Sunday, September 20, 2015


A truly fabulous holiday but the planned ocean swim events did not go to plan. Our first 4Seasons overseas trip together was a seriously awesome time, but pushing yourself to withstand colder and colder water is a terrible idea right before a tropical swimming holiday. There were LOTS of dolphins though.

Firstly, the Roughwater ocean swim was cancelled because the water was too rough. Worst case of naming since the Never-Ending Story. Where's Lionel Hutz when you need him?

A couple of friends from the surf club swam it anyway and found there was some super rough sets out the back so the decision to cancel was totally justified. However, it had clearly been made the night before and so they allowed last minute regos up until the minute of the announcement. Imagine paying $150 to enter on the morning of a swim and not even getting time to collect your timing chip before they cancel it. Absolutely bollocks organisation.

We made the best of it, walking the course with some absolutely cracking swim stops along the way.

A wonderful week loomed in between the next event, with lots of relaxing, light swimming and some hiking and a visit to Pearl Harbo(u)r.

Unfortunately, my arms just felt achey every time I swam. I tried stretching them out and ramped up my hydration ahead of the 5km North Shore swim.

It should be noted that most of our  contingent loved the swim.

By 1km in I was in serious trouble. My perfect pace buddy was pulling ahead and I couldn't match her pace. I managed to hold her feet until the 2.5km mark (the change over point for the relays) and then I was in the danger zone.

I couldn't remember how to swim. I could kind of keep my arms turning over but I was delirious. I was breaststroking, backstroking and my underarm glands blew out completely. I cannot tell you what swimming in salt water with chafed glands is like. The best analogy I can come up with is that it's like swimming with tennis balls coating in extra course sandpaper under you arm. I was bleeding freely by the end.

Eventually, I realised if I took my swim cap off I'd start losing excess heat from my head. Thank goodness for that.

That realisation allowed me to complete the swim. As did running into Michaela, who was doing the duo. She quickly perceived something was really wrong. I think I might have been slurring my words by this point. She kept me going.

I alternated breaststroke, backstroke and really wide freestyle to manage the pain under my arms. We caught up to a lovely chatty group. Apparently we were fighting a really hard current. I didn't notice.

Slowly the finish line came into sight.

The most painful part of the whole swim. By this point everything in my body had cramped so as to be unusable out of the water. It took me a good few minutes to hobble over the line, held up by Mary and Mike.

Gosh darnit, I wish there had been first aid to hand. But the organisers had basically packed up. Including handing out the prizes. Despite the fact I was second, and last, in my age group. I have never seen my prize. The Charity Island swim really showed up North Shore Tri Club in terms of organisation. Speaking of which, my final time for 5km was 3 hours 10 minutes. My time for 11km less than a month earlier was 3:52.

That alone should tell you what a complete disaster of a swim it was.

I'd happily go back to Hawaii for a holiday. But I'd do some serious warm water acclimatisation before I swim there again.