The reason for the trip? Me, alongside another 1899 (spread over several waves), neoprene'd souls to swim in the 1 mile (some did the 1/2 mile and others the 2 mile but the majority did the standard distance) event of the Great Scottish Swim.
From afar this was the route out, one we walked down the slip way into the loch and its 16.2 degrees centigrade temperature. You can see the safety kayaks and boats bobbing along with a few distance bouys bobbing in the frame.
Once you swam out, turned left and returned back on a parrallel path to the one you heading out on you came to the finishing straight as shown in this less than usual quality photograph.
Now I thought it would be a good swim today, the training has improved all the bits of my swim that should be improved (more can be done though). The water was warm enough, once you got in and let the water seep into all those wet suit nooks and crannies you got used to it and the day itself was warm and dry. There was a bit of a wind that chopped the water a bit more than I would have preferred but there again my ideal swim condition is one of still water with not a ripple to be seen or felt.
So the down side to this were a couple of breaths in, they were of the watery kind but I spat out and ploughed on. The mask was continually pushed up my face but at least it wasn't pushed totally off taking my swim caps with them. Still a nuisance though so I need to reflect on what I could do to improve this situation if it happens again.
As a result of me breast stroking the mile, the Garmin watch recorded the time but not an accurate distance, although the map it plotted looked right. At half way my time was promising and my target of beating 50 minutes seemed well on course. I dug in, ignored the creeping face mask as it edged towards the top of my head and swam on, passing some fellow swimmers as we neared the finish, always a good boost to the confidence that is.
Into the shallows, onto my feet once terra firma was felt and a short run over the timing mat. Jab the stop button on the watch look down and 41:48 stares back.
An improvement of almost 20%, the kind of change that would have the drug testing technicians and their test tubes asking me to step into their tent if I had been on some stellar athletic stage rather than being a greying, maturing man in a Scottish Loch. The official time backed up my watch, no fluke, no Garmin malfunction. It's official and in the first 25% to finish too, a totally new experience this is for me.
Your inner voice shrieks as you giggle and smile, tears of joy welling up probably only being subdued by the gasps as you try and redress that gaseous imbalance. Not unlike that of a gold fish who jumps out of their water filled tank to land on dry land, before a kindly hand scopes them back into their natural world. If you were not as tired you would bring out your A game "Happy Dance". It's that good.
My champion chip is checked against my name, it's removed from my ankle and the goodie bag handed over by the wonderful volunteers who ask how it went
"Great" Grin, Grin.
You open the bag see your medal and the t-shirt and wonder, how can I improve on that swim?