Like Cliff, when the demons wheedled, I got out. On the first day we were down to do two two hour swims. During the first one I got out after an hour, mainly because I hadn’t expected to be so cold and so miserable. I had expected to enjoy the swimming a bit, and I really wasn’t. Before I went on the trip, I’d been talking to a couple of friends about my concerns regarding the longer swims, and one of them said “Well, if you’re not enjoying it, get out.” When I came round the bay for the fourth time and Fiona beckoned me in for a feed, my chum’s words came back to me, and I thought “Sod it, I’m not enjoying it, I’ll get out.”
The afternoon swim was called off due to mass jellyfish coming into the coast ahead of a storm, and the same storm saw the six hour swim brought forward to the next day. I announced that I wanted to try to do two hours. Note that word “try”. The next day we swam in a bay sheltered from the bouncy stuff going on outside, where it was nevertheless choppy. An hour and ten minutes into the swim, just after a feed, and… Uh oh!
I get seasick – I barfed mightily during our Channel relay – and I’ve got sick and, indeed, been sick when swimming. Apart, obviously, from the nausea, and the manky taste in the mouth, I can actually recommend being sick whilst swimming. Not over things like a spa weekend or a meal at an expensive restaurant with Colin Firth, you understand, but over being sick on land. On land you feel worse and worse and then have to time your rush to somewhere you can throw up with impunity, whereupon your entire being convulses as though you had a snake in your stomach. In the sea you just feel sick, then you go “Bluuurrrpppp”, and it floats away. No muss no fuss. But I digress.
I felt sick. Then I felt worse. Then worse some more. I had taken my seasickness pills and they hadn’t worked (sadly nothing seems to work) and I was feeling grim. I swam on for a bit, then said I wanted to get out. Ricky, one of our lovely guides, kindly said that I only had a short time to go until the two hours were up, and did I want to try to tough it out. I didn’t, and swam back to the boat, where the combined efforts of Fiona, Jane, and Cliff in a rib, kept me in for twenty more minutes.
At that point I had twenty minutes to go until my two hours were up. Looking back now I think “Why didn’t I just tough it out?” I’d stayed in for half an hour since I’d originally said I wanted out. I knew I could swim while feeling sick (I know that perfectly well). I knew I just had to keep putting up with the cold and the sickness and the miserableness, and I knew I could. So why?
“Why are you doing this? This is horrible. You’re hating it. What’s the point? You feel horrible. What are you trying to prove? You don’t have to do this.” Yep, those sneaky demons again.