Tadgh had done his bit his time had come to an end and i was alone again . I said thank you very much for swimming with me and swam on wards. I was fine for awhile afterwards but the waves and currant did not seem to change . Each feed was becoming harder and harder , i was swimming to the boat and getting tired , then the boat would move as you get to it that was frustrating. There was a time when the boat had to go off and do a circle and the rib stayed with me , i was trying to keep a straight line but was inclined to move in towards the land . I don’t know was i been pushed or was it when the boat was behind me or far a way from me i just took a line myself but i was told that i was moving from the boat when the whole time i felt the boat was moving from me . This was happening a good bit, i felt the distance from me and the crew but i eventually accepted that this is the way it was going to be and they were there to look after me . I tried my best to stay in line with the headland in front it was not coming closer at all at all . I had a lot of salt build up at this stage so on some feeds i was using mouth wash . This was fine for a short period of time but the salt taste was very strong , i could barely taste my feeds at this my stage taste buds were not great.
I had a feed and i remember saying what is in that and left it there i skipped that feed. It just tasted different but this is because of the salt , i had some jellys but i did not want to have to many cause it takes time to chew them and i did not feel to good to eat . I just wanted to get on with the swim , my stomach is not the best for eating and exercising . I swam on but started feeling nauseous i tried to ignore it, it was only slight then it made sense why i could not have that feed . I stopped and empty reached a few times then got sick a little bit , i was fine then and swam on . The next feed was much better i could taste my feed a bit better and i had about four jellys which was just enough for me.
I asked how long more and i was told by Annamaria Mullally “four laps of Sandycove” ya right lol . This felt great i was happy started to swim a bit happier, first feed came so i was thinking first lap down then second then third and i said you told me four and it is not true . I was a bit upset about it as i did not want to be lied to , my watch was dying but i knew how many hours i was in which helped at least . Then Annmarie said “just four more laps i mean it” and so i put head down and thought it cannot be much more now . This worked even though the first four laps was a trick lol. I found at times i just wanted a peacful feed just to drink it back and go , i could hear some things on board but then i couldn’t other times. I heard Imelda shout your dad and family is going to be at the end earlier on in the swim . I heard her say Ned Denison phoned and Gordon Adair and probably a few others . I did not hear others so thanks to all who phoned in support. I looked up at the headland was aiming for and i knew it was getting a little bit closer but still so far away . I could not see my daughter and Tadgh for a good while i guessed they must be gone for a nap . Every time i looked over Imelda was there she was my idol when i first started swimming, she was the first Cork woman plus one of the first few Irish women to do the English Channel a legend , it was a pleasure to have her support. She has helped me in so many ways a heart of gold and a strong minded lady.
And of course Annmarie is a gem also a very kind hearted woman to do this for me and very firm also. She is my fellow Ice mile swimming buddy . This picture below is both of us after our ice mile swim event on the 14th of Feb in Lough Dan this year run by Fergal Summerville another legend .
I could not of had a better crew to be very honest . I knew Imelda knew how to work me and be tough with me . She had been teaching me the lifeguard skills for 12 years so she knew me very well. I kept thinking i have to do this not just for me for my crew who have put everything into helping me out . My daughter Kayleigh done the photos and updates , i never briefed her but she took some fab pictures and done a good job updating people . It was great to have her there it felt a little extra special . She was not to happy about her beauty sleep being upset as you can see in her selfie on board and she was feeling sick at the time as well . Just having her moral support made me happy.
A Great bunch of people Sandycovers came through in the end . Speaking of Sandycove getting back to the swim i was on my second round of laps that Annmarie had given me lol . I was swimming away like a robot at this stage but it was still wavey , i could feel the dryness in my mouth my tougue was dry and my throat was sore . My arm was still sore but not as sore because i was mostly breathing left so i was not lifting it so high but was very aware of it at the same time. I had another stop and the rib came in, the boatman suggested me to swim up the creek and back down. To be honest it did not make sense to me so i kept swimming a straight line but i was getting frustrated again . I stopped saying it is not getting closer i can’t get through the waves, i was taking in water. This is where the second swimmer came in to support me Annemaria Mullally . I just looked and there she was and i said to her i am very tired can’t lift my arm . She said to me very firmly “you are grand you can do this so come on you are doing this” a very good choice of words at this time. I have no pictures of Annamaria swimming with me cause the photographer and crew members were asleep . Imelda was on her own at that point so no picture. It was great to have Annemarie in i was delighted cause it was hours ago when Tadgh was in . We swam on , the land was getting closer finally Rams head was the headland i was looking at for hours and hours . My watch died at this point in the swim but i knew i was nearly there . I only looked at it two or three times really it had no sattilite so no proper reading or a full map unfortunately .
For the next while i was content with Annemarie next to me but her time was nearly up . Feeds were going ok but my throat was sore and i was kind of sick of feeding at that stage . I was looking forward to the chat with crew at this point the encouragment is what i needed . The boat was near to me coming to rams head it didn’t feel so distance anymore . I think this is because we were coming close to land so maybe a bit more enclosed i dunno it just felt good . On the last feed Annmarie had done her hour with me and had to get out . Imelda shouted out to me” look over there” i said where and she said “up there on the cliffs” it is your dad, brother and family . My niece and nephew i was on a high , they started waving over at me, i waved back put my head down and kicked fairly fast. This is it i have done it, i picked up the pace the best i could, i knew they would race me accross to see me coming in . It was a great feeling then Ossi came in on a boat to support he was to swim but there was no need in the end . I stopped and said to him “i have done it” and he said ” you have come on now and swim in as quick as you can to the end”. Kayleigh was on the little boat next to Ossi , it was great having them right next to me all the way to the end a few hundred meters cheering and guiding me . As i said a fabulous crew everything was done so perfect the timing of the support was spot on . The words of support were firm and encouraging all the time . Turning and turning my arms kicking and kicking for hours and hours , it’s over i could see a beach and thought i was swimming in there but i was guided to the left into the slip way .
My heart skipped a beat when i seen sand beneath me , i was so so happy i made it . I swam in to the slipway until i was touching the ground and then stood up in pure joy and pain of course . That did not matter right then though, i hugged my father first , then everyone else . My sister in law and brother have style they came prepared and brought champane and strawberrys so that was very thoughtful and a nice treat . They brought me to a resturant to have dinner , i sat there and could barely eat the food or even drink the pint , my throat was so sore. Thank you guys xox
The recovery stage was tough i have to addmit , i was at home was off work for the week . I felt so low , i could not do anything my right arm would only lift to should height . My lips broke out in cold sores not one not two but three .
I could not do anything , i had no energy or mind to do anything . The first day i just about made it out for lunch thanks Audrey Burkley that was enough i did not wanna go outside the door. There were swimmers drinking the champane on my behalf but i was to wrecked to go down to them . Sorry Paschal Horgon , i got the corke of the bottle anyway thanks, it was a lovely thought lol .
On wednesday my coach Mairtin Hayes was expecting me at the masters session . I went along with fins done not even half the session kick only and had to get out . This was frustrating i wanted to train but knew i couldn’t , i had to take it easy . I started getting my energy back on the weekend after the swim a week it took. I just done gentle short swims back into it and on the second weekend after the swim i got my motivation back with a 4km swim. I was delighted the recovery was over , i could enjoy the achievement then . I wanna thank everyone involved in the swim again can’t thank everyone enough and appreciate all ye done for me :-). It took me 11.37.55 to complete the swim .Over and out thanks for taking the time to read my story , i hope it was an enjoyable read .
I was hoping to do some long swim after the Cork distance camp 2015 after doing the training. I had being going to Garryvoe the last few years to stay in a mobile home and every time i looked out the window i looked at the Ballycotton Island. We also went to the beach while there and i had done some long swims there in 2012 so i had come to like it down there. I had thought about where i could swim to and first the plan was to Youghal 21km , after doing a 10km swim from Myrtleville to Monkstown in May i decided to make it longer. I started planning it from Ballycotton to Ardmore 25km with a plan B in my mind was to finish in Youghal if needs be . Imelda Lynch and Ossi Schmidt done a lot of the work finding a boat and watching the weather which i do not have a clue about so thank you both very much again and again i cannot thank you both enough . There was a few windows first one was a no go the second one fell apart also even though there was a few good days but we only had a boat sorted for one of those days and my crew were not in Ireland but tried their best from a far . It did not work but they certainly kept me motivated as best they could . This was very frustrating because i could not plan anything like holidays or events in case it would happen. Third time lucky i was told on the Friday that we would be going on the Sunday at four am so i started getting organized but i was waiting for the confirmation on the Saturday. I ate something bad on Friday that went against me so i had to take tablets , i was worried about it but when i took the tablets it settled down for me .On Saturday it was confirmed we were going i was over the moon so excited that finally it was happening , i was waiting most of the summer for it so i had a great nights sleep on Friday night . When everything was done Saturday Sandwichs for the crew my feed mix made up a list of stuff ready and put in a box , i had my dinner went to sleep for two hours up again at 1am to be at the pier for 2.30am. I went in woke my teenage daughter kayleigh Collins up to my surprise she got up with out giving out about it , got all the stuff out to the car and off we went to collect another crew member Tadgh Harrington. I was in great form no worrys on me i felt happy and energetic , we arrived in Ballycotton Pier where Imelda Lynch and Anna Maria Mullally were waiting . We were waiting for the boat man to arrive we were to meet at 3am so while we had a chat and got psyched up Imelda asked me how i felt , i answered i am a little nervous but feeling good about it . We phoned the boat man Jack hickey he was on the boat with his Partner Ann O’ Connell and friend Robert Scarrott , we then started to load up the stuff onto the Yacht . Imelda had said there was a jacobs cradle there for safety , i never seen one of these before and did not know what it looked like , i picked up what i thought was it to bring it on the boat . I said to Imelda how in the name of god will i fit in this if anything happened and she laughed and said that is a lobster basket , it was a very funny moment and believe it or not i was very relaxed even at that point. It was when i got stripped off and putting on my googles and hat it was feeling so real then as i felt the wind on my skin my legs started to tremble a little . When getting greased up it was just a few minutes to go and i thought to myself this is it you are getting a chance here now to do this so do it with pride and just do your best. I got off the boat and made my way to the steps at the side of the pier for the start , i waited there while the boat came around there was a fisherman standing fishing he must of thought i was off my rocker altogether, butterflys going around my stomach while waiting . As soon as i seen the boat coming near i got down steps slowly one by one every step was nerve racking as it was pitch dark . The whistle went and off i went immediately i thought the water temp was lovely that was good , then i noticed the tide was with me and there was great light coming from the boat which later i found out my daughter was holding a flash light the whole time as well as the boat light. Thank you Kayleigh Collins your a gem girl xoxox.
I was swimming along i don’t mind swimming in the dark but i prefer the daytime to be very honest . I like the night swims with a group it is great fun but when it is just you on your own it can be a bit scary at times. I knew i was only going to be swimming in the dark for roughly an hour an a half so it was not so bad. The worst thing for me swimming in the dark was i could not see anyone on the boat i could just see the light and that was it really maybe some of the structure of the boat but could not see the crew. The flashing of the torch was my indication for my feed . Every now and then the light would slightly move and i would see the pitch black and got a little tiny fright at times , my mind was playing tricks it was one of those “what was that” moments of course it was nothing just a flicker in the light. My first feed was after about an hour in , my mouth was dry so it was great to get the feed then it was every half and hour after that. After the second feed it was brightening a little and by the third it was much brighter , i was cruising along and i was happy it was bright i could see around. I was swimming away with my own thoughts and at one stage i just wanted to stop in between feeds and shout out i love swimming that is how good i felt but i didn’t i just said it in my mind instead. I had asked for a change of goggles after the third feed as the ones i had on were giving me a pain in my head . So when the time came to change them the headache had settled so i said leave it awhile then it returned i asked to change . Then when i put on the other ones they were all blurred i could not see a thing with them god only knows what was on them , i tried wiping them but no good. It was frustrating me alot but Imelda gave a roar just put your head down and keep swimming so that is what i done until i got another pair . The blurred ones reminded me of the torture swim in the Cork distance week 2014 a torturer gave blurred goggles to a swimmer now i see how this was of benefit to the swimmer because it can happen and it sure did to me. They must have been in the bag with stuff or something. The next pair were fine so i was happy again.
The feeds were going well some were better than others , i was looking forward to each feed i was thirsting by the time i was getting to each one. The boat was a distance away a lot of the times but a rib came to me also for feeds and support , i did swim to the boat a good few times for the feeds and when i got the bottle i was holding onto it for dear life almost pulling the rope out of the feeders hand cause the boat was moving. My arm started at me after a few hours but this time i had to learn to ignore and put up with it and just keep swimming through it , i had a bit of a moan about it but i just kept repeating in my head no pain no gain and another phrase was just keep putting one hand in front of the other . After about five to six hours it started getting rough i was struggling to get air at times so i using explosive breathing through my mouth and nose which i should not have done . I suffer very bad with sinuses so after blowing through my nose which i don’t usually do and every time i do i get blocked up, it just got blocked more and more as the time went on which made it a little harder to breath plus very uncomfortable . I was swimming past what looked to me like a hill with a monument of some kind on top of the hill and i kept looking and i felt i was not moving the currant was pulling and pushing all the time it was strong . In my mind i was going two strokes forwards and four strokes back, every breath was and effort to make sure i got my mouth close really quickly so i would not take in water . My nose was so blocked i found myself taking bigger breaths through my mouth but getting tired and running of of air , i tried picking up my kick a little bit more to try beat this tide and currant. Then came my first big mental issue was i am not getting anywhere, i was giving it socks but yet very slow progress so i stopped and screamed i am not even moving with a little bit of french thrown in there.
Then i said ok lets just go to plan B and land in Youghal i am not moving , the crew told me i was but i really and truly felt i wasn’t . After some words of encouragment I kept going , Imelda asked me to repeat what i had asked her to make sure i do the previous day so i said what was that and she said you told me not to let you out until you get to Ardmore. Kind words but very firm with a kind tone in her voice that kept me head down for another while. I looked up at the hill and then looked again and i stopped for another while and pointed at the hill and said to the crew , i am in the exact same place i am not moving. I got cross at the sea and felt like crying but i just shouted instead it felt better, look how rough it is , how can i swim another five hours in this and i remember Anna Maria Mullally saying to me you only have a few hours left . That was of course when she was being honest then i heard my daughters voice saying just keep swimming mom your not getting out. I said to Imelda get in and see how bad it is and she send my support swimmer Tadgh harrington in to keep me company , i was very happy to have him next to me it was great just to see a bit of life next to me. So i put my head down and swam on then low and behold i looked at the hill then looked again and noticed there was two hills right next to each other that looked exactly the same unless without my glasses i was seeing double. When i noticed this i then said to myself you are moving ok it is slow but you are moving, happy again. The arm pain continued the whole way but i dug deep and i changed my breathing pattern to unilateral to my left hand side so i did not have to lift the right arm up so much . I continued this to the end i turned right only to see if my feed was ready mostly left , my mind was content with that and it helped a lot it was a solution.
It’s time i have decided to write a little about my EC solo swim attempt in 2012 , to help me move forwards to possibly making another attempt in the far far future. How many times i have went to write this but i just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so it’s a step in the right direction for me. There so many contributing factors as to why my head and body was not right in the channel but i tried , i have learned a lot. I have had a mixture of feelings on and off since then like frustration, anger,emotion,failure, financial burden etc etc. At times after i have noticed these feelings come out in ways that i wish they didn’t , i think it is because i have kept them bottled up and find it hard to express them so at least here i can. Lots of people ask me about it sometimes i would share a little other times i just say i would rather not talk about it as it is a touchy subject. Another feeling i had was an enormous sense of loss it was hard to shake it off. I will start from the start, i started training on the 1st of September 2011 my slot was September 6th to the 9th 2012. I had already done a 4 person relay to test the waters in 2010 . I was training none stop i only worked part time so i had the time to put into it , i done almost every meter on that pool program, i had serious meters done for it . I done the distance camp and i done a 10 hour at the end of it with Paraic Casey and Lisa Cummin’s in 12 degree water while others had done the 6 hour that’s how eager we were , i felt really ready at that point i was happy that i had done enough. It was not long after the camp four solo swimmers including Jennifer lane and Paraic Casey from our group went over for their swims but sadly Paraic had passed away in the channel on the 22nd of July one mile from France, RIP Paraic, it was a pleasure to know him . He was so kind and considerate also a very obliging sort of guy he helped me out with a few things of which i was very grateful for and wont be forgotten . At that time i did think how can i do my swim now what if something happens to me in the channel and if it was all even worth while, i started to brake deep down inside unknown to myself . Afterwards my head was telling my be strong it’s only a few weeks now to your swim you can do it , i tried to block out all the negative thoughts and worrys that had entered my mind . I thought i did to the best of my ability and so i looked at the program and it was nearly taper time. I found it hard from there on to focus and i lost a lot of motivation when it came to the taper . I did not do the taper properly i looked at it as rest and i did not do much maybe an hour a day maybe anything more than an hour seemed a lot to me the way i was feeling . I have to admit i found the tapering hard as it was all or nothing for me , i had never done the tapering before
My last long swim i done was on the Saturday the 11th of August it was a very rough 7 hour swim , i had lost my motivation from there with the tapering and other things going on in my head . There was supposed to be another 8 hour on Saturday the 18th .I just felt burned out and i just done pretty much what i wanted and hour or so a day or nothing some days . I was looking at the program and still seeing four hours three hours and i just thought i have had enough. I think the worry and uncertainty kicked in unknown to me , it is when i think back now i can see that but at the time i thought i was fine, i had done the work . I think most channel swimmers have experienced this fatigue . When i look at my diarys from September 2011 to August 2012 , i was very focused all the time i pushed and pushed myself so much , i wrote every single meter down every day plus my diet the good bad and indifferent every little detail is on there. From the end of July to the 15th of August it was just little bits and pieces wrote down not much really and this is the time i started to lose motivation , i was mentally, physically, at this stage drained . On the 15th of August was the very last day i wrote and it was a 6km in the pool as the weather was to bad that was usual for me , i would swim in any conditions but again the motivation was not there . The whole summer was a wash out which did not help but of course at the time i had to think positive and drive on say we say here .
I also felt that when it came to crew i did not know who to ask , i did not want to ask to many locals or aspirants of our group as they had all done enough in Dover in that few weeks leading up to my swim and with there own swims etc. I picked who i picked in the end my partner my brother both of whom do not swim at all and don’t know much about swimming especially channel swimming . I also pick a support swimmer from my local pool , she had experience with swimming outdoors and had done a marathon swim herself before so i was contented with that. I know she had a lot going on herself but with the kindness of her heart she done it for me , she done her best as did the others . I put them in that place i do not blame anyone for not making it but myself and if i do ever do the channel again i will have learned but that also does not mean that i will make it . That is the way the channel goes it could be anything that can go wrong. Let me start from we were packed and ready to go off on the ferry my support swimmer was to follow us as soon as i knew when i was swimming . The journey for me was a killer it was a late ferry so between us we shared the driving on that M20 it was a forever never ending road , i had wished at that point i had just took a flight . The ferry was recommended at the time by others because you can take more gear in the car, i totally hated the journey and i would never do it again . We arrived in Dover i already knew the area but i wanted the other two crew to get familiar so we went and stocked up on food etc . We phoned the boat man and he said nothing happening that day so we hung around waiting and enjoying the beautiful views that Varne Ridge has to offer.
The weather was glorious the next day the boatman said no but there was a good chance the next day. We then phone the support swimmer to let her know it was looking good for that day and she immediately got organized . I had a massage booked for that morning i had being feeling a bit if tension in my neck and shoulders. The flight was booked she was on her way so we got ready to pick her up , i had asked one crew member to go with the other to collect her from the airport . He did not want to go so i did not say anything and off i went to collect her with the other crew member as the other stayed sunbathing he thought it was holiday time. It took us one and a half hours to get to the airport by car and with the tom tom it took us 3hours to get back (don’t know how this happened) . I had to ring the masseuse and say sorry i explained the situation and tried to re shedule but he was fully booked up . This was the start of the disappointment i really felt i needed that massage but i had to just stay positive . We got back to the caravan and started to get organized got more food into the caravan and i gave to feeding program and stuff to crew i gave copies of this beforehand also . There was a guy out in the Channel that day trying to make a record he was almost there so we were listening to see if he would make it , it was exciting that we had been there to see him come back and brake it Trent Grimsey . We heard a very loud instrument in the park and so we went out and there he was and all his glory. There was also two Irish swimmers in the park that were on his boat Donal Buckley and Owen o Keefe so it was great for them to be a part of it also.
It was all very exciting stuff the champers was out and glasses were being raised and pictures being taken etc. He had done it in 6hrs55mins (wow) that is some speed, it was great to met him and get a photo with a legend like him. Then we went back to the caravan and two crew members stayed chatting, then the boatman phoned a crew member not to long after that to say i was swimming at 12 that night . I was excited and nervous all at once , i had not had to much to eat in the days previous well i did not feel like i eat enough for the long swim . I decided to get a pizza knowing it is not the best food to eat before a swim but i wanted one all of a sudden whether it was a comfort thing when i got told i was going that night or not but that’s what i wanted . I had discussed it with one crew member and he said he would have some if i was ordering, then when i asked the other two members of crew did they want some there was a dispute about it . I really thought hang on i only want a bit of pizza but they said i should not be worrying about this but i should be worrying about the swim in a few hours. Then there was a bit of confrontation between everyone which did not make me feel that good at that moment in time. Today when i think back i just look at it now as a mixture of worry, excitment , nerves , tiredness ,emotion etc , i thought i was calm i just wanted some food. Anyway i don’t know whether this set a good relationship between everyone but we just had to get on with it not dwell on it and go with the flow and get ready for the swim.
I did get the pizza but i did not even have the mind for it did not even eat much of it after all. Crew were getting everything ready i was getting nervous and excited, i said to myself in my mind how am i going to do this and then expressed this to a crew member, it was a moment of weakness ?! This was answered quickly by him he said you can you will be fine all you can do is do your very best . I was happy with that and started to try calm my thought’s they were racing through my mind as i was getting calls and texts to wish me well . This was it my moment after a full year of hard training i had to just go for it and so off we went down to the Dover harbor.
I have forgotten how to write?!! Just checking that i can actually work this blog , i am back to doing some long swims . I have missed it so i am going to write a bit when i get the chance .
This is my take on our Ice mile swim on the 24th of Feb in Lough Dan it’s better late than never! I decided after the London championships than i would like to attempt this ice mile i had been training through each winter since 2005 so felt i was ready, i enjoyed swimming in the cold water weirdly enough . I contacted Fergal Somerville and he was organizing one in Lough Dan in Wicklow on that weekend coming on the Saturday so i asked if i could join them but i said i couldn’t make the Sat so he was very accommodating and set it to Sunday , he kindly asked me about my OW experience and he told me what is required of me for the swim . He explained that if the temperatures were not low enough we could do it but it wouldn’t be counted , also that i needed an ECG test . In a panic thinking that this might be the last chance of the winter to do this off i went to find a place that would do an ECG on a Friday afternoon at 4.30pm , eventually a few hours and a few surgery’s later i found a place that would do it for me . I was getting doubts that i was going to get one at all so my spirits were high when i found a place , i got it done on the Saturday within no time at all in and out between 10 and 15mins! I learned that my heart was pumping good and normal so i phoned Fergal and told him the good news i had it done and i was ready to go , he told me it was snowing up there i was delighted ! . He posted the directions so i printed them out on Saturday evening all excited , then i got all my woolies together socks, hats, gloves,jumpers and of course snow boots and for a second a thought entered my mind the same as the last two times following the snow am i mad?? The answer was yes especially when i was answering my self :-). I got up on Sunday morning nice and early for the Journey had my porridge we were on the road for 6am as we got closer to Dublin the fields were frosty then as we went on further they were white it was so nice to look at . We followed the directions and we came to nearly a stand still on the windy road covered in snow up to Lough Dan but finally 3 and a half hours later we got there and it looked lovely and COLD. I met all the other swimmers and we drove closer towards the lake to get the cars nearer and of course i had to follow a car up a little hill covered in snow and i had a little drama only to get my car stuck in a ditch, with the smell of tyres burning and a lot of acceleration Gordan finally got us free and there was the lake.It was very much frozen over with ice at the edge so immediately i was thinking to myself WHY am i doing this again , i was worried when a few had said it was 2.3 was a reading others had got . There was a man already swimming in the water and so we were watching him and his crew he looked cold, tired and a little disorientated as to where the finish was , his crew were telling him where and eventually he finished . I immediately thought after watching him that’s going to be me in a minute , there was a bit of a delay on getting started so while waiting i was over thinking can i do this and again answering myself i said yes you can do this but if you feel bad enough half way just get out . The temps varied from thermometers between 3 and 4 degrees i had been in 3 or less in London but it was only 400 meters this was significantly much longer 1650 meters a mile. Then as i was wondering around nothing to do but think about it , i thought ok it’s not 6 hours in 9 degrees which i did last year or it’s not 8 or 10 hours it’s only a mile this made me feel better so in my head that’s what eased away any negativity i was ready . I got my tog’s on underneath my clothes then we got the briefing we were to swim from buoy to buoy 200meters apart from each other so up and down 4 times , the buoys would be white with a yellow bib on it . It was time this was it we lined up for a picture and in we walked through the ice which i couldn’t really feel as my feet were a little cold from standing around before hand , i set my watch just to have an idea what time it would take me for my own personal reasons . In went Donal Buckley first then myself then Fergal and the rest followed and of course the last but not least the fast Colm giving us all a head start so he can fly past us and give a wave .The start was from the yellow crate in the picture above but we started before it and off we went i was swimming away next to Fergal, Donal and someone else and at that point i was thinking i will try keep up as long as i can. I was trying to look up as to where the buoy was situated but i couldn’t see very well it was a i need my specs moment , on we went and how i missed it i don’t know but all i know was i heard someone shouting at me on my right side , it was Vicky the safety crew saying it’s that way thanks Vicky otherwise i probably would of kept swimming. I think i missed it as i was looking for white with a yellow bib and in the water it looked green to me anyway i said to myself i lost the others now so i just have to pace myself , i was swimming along side Donal for lap one and 2 then he was finished so i was on my own again . I was 8oo meters into the swim and i felt tingles in my fingers but i didn’t think much of this as i have experienced this before nothing new, then on the 3rd 400meters i got a numbness in my tongue but it did not last that long it went a way after a few minutes as i force my mind to ignore all of these feelings i had them before . I was expecting a brain freeze but i didn’t get one now in a few years now i used to get them when i started swimming first through the winters , i did feel my fingers separating from each other towards the last about 2oometers . I swam down to the buoy for the last time i passed out another swimmer and stopped to fix my goggles and a kyacker shouted go on keep going its your last lap i was over the moon and whatever i had left i tried to speed up the best i could for the last bit and in i swam . I was a little unsure was i allowed to stand or what at the end as i was told you could not walk but i had done the distance and more at that stage but when you are cold you don’t think straight so i shouted can i stand now , i got a response yes so i walked at the edge in and i got a towel around me and a spin down to the scouts shower room.I looked at my hands when i stood up after getting the towel around me and my both hands were in a right claw and a left claw ,i haven’t had a claw in a few year either!. I’m thinking now my body has acclimatized to certain degrees and is now going into a different acclimatization much much colder again so my body goes through all these feelings again . I was in pain it was a pain i hadn’t experienced before well it was numbness but sore OUCH , I went up to have a shower and i was so grateful but it was a little to hot so i just went in and out for a few minutes until i was able to speak and dress myself , i stood in the shower and looked down at my feet and they were blue and purple in some parts where the blood was rushing to the core as soon as i became unfrozen a little bit i got on layers and layers i was still shivering a little . I originally was going to just do some jumping and running to heat up but the surroundings were a little snowy and unsafe to go for a jog! Thank god for the shower i got a hot chocolate and i went to say i quick well done and goodbyes and off i went on the journey back Gordan had the car heated so it was lovely and warm for me , the only thing when i was warm fully i still felt tingles in my fingers till later that evening!. I just want to say thank you to ALL that was involved the scouts , safety , medical’s , Fergal and everyone that was there to support THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH , i would not have been able to do this without all of you . ICE WOMAN …..
In preparation for this i have had great new experiences , i hiked up mountains to find lower temperatures, i had never done this before and i can’t wait to do it again sometime. It was the most beautiful and tranquil place i have been to in quiet a while i absolutely loved it Coumshingaun in the Comeragh mountains . The snow was all around while we were nice and warm after climbing up , we took turns of going in and got dressed quickly had a hot cup and within 10 min’s of walking on our return we were nice and snug again. It would usually take me a half an hour or more to get warm coming back from Sandycove after a swim so it was all good .
Ice bathI was looking to find ice baths and I didn’t come across any so I said I’m just going to do my own so i went out and got 6 bags of ice. I filled up my bath with cold water and started pouring in the ice , my daughter had great fun with throwing it over me and doing the photo’s . I started the watch and just lay there and thought this is completely mad , the plan was to do 10 minutes and 10 minutes only , i got carried away and said sure i will try 15 minutes. My body was still so you do get colder than you would when moving so i would think i felt like an icicle . It was about 13 minutes in and or course always trying to push myself further i don’t know why sometimes but i do , I said i will try to get to 20 minutes . I got to 18 minutes and 4o seconds i had to get out as i was kind of worried , i turned from my front onto my back and put my hands down by my side into the ice and it was hot ! 🙂 . I was happy with making that far anyway as my event was going to be much less than that . It wasn’t that bad as it’s great to be able to get straight into a warm shower and heat up . I was now ready for my event 450 meters in London.
CWSC: Tooing Bec Lido and looking cold after finishing.It was an amazing experience i must say , I’m so glad i done it what a pool and the craic was mighty , the hat races were brilliant i was going mad i missed the entry maybe next time. Here is a picture of our new local celebrity Angela Harris in her jelly belly hat for her race , it was one of those that got in to the top 20 hats to win the competition along with 2 others. The pool was 90 meters in length and 30 meters in width fantastic we are so behind here why can’t we have one please .
I did put in a time for a lovely warm pool for 400 so a little to fast so I was in the first heat where as I think I should have been in group two . I got in and it wasn’t to bad I was glad that I swam in the colder water and the ice bath to practice before I went, we had to do two laps around it . There were 4 buoys set up just like the open water events , I felt my skin burn a little on the 2nd lap I just wanted to finish so i was happy that I did . I am trying to change my mind frame a little bit at the moment and trying not to worry about times so much but just completing it . I do think i could have done another lap though! It just seemed so short it was over before we knew it , the sauna was just brilliant straight away and then there were heated tents to get dressed , also the hot tubs the treatment was something else . I felt spoiled as we are so used to getting out of the water in Sandy cove and standing around freezing of butts off for a half hour or so and another half an hour to heat up on the way home and still not fully warm when home so it was a treat . There on the left hand side there was changing cubicles it had all mod con’s , the water was between 1.5 and 3 degrees . There was this lovely fountain in front of the cafe , the picture underneath is a foam shaped snow affect piece with 3 little penguin’s on top , it was a simple but a nice little touch to the pool to look at . Everyone that did the endurance event got a medal so that was nice i do think everyone deserved it in those temperatures .