This past week has been another emotional rollercoaster, but I can finally say that I have decided to attempt my 2 Way Windermere swim despite only having surgery just over 2 weeks ago!
As mentioned in my last Windermere blog, the district nurse took my stitches out on the 14th August and told me that the drain sites needed longer to heal and as a result I was concerned that swimming was completely out of the picture for another week. This put me completely in the unknown in terms of my Two Way Windermere Swim. If I couldn’t swim for another week, then the first time I would be able to be back in the water was the week of my Windermere swim. If that was the case, Windermere Two Way was simply out of the question.
Again, as I said previously, I saw the nurse on Monday and she cleared me to swim. When she did, I was really glad I was wearing a face mask because I am pretty sure I looked like some kind of over excited, demented little child in a sweet shop! Despite being cleared to swim I still had no clue how I would get on when in the water.
On Tuesday I got in the pool for the first time in several weeks and it felt amazing but, it was painful. I instantly felt better being in the water, I could move freely and somehow it just made me relax and everything seem better than it had in weeks. However, when I started swimming, I quickly realised I had a problem – I couldn’t breathe bilaterally. Ever since I was a child I have always breathed bilaterally when swimming but when I was in the pool turning to breathe on the left-hand side hurt. I was struggling with twisting/rotating so had to breathe to one side, but this meant I was breathing every 4 strokes rather than every 3. As I was only beathing every 4 I was getting more tired and out of breath. This was really concerning for me as I wasn’t used to breathing this way and I didn’t think I would be able to swim a long distance breathing to one side.
As a result, after the swim on Tuesday I still didn’t know if I was going to attempt Windermere, but I knew I had to decide by the end of the week. I decided to rest and do nothing for the rest of the week until attempting to swim again on Friday evening.
I chose Friday to do my first open water swim since surgery as the BRJ lake session has safety cover, I am well known there so if I did have any issues, I was sure that I would be safe and get the help I needed. I put my wetsuit half on before heading to the lake because it was tricky as bending and twisting still hurt. I am glad that I decided to put it half on at home because I was making some very ‘interesting’ noises whilst trying to get it on!
Thankfully I managed to get it on and was so happy to be heading back to the lake!
Despite being excited to get back in the lake I was also very nervous, this was the deciding swim on if I would attempt Windermere or not, there was so much riding on it.
I was first in the lake, it felt strange and I took it very easily. After swimming about 200m I realised I was breathing bilaterally as normal! I had a small smile and happy feeling inside, but I kept focusing on swimming and listening to the cues that my body was giving me. I originally planned to swim just one lap of the lake but after one lap I was feeling strong so kept going. Swimming was still painful, but it was nothing I couldn’t manage, the only issue I did have was that I was unable to sight properly as looking up and straight forwards made my side hurt. I got out of the lake with a big smile on my face and automatically decided then and there that I was going to attempt my Windermere swim on Wednesday 1st September!
This week I am going to continue to take it fairly easily but on Tuesday I am going to try doing a long river swim to see how I get on, also to practice having my nutrition in the water one last time. Then my final distance swim (5km) before heading to Windermere will be on Thursday!
We are travelling to Windermere on Saturday and I hope to do one swim with a group of lovely people before my way solo attempt on Wednesday.
I don’t know what is going to happen next Wednesday during my swim. I don’t know what the conditions will be like, how windy it is or how choppy the water will be. I also don’t know what my CRPS and Fibromyalgia pain levels will be on the day and obviously don’t know how my core and side will feel from my surgery. All I can do is turn up on the day, give it my best shot and hope for the best!
There is still plenty of time to click the logo below to sponsor me and spread the word about making open water swimming more accessible and inclusive!