance to train as a lifeguard. As this involved lots of swimming, sunshine and loveliness I jumped at the chance and said yes.
Being a lilly white English girl and only ever having swum in the pool or at a push in the Ocean, nothing could have ever prepared me for my first lifeguard training session which was in a lake. I can hear you thinking 'well, that doesn't sound too bad'! Oh my bloggy friends it was bloody awful! I can still conjure up that feeling of panic swimming through the clear waters when I first noticed the frog spawn, then the reeds, then the frogs and most hideous of all my lovelies...... the snakes!! URGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have an absolute lifelong phobia of snakes. I cannot even look at them on the TV or at pictures in a book without freaking out. However after my initial session, I somehow managed to put all of those creepy things out of my head, swim in a lake all Summer and pass my qualification. I even returned for a second year:
Fast forward a number of years and my memories of California and swimming in Lakes have a very rose tinted hue.
A few weeks ago at a local lake I saw a sign for open water swimming and with my 40 before 40 list in mind decided to have a chat with the gent about it. He assured me that everyone swims in wetsuits and that there are no snakes in the Lakes in Leicestershire, so I thought why the hell not after all the frog spawn and snakes seem so long ago. After much hassle trying to find a fat enough wetsuit and thanks to the amazing team at Two Bare Feet, it was time for my first swim:
Yes, I know I look particularly hot!
So trying very hard to be mentally strong, I put all thoughts of creepy crawlies in the water out of my head (made my brother come with me to hold my hand and do up the wetsuit!!) and away I went.
Man alive it is so liberating to be swimming in a lake again. It's normally chilly (read; bloody freezing) but as I start to lose the worries of the day, warm up from swimming and start to appreciate being in the great outdoors and notice nature, there really isn't a better feeling. The lake that I swim in is actually mainly used by Triatheletes in training and they've all been super lovely although I'm sure they must think me odd when they see me waddle by in my wetsuit!!
Last weekend we decided to have one last camping trip and head up to the Lake District. Bizarrely there was a distance swimming competition at Lake Coniston so we spent several lovely hours on the dock in the sunshine watching all of the swimmers come in:
Maybe something to train for next time?? More pictures to come from the Lakes possibly along with a story about swimming with fish and swans *shudders*