Thank you to everyone for the well wishes and who came to watch me swim on Saturday. I'm sorry if you have picked up a cold while standing in the cold and rain. I know many of you hid it well that you were freezing hehe.
Friday night I think the nerves got me and I ended up having 2 pints I know not the best prep for a race. Gathered my bits and pieces sure what did I need only a pair of togs, my hat and goggles the rest had to wait till morning.
Saturday morning 2 flasks and 3 hot water bottles to be filled. Hot water bottles were wrapped in my towel dryrobe and tea was made for the flask. It felt like the morning of an Ironman again I was questioning why and how was I going to do this. Car packed and off to Lough Dan I went. I had a playlist going full blast in the car only thing that I could think of to take my mind off the swim. I recognized a few cars parked in Roundwood so I had an idea who was coming to watch and not sure if I was excited or more nervous.
First thing first was put the bucket (all my swim gear is in a bucket and I won't change to a bag) and gear in the tent and then straight over to the lake to see what the conditions were like. Oh god it was horrible. Mist rolling in and whitecap waves and sure the rain was yet to come. Bleak wasn't it.
Right distract myself and start helping out. Last year I did the registration so I went to do that but someone had that job so I just helped with race numbers which was nice as I got to meet all the swimmers. Some I had swam with before and some not was nice to have a chat with everyone.
Mam and dad arrived and my friend Maria. They were loaded down with more flasks and hot water bottles. Better to have too much than too little I guess. Into the tent to show mam and Maria where my stuff was and what my plan was for getting dressed. Looking into the warm towels and my cosy warm clothes I felt like jumping into it but at least my clothes would be warm when I get out later.
Rain had started and wind had picked up all the men where flapping around it was getting close to 10:30. 10:30 came and went and still they hadn't even got ready. Ladies were meant to be off at 11.15am. I thought I had heard the kayakers weren't happy with the lake conditions and didn't want to be out on the water so this was the delay. It was confirmed that night that wasn't the case they were ready to go. So I really don't know why there was such a long wait.
Along came the support. Gaby, Lisa, Karen, Ciara, Anne, John, Fiona and Anthony were there and then more of my own swim friends Viv, Barbara, Sheila and Una. My uncle arrived he thinks I'm cracked but still showed up for the support. Tarja plus kiddies and Daniela. Amazing to have you all there if a little overwhelming. Then I got concerned that everyone was cold and wet. In my head I was willing the swim to start. Some people had to leave and I totally understood and was disappoint they had come all the way and we hadn't even started so thank you again.
Finally the men were off. 4 laps of a 400m course. First man home Colm looked in good shape finishing, Gary 2nd home fell over coming in and I guess that's expected in any swim. The 3rd man home Pat christ I had to move away after that. Pat wasn't really with it at all. I got talking to him later in the pub and his body temperature dropped to 27* he doesn't remember leaving the water or been dressed. I think all the other lads were grand I had left the shore to go get ready.
12:45pm and the ladies race was starting. Off I went the 1st lap was the hardest the chop of the water and the unnerving feeling. The 2nd lap was better I got angry with the water and felt this helped me swim abit better. I got rid of my tow float on the 2nd lap it was too windy and it was getting in my way. I was expecting the 3rd lap to be the worst but it was grand. The 2nd half of the last lap I was feeling it. I could see the rib boat come closer to me and everything was playing on my mind was I going to be taken out or could I finish so I tried my best to swim faster. I was at the last buoy and could hear Tiffany and Dee shouting to keep swimming and swim to them but it was getting harder I thought I was swimming ok. Looking at the video I was crawling along I kept stopping and looking up. Made it. Dee and Tiffany picked me up and walked me out to the shore. The relief. I even remembered to stop my watch haha.
Now for the recovery. As I have said before I don't talk when I get out and this was no different. Dad was trying to put my croc on, mam and Maria were trying to put my towel dryrobe on and then the slow walk to the tent. I started to try get dressed when the doctor arrived in. She wanted me to go to the ambulance. Ambulance what? why? So on the walk over I was thinking what's so wrong they want me over there. Phew she only wanted me there cause it was warmer. I started coming around got my clothes on with help from Maria and Barbara. Poor mam was just stood outside possibly desperate for a cigarette haha. Viv was helping another swimmer how did that come about. Viv and Barbara had been asked by a swimmer could they help her sure what could they say. I started talking not sure what I was saying but I was talking now. All the layers were on and I was out and walking around with a lot of shaking going on. I was looking for my tea but sure I think I got a dribble I couldn't hold the cup without throwing it all over myself with the shakes.
So that was it everyone could breathe I made it and I was now warm. I did it I had just swam 1 mile in water 4.5* on a shitty windy day in Lough Dan. Home kettle on, heating on and time to process what I had done. I didn't delay and got on to the Open Water Pedia website. I had found out that no Irish female had completed both an Ironman and Ice mile. Email sent and I had expected not to hear from them till Monday but within a half hour I had a reply that yes I was the first Irish female. Delighted and excited to have this now next to my name. 1st in Ireland, 3rd in Europe (is UK in Europe now??) and 5th Worldwide.
Again thank you all. Wicklow Tri really is the best club to be a part of. I'm not sure if anyone will take me up on this offer but if anyone wants to do some cold swimming next year contact me and I can introduce you to Ian in Armagh where my trips have been invaluable as I have learnt so much from them and Fergal for the Ice mile. If you are considering skin sea swimming please start off with 1min and build on that don't jump in thinking you can spend 10mins in there and not be affected also start in the summer months.
Well done again on your terrific achievement on Saturday. Nothing short of ballsy I’d say. Not even the promise of a date with Rupert Penry Jones would have had me stripping down to my togs and throwing myself into that lake!! It was utterly Baltic on Saturday and you took the entire thing in your stride!
Watching grown beasts of men stumble out of the lake utterly delirious was difficult enough (despite their colourful array of rather small pants!) and it made us all anxious of your own recovery.
Not only did you nail your ice mile but you walked (albeit aided) out of that lake like the ice champ you are. Only moments before I had to avert my gaze and shield my face so I could wipe a tear as a women was lifted out of the boat to shore, how you can do that to yourself is beyond me!
But you did, and you’re awesome and I’m utterly, utterly proud of you! I’m showing everyone, that will watch, the the videos I took...now my hands have warmed up of course!