Being two experienced sub 5 degree water swimmers, Tracey and I thought nothing of popping into 2.8 degree water for a dip yesterday. Tracey had been in Rosebush to do some distance training for her upcoming ice mile attempt and I was there to shout abuse at her. Her training pond was frozen over so as we decided to check out the quarry. I had my cameras with me and Jemeima to operate one so I almost broke into a trot with my crutch in hand when it started to snow heavily and we thought there might be a bit of ice to break through up there…. oh the filming opportunity!
Anyhow, long story short, Western Tel got in touch today, reporter fancies a swim with us, could they use the footage? Of course, anyone who knows me knows I love a bit of exposure, (cheeky) and love introducing new people into our Bluetit clan.
So, below is the link to the online piece and of course all the comments! Most of the ‘WOW’ and ‘MAD WOMEN’ we used to but the negatives added an interesting perspective. Maybe when I spoke to the reporter I (the one in the stripy swimsuit) should have emphasised the ice mile challenge. I am and ice miler and to get this accolade (which is to pop on a swimsuit and complete of a 1 mile swim in open water that is 5 degrees or below) I trained for three years by swimming in sub 5 degree water a swimsuit, hat and goggles. I had to swim qualifiers that were approved by the International Ice Swimming Association and get a full medical before attempting the challenge. Tracey (the one in the red swimsuit) is currently training to swim the English Channel and attempt her first ice mile, so she too has trained for a long time to get to the point where she is well on her way to being ready to achieve both goals. Sometimes, when we find ice and snow for example, we take break from heads down cold water distance swimming, hang our knickers from a tree let it all hang loose mother goose! We are not to be confused with the people who chuck themselves from a great height into what the general public consider icy water in the summer months tanked up on a few beverages…although I have tried that one too (the tanked up bit not the great height), see ‘daft twat’ sentence below.
Many years ago someone called me irresponsible for sleeping on a beach with my children, something we did quite often and always with military like organisation… the organising was part of the adventure. It was then I realised that there can be a fine line between what we humans consider adventurous and what we consider irresponsible. I am capable of being both. I’ve learnt my most valuable survival lessons being the latter and my subsequent adventures were better planned as a result of the times I was a daft twat. To those who do push boundaries no explanation is necessary, to those who don’t, no amount of explaining will ever suffice.
Daily Mail Online next maybe? I did badger one of their reporters about a Bluetit article years ago … I wouldn’t handle the negative comments was the reaction to that shameless request for national accolade.
Maybe they were right. Most of the time I wallow In the wonderful Bluetit filled world of the courageous, generous and bold. The conversation and post swim tea is often fruity, the cake homemade and the hot chocolate laced with feck knows what to warm your cockles on the walk home. Negative they are not, and by facing fears about the cold and open water and body issues and peer pressure and the dumb things armchair troopers might say to them about irresponsibility, heart attacks and hypothermia they are some of the bravest people I have the privilege of knowing.
The Lone Swimmer website is an interesting place to visit if you are a swimmer. With the water temperatures dropping nicely now and some Bluetits venturing into very cold puddles I thought the attached might be interesting and amusing….
Introducing a precise open water swimming temperature scale – LoneSwimmer
Not for everyone this challenge but then neither is live modelling a swimsuit in a shop window or plunging into any of body of water even once without a wetsuit … challenges come in many shapes and forms and what one persons deems a major challenge can be considered a walk in the park for someone else. Why we choose to do what we do when we do always fascinates me but In my experience once a challenge takes your fancy it can be a bugger to get it out of your head. So the season for attempting ice miles is upon us and if you take an interest in this kind of thing the air is full of who’s done what where and in what temperature. Trying to stick to your training guns and remember you are unique and cannot compare yourself to anyone else is tough. The sensible you knows all of this but the beast within is impatient and eager to get the first ice mile done and that red jacket on…. everyone else is managing it so why not me?! It’s tough, but an ice mile attempt is not to be taken lightly. The author of the attached is a seasoned ice miler and I like the way she has written the piece… honest and no drama, it is what it is, challenging but doable.
Bluetit Tracey did her 1km qualifier today in 4.4 degree water with Jan as ‘recovery angel’…. the ice mile cometh