By: Blonde Two

Back in November, I started the rather chilly outdoor swimming Polar Bear Challenge. This five-month challenge involves skin swimming (which does require a swimsuit but not much else) in outdoor (and increasingly cold) water for 2 x 250 metres each month, with a total of five kilometres swum between November and March. The water is now down from the positive tropical twelve degrees in November to a distinctly frigid seven degrees in February…. results suggest that it isn’t going to be getting any warmer for March!

Despite the cold and a few weeks of being poorly over Christmas, my Polar Bear Challenge is currently slightly ahead of target. I have completed, in the sea, and often early in the morning, all eight of the required 250-metre swims and swum around 4.5 kilometres. I have also learnt a few things…

  1. My hands and forearms hurt the most in cold water
  2. I have to swim quickly to get 250 metres done before I get too cold
  3. Swimming quickly is difficult when putting your head in the water gets painful
  4. I often don’t start feeling really cold until two hours after my swims
  5. My right big toe is the first digit to lose feeling and the last to regain it
  6. Buying a new swimsuit and goggles has not made me faster, warmer or slimmer… but I do feel good in them

I have high hopes that I will be celebrating success by the end of March… I have no hopes whatsoever that the water will be getting warmer before the end of April. Just imagine how fantastic Portugal in June is going to feel!