So I haven’t been around much for the Saturday clubs spins as I’ve been doing some cold swimming. Some of you have known about it and are asking me so I thought it was best to post here and keep you up to date on my progress.
Ice swimming is swimming in water below 5 degrees. You are only allowed wear 1 swim hat and 1 pair of togs (swimsuit) no WETSUIT. Am I mad I hear you say well I’ll leave that up to you to decide but I love it.
There are 2 distances Ice Kilometre (1000m) and Ice Mile (1600m) both are challenging in their own way.
How cold is below 5 degrees well let’s just say if you think the local swimming pool is cold then maybe ice swimming is not for you. The pools are usually 29.5 degrees.
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m not a fan of swimming in a wetsuit so getting into the sea is no problem once I overcame the cold feet situation. The sea is about 7* at the moment cold but not cold enough.
I’ve been travelling up and down to Armagh as much as I can at the weekends there is an outdoor pool (wild water Armagh look them up on facebook) there which is used for Ice Km Championships and the temperature there can drop really low. The lowest this year I know of is 1.1* water temperature. My coldest swim has been 1.7*
The swimming isn’t the problem it’s the recovery (The thawning out haha) My first 500m this winter was in water 2.9* air temp was 6* but the recovery was a little sicking I thought I was going to pass out. Many lessons were learnt that day. That 500m was a qualify swim to begin this journey I then had to go to the doctor and get clearances and an ECG. You can’t swim beyond 500m till they are done.
I then went again and swam 750m in 2.5* water air was 2*. This was again a different swim its amazing what the air temp can do and make you feel. This is the recovery that stands out the most and only for Claire looking after me with hot towels in the sauna and telling me it’s 10mins of feeling sick and I’d be grand. I think I turned a few shades of grey that day. The pain in my fingers and toes was really bad. Have you ever got into the shower after a cold spin on the bike and it feels like 1000’s of pins and needles stabbing you well it’s on that level only worse.
I asked me mum if she wanted to come and see what I was doing I think she thought we’d go shopping in Newry after but nope haha. We arrived and Ian was breaking the ice on the pool my mouth dropped I was like holy shit this is going to be freezing. Water temperate was 1.7* and the air was -3*. On the way up I had said I’ll swim 1km then I got there and seeing the ice I thought again and decided only 750m by the time I hit the water I was like I want to get out but stuck at it for 500m I think what was playing on my mind was the last recovery and feeling so sick plus I didn’t want to terrify my poor mother.
I climb out after 500m and headed for the sauna and trying to talk and tell my mum what to do for me. Recovery wasn’t that bad a little pain in fingers n toes and little grey but far better than the week before. I was gutted to not have completed the 1km as that was my plan but I’m still learning all about this Ice Swimming.
Last weekend I ticked a box and got my Ice KM statues. Delighted I was. Water temp 4* so much easier to swim and the recovery was great. I still shook and spilled my tea and couldn’t talk for few minutes but was on cloud 9.
My next big challenge after that is on the 3rd February in Lough Dan where I hope to complete an ice mile swim. This has been my goal for over 2 years I was unable to do it last year and nothing is stopping me this year. If anyone is free on the Saturday 3rd from about 9:30am (I’ll confirm later) I’d love your support. I know it’s same time as the Saturday spins but maybe you could cycle to Lough Dan that day and cheer me on I’d really appreciate the support as would all the other swimmers.
I’ll keep you posted on the Ice km and how it goes.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Darren_S, fiRed, Paul Evans, steve_mc, michaelp