Swim 2: The River Lee Swim
After our chilly introduction to Sandycove, our second swim was scheduled to take place that afternoon in Cork City. The River Lee, right through the middle of the city, provided a nice 2 km swim, mostly with the flow of the river.
The swim itself was really warm, and quite the race with 430 participants all leaving in waves. I really enjoyed the swim, mostly for the view. As we swam along we went under 8-10 very low bridges. Some of them old, old stone, some of them steel girders, and some of them looked to be solid concrete. They were absolutely incredible. Beyond the bridges, the cityscape was awesome with brightly colored buildings flying past and people leaning against the railings above cheering. I truly enjoyed the ‘illegal’ feeling of swimming in a place in a middle of a city where no swimming is allowed. What a blast!
Swim 3: Sandycove
We were back at 6 am for another swim around Sandycove on Sunday morning. It was wonderful! I think somebody said it was 10 or 11 degrees this day. The sun was out. Everything was bright. In spite of everything, I felt rested.
I felt good to go. Awake and ready for swimming! Once I got going, I felt that I could keep going. And I felt strong and good and like it was warmer. Corner One was still freezing, but the good news is always that Corner Two is warm. So I kept on.
And then… my squirrelly left shoulder started to hurt. The way it does when it doesn’t want to go further, and it will only hurt more. I had been favoring it anyway, and shortening my stroke for most of the morning.
Oh, I didn’t want to stop. The sun was rising; the water was fine. I knew my powers of cold water invincibility were all present and I so, so wanted to continue. I so, so wanted to keep on.
I remembered what Natalie had said, then, about perseverance. Sometimes you focus on the severe part – you run your body to the ground, and you push through the pain, and you keep going and going and going. Goodness knows, I can do that. That’s almost easy. But within persevere, there is another good word: preserve. And sometimes, choosing to preserve yourself and hang back a bit is better for the long haul.
It was the hardest decision I’d ever made, only going around the island twice. I had been in the water for more than an hour, which is still an accomplishment, but I was sad that I had to choose.
But with another race-like event later in the day – an 8 km freshwater swim, it was good to give myself a break and look forward to the next event. Some stretching and recovery time is what my shoulder was asking for. By the end of the day, I should be at around 18 km (apx 11 miles). I think that’s plenty for two days.