If you’ve not already, be sure to check out Part 1 of a wonderful weekend I had recently!
On Sunday, although we were all knackered from Balance Festival, Lucy got me up bright and early (6am to be precise!) in order for us to go… open water swimming!
I’ve never done this before, and I was actually quite terrified! I have a bit of a thing about open water, like the sea or harbours. It gives me the shivers to think about what could be lurking in there, especially when you can’t see the bottom! Couple this with the equally terrifying thought of having to squeeze myself into a teeny tiny wetsuit and you can imagine how I was feeling when I woke up at such an unearthly hour!
As I previously mentioned, Lucy is a personal trainer and one of her clients was coming with us as she’s training for a triathlon. Lucy’s sister Emma is doing the same and so the 4 of us set off bright and early, praying the sun would come out soon.
We drove to ‘Liquid Leisure‘ in Datchet which offers open water swimming as well as a variety of other watersports. It cost £5 with the option of hiring a wetsuit at a slightly pricey £20. Fortunately Lucy’s friend Emma (not her sister, the one who came to Balance festival the day before – confusing, I know) had lent me hers so I avoided the extra cost.
After paying and signing our waivers, we went off in search of the changing rooms which turned out to be approximately the size of a broom cupboard. Take a moment to picture 4 ladies trying to slip into rather snug wetsuits with only so much as a few inches personal space around them to do so, if you so wish. After many laughs, and a few sighs of relief that the wetsuits actually did fit, it dawned on me that we were finally ready to brave the water. Oh lord.
The lake was actually gorgeous, though it wasn’t this sunny at 8 in the morning!
There are two clearly marked routes, one 200m and one 750m. As it was mine and Louise’s first times, we decided to go round the 200m route. Oh, that was after we’d entered the freezing cold water of course.
Swimming in open water is completely different to swimming in a pool. It was so surreal to have to deal with a whole bunch of things rather than just pushing forward in a straight line. In some directions you couldn’t see because the sun was blinding you, in other directions the water was in the shade so you couldn’t see through it. Speaking of direction, I seemed to lose all sense of mine out there. The first couple of laps were ok, but I think as I got tired my stroke got more sloppy and I ended up careering off course on a number of occasions, much to the delight of Lucy. It’s so weird, you take a quick look, make sure you’re heading in the right direction, feel like you’re swimming in a nice straight line, take another quick look less than a minute later and suddenly have absolutely no idea where your point of aim has gone and you’re just about to crash head on into some other poor unsuspecting swimmer!
That was something I did notice though, that the other swimmers were all so friendly. Everyone chatted away and was very welcoming, which was nice especially on our first time. After we’d done 5 laps of the 200m, we were starting to get a little chilly (though I think I’d lost the sensation in my feet and face by that point so I couldn’t really tell!) so we headed back to the showers. After drying off, there was a lovely decked area with a bar to grab a bacon sarnie and a coffee at if you so wish. We had a round of tea/hot chocolate as Lucy and I were going for breakfast somewhere else and I think Emma and Louise felt guilty about getting bacon sandwiches even though we assured them we didn’t mind! The sun was well and truly out by this point and it was just so nice to sit out there and warm up with a huge feeling of accomplishment.
Yes, I know I look completely ridiculous in the above picture, but so did everyone. I really, really loved it and I’d love to do it again some time!
Once we’d dropped Emma and Louise home, Lucy and headed to The Juice Pharm for breakfast. It was a really cool place serving healthy food, smoothies, juices and cakes, with a fitness studio upstairs – heaven!
I went for eggs, asparagus and avocado as we’d booked lunch with the family not long after. I also got a delicious smoothie with all sorts in, including cacao, vegan protein and almond butter. I made sure to take a selection of cakes home with me, and they were all scrummy too of course!
All in all it was such a fun weekend and fabulous to catch up with Lucy!
What’s the most adventurous activity you’ve ever tried?
Have you ever been/do you enjoy open water swimming?