The Cold Water Diaries


My cold water swim in Hampstead heath challenge: 3/10

Three weeks ago my best friend suggested that we meet in Hampstead Heath for a swim in the ladies pond. We have been friends since we were 11 years old and she has never shared my love of sport,so I grabbed the opportunity and said yes. I only wished the month was June and not September. 

It was my first time and had come slightly unprepared. I forgot my towel, my hat and shower gel, I was so used to going to my gym were these luxuries are supplied I needed to toughen up. Standing on the edge of the pond with a temperature of 16 degrees it suddenly felt like a bad idea.

Diving is the only way in to cold water. Wow! Was that the biggest shake up to the system, it felt as if each individual organ was fighting to keep my body from hyperthermia. It took the length of the pond untill the thrill of the cold water turns to warm racing blood pumping through your veins and your skins starts to feel on fire. It is only now you start to regulate your breathing, calm down and enjoy the experience of cold water swimming.
There is no feeling like this!

We have vowed to do 10 swims by the end of the year! 

Today was the 4th swim, again I forgot my towel but I did bring a thermos of chicken chilli bone broth and a slice of flourless chocolate cake another part of the deal and a reward for your body.  

Just as we were about to dive in, two life guards asked if we were going to dive in. They were  assessing our robustness as the temperatures had dropped to 12 degrees. I cant say they filled me with confidence and I was now not only thinking twice about diving in but about getting in full stop. However lowering myself into the pond just isn't my style and so we counted to three and took the plunge. There was no conversation until the end of the pond by which time blood started to rush to the surface and provide an amount of warmth.

Luckily we had come late so only had time for two laps. The lifeguards said we should swim three times a week so your body gets used to it. I asked if there was a temperature too cold to swim. No she said,' if you can dive in 12 degree you can swim all year! '

I was beginning to wish I had taken the slow lowering technique with a few oo's and ahh's.

Thursday is swim 4/10 I'm looking forward to the delights Julia will bring to eat post swim!