Polar Bear Challenge 2019-2020
Welcome to December's Polar Bearing Update...
Another month has passed by with plenty of swimming, even though the mayhem of Christmas descended!
My first swim of the month was at the beautiful Cornish Tipi site about 10 minutes outside of Wadebridge, Cornwall. It was a lovely sunny day and to top it off I managed to convince some good friends to accompany me on my voyage.
What a beautiful swim… crisp air, blue skies and my daughter gliding around keeping us company in a rowing boat.
I am so pleased to say….. DRUM ROLL… (are you drumming your fingers frantically on the table!)
I’ve only gone and completed my first PB specified swim… GO ME! lol.
I whizzed around the stunning lake accompanied by the inquisitive fish, Tony and Ingrid. I covered 2Km at 9c. To finally get started on the specified swims was a wonderful feeling.
It was almost like the feeling of satisfaction when you tick off a job on a long list of ‘things you need to do’. The only difference is, I chose to put myself through this.
More gloriously sunny days came for the first week, so with my most convincing voice and smile on my face I managed to persuade yet more willing victims (well, more reluctant but willing friends) to join me at Daymer, Bay Cornwall.
On With the challenge!
The aforementioned gloriously sunny days saw me tick off yet another PB swim from my list. Daymer Bay was the place of choice, the ground was icy and the cold was biting. There were plenty of squeals, huffing and puffing from my ‘reluctantly willing’ friends but by jove, they got in with me and stayed in for a sterling amount of time.
You know when you have good friends if they will keep you company in ‘adverse conditions’. I love my friends!
I may have mentioned it once or twice before… Good friends and good people are what makes it all worthwhile. If they lift you up and make you feel good about yourself they are the people you need in your life.
Did I say I completed another PB specified swim during our chilli dip at Daymer… #1.5Km at 9c Yay!
As December progressed the weather turned slightly cloudy, then the winds picked up and the distractions of Christmas started to slow progress.
I sent my hopes out to the universe and waited for my moment.
To my exhilaration the day arrived VERY quickly. The air temperature plummeted and the tide had not washed over the Seapool wall to ‘warm’ it up… Hoooraaa!
At that point I had to stop and check my mental stability as I was getting excited at throwing myself into bloody cold water… STOP… HOW AM I FEELING?… yup just as I thought… I was still excited and keen to get a swim in. I find a little bit of madness helps.
There are quite a few benefits of this magnificently mad sport of Cold Water Swimming.
My Billy Bear reported that the sea pool was 6.8c. That can only mean one thing. Bude Seapool, here I come!
By the time I arrived the temperature had dipped to 6.4c… Wooohooo!
Under Billy’s watchful eye I began my swim. I completed my first circuit checking in with myself regularly to make sure I wasn’t getting too cold. after 500m I was still feeling good. Onward toward 1Km, still going strong.
As I was swimming I wondered how my body was holding up and ‘would I slow down’ due to the cold impacting on my muscle function.
I kept going, checking in to make sure I was managing the temperature. One more lap to go!
As I started to make my final turn I could feel a slight disoriented feeling. Very quickly, on the home stretch, I got that feeling of being ‘warm’, like someone had poured warm water over me.
That was my cue to get out… and make it snappy!
All factors that need to be considered when taking up cold water swimming are drummed into my mind. It’s not something to be taken lightly, as even the most seasoned of swimmers can get caught out very very quickly.
There are Risks but knowing your bodies reactions to the cold makes it easier to know your own limits and reduce the risk factors. I’m still learning about my bodies reaction but very happy with my acclimatisation.
Thankfully I listened to my body and got out. All my clothes and extra layers were strategically set out so I could throw them on once I had finished. I recovered very well, aided by, a controversial heated vest, rapidly getting dressed (warp speed) and sipping my nice warm drink.
Another PB swim ticked off and a very very happy ME having completed 1.64Km at 6.4c.
Next stop… Daymer Bay. Air temperature 3c, water 9.5c. toasty compared to Bude Seapool.
I really didn’t feel like getting in that day. My body was already hurting. I was getting random spontaneous bruising (part of my ailments, don’t want to alarm you) and I just didn’t want to hurt any more… But, I know if I got in I would feel so much better once the biting cold feeling subsided.
Off I went and boy was I glad I got in. The swim was beautiful but OMG… that wind when I got out… brrr!
I’ve had some amazing swims this month but when I suggested to a few friends that I’d like to visit Kit Hill near Callington again they weren’t too sure… but off we trotted. A great place to get some of the colder swims in.
I needed to break out into my best sun dance as conditions were a bit wet and wild, which isn’t ideal for the colder swims. At least my crazy dance is entertaining even if it doesn’t bring out the sun… it’ll put a smile on your face.
Needless to say, we made it to Kit Hill and sauntered off in the direction of the quarry.
A few random walkers jokingly suggested, “its a nice day for a dip in the quarry”. As they walked on they chuckled at their sense of humour. Little did they know we were actually getting in lol.
Off we went, around and around… 800m and a goldfish for company Natalee and I completed another PB specified swim!
As we got out and started to get dressed we thought about the many things that impact the way you feel on each swim. I’ve yet to complete the coldest swims and considered what I need to do to have the best chance of successfully completing the challenge.
PRIORITY… must have CAKE… oh and a full monty hot chocolate at the local cafe!!!
Joking aside, lack of sleep, drinking alcohol the night before a swim, not eating well and state of mind can all make a difference to the outcome of a swim.
To round off this months swimming what better way to finish than with a Swim/Walk from Daymer Bay to Baby Bay, Cornwall and return.
Three swims and an 8.5Km walk with some amazing people. Topped off with a BBQ and a few Spatchcock sausages.
Thank you so much for following my journey and please feel free to share and inspire others.
See you at the end of January for more Polar Bearing updates.
For the Love of…
- Water temperature range 11c – 5.4c
- Air temperature range 10c – 3c
- Swim distance 9Km
- Specified swims – 4