It’s been a week of both highs and lows and a few surprises along the way, and what has really come home to me is the huge difference that just one day can make.
The week started really well. Both Ian and I were signed up to swim the 2016 Seahorse swim, a local swim organised by the east Dorset open water swim club. The swim is optionally a 2km or a 4km swim around the lovely studland bay, from the equally gorgeous Knoll beach (a National Trust beach) here in Dorset. Well I say a “swim around” but in fact it’s a hugely popular race. In fact so popular that it attracted a number of swimmers from Brickwell lido in London (where I occasionally get to swim). My swimming so far has always been pretty leisurely and at my own pace but this was a full blown competition which is a bit different. Initially my take was that it’s an opportunity for a nice open water swim, who cares about places or times. I’m very aware that I’m not a fast swimmer, and that doesn’t bother me as it’s not my priority but I do have a bit of a competitive element in my nature and it wasn’t long before my leisurely swim moved firstly to not wanting to come last, and then accelerating to “how well can I do”. The whole race experience was different for me, the “mustering” in the water (of around 180 swimmers) waiting for the klaxon that signalled the start was different and then we were off. I was really pleased to complete the course in a very respectable 42 minutes (only 9 minutes after the first swimmer got back). And to find that I was 6th placed in the category that I had entered (which was admittedly only the 2km category). It also helped that it was a lovely sunny day and we got to spend time on the beach with family and a few old friends that I haven’t seen in way too long. After a nice family lunch the weekend ended on a real high.
As the week progressed I got a few more pretty uneventful miles under my saddle in preparation for this year’s main event, leading up to the next step in this year’s preparation. For several months now I’ve been growing a bulge which my GP recently confirmed as a hernia which the male body is pretty susceptible to. Fortunately the local NHS workload fitted perfectly in allowing me to get this sorted a few days after the swim and that hopefully gave me a long enough recovery period to be back in the saddle in time for the Brighton ride.
As always I approached this bit of surgery with an overly optimistic attitude it was after all just a keyhole surgery day case, in and out the same day. I fully expected to be up and about the next day. I have to admit though to a little bit of trepidation as I went down to the theatre as a whole flood of memories of the last medical intervention I had needed came back to me. It was after all that major surgery that prompted me to undertake these physical challenges. A bilateral hernia repair is in a different league and it all went well less than 3 hours and I was ready for a post op cuppa and a sandwich. However my up and about the next day proved hopelessly over ambitious. I felt as if I’d been hit by a train. Here I am though 3 days later much better, not going to be riding a bike anytime soon but I’m still going to be on track by September.