If It Was Easy Everybody Would Be At It…….

Pooped, pooped and pooped again.

Not only has it been a physical sort of weekend, it has been an emotionally draining one as well.


Yeap, this weekend was ‘the’ weekend with ‘Madfish’ where I, along with around 12 others, threw myself into Lake Windermere in little more than a swimming costume, nose clip, (which was soon dispensed with), and swimming hat.

Now last weekend’s Great North Swim has been punctuated by the constrictions of my wetsuit on my shoulders and my butt’s desire to stay somewhat aligned at my rear end and so I was not expecting too many issues relating to this weekend as while the offending article was with me I was not planning on wearing it and indeed it returned back with me today in the same dry and unused state that it left on Friday.

However, there were issues but not tangible, objective issues such as restricted shoulder movement thanks to my wetsuit. No, the issues were much more deep rooted and harder to deal with.

Everybody has demons and things that cause issues, I am not unique there but this weekend has brought to the fore some issues that if I am to stride forward in the world of open water swimming I need to address – and reasonably quickly.

Don’t worry, I am not going to bore you with them , far from it – you would probably nod off after the first sentence, but suffice to say I know what I need to do.


Don’t get me wrong, the weekend was incredible, I learned stacks, want to learn more, have met inspirational people and people who I aspire to emulate – but I have areas that need addressing.

The weekend was full on, worth every penny and I can honestly say that every second contained another nugget of information for me to learn from. ‘Madfish’ is lovingly eccentric while being inspirational at the same time, (her granny shopping trolley and use of carrier bags evidences a healthy, complete and respectful disregard for others opinion), and to be honest anybody who can swim  the Channel in 14 hrs 18 mins Butterfly can, in my opinion, have a fleet of granny shopping trolleys and carrier bags and still be a legend.


Jim will go down in my memory as one of the world’s most patient and resourceful guys who can reassure a 40 something dithering woman while in deep water in Lake Windermere with a cruise boat hurtling towards them and an over protective, fed up, maternal swan behind. With a history as a UK level triathlete his words were gospel and his tone mesmerising. Thank you Jim – you are a genius!

Thanks go to Libby who put up with my rather dry sense of humour in the yoga session – including grunts, groans and a near miss with a grand case of flatulance – but disaster was averted and the somewhat small and confined space of the yoga room was spared the experience of a second hand dose of my Chinese the night before. Libby, you have inspired me to persue yoga – I think I am ready for it even if the world of yoga is not ready for my onslaught.


Finally Andy, Yeap the personal trainer who was greeted by the sight of me at 0645 on Saturday morning. Thanks Andy, you were a gem and I have just ordered my resistance straps and slam balls. I am not sure how I am going to get the slam balls back to Saudi but I will think of something – I usually do….

So, swimming in Lake Windermere – a roller coaster of emotions. I put my hands up now and say I did not complete the round island swim, it was one step too far which sent me into a quivering mess but I did some of it and if ‘Madfish’ will have me back next year, (I will even promise to avoid a Chinese and therefore reduce the likelihood of wind), I will complete it.

It is now a matter of honour.


Despite my issues this weekend I have made massive strides forward and today’s final open water swim was a delight with less stress, less anxiety and more control.

The only way to go now is from strength to strength.

So, would I recommend the swim camp? On a personal and selfish basis I would say no to avoid everybody else enrolling and me not being able to get a place for next year. On a realistic and philanthropic basis, then hell yes, I would tell anybody with an interest in open water swimming to get their backsides enrolled and get on the course. You really would not regret a second of it.

Right, as I am pooped I am going to draw a line under tonight’s missive and attempt to go to the land of nod. There are entertaining tales from the weekend, mainly relating to ‘Jamieeeee…..’, a potential scene from Eastenders and ‘The Wedding Party’, (I actually suspect that all the entertainment came from the same group of people in the hotel who were nothing to do with the swimming group but we’re celebrating the nuptials of some friend or relative with copious amounts of alcohol and lack of inhibition).

Anyway, these tales will have to wait for another day, but suffice to say I am alive, well and survived a challenging but thoroughly rewarding weekend.


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