Week 5 - In which I almost died of hypothermia (for charity)

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THERE WAS FROST ON THE CARS . . .

It was 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) when I left the house. I could see my breath. That was not a good sign. In German you would call that ‘scheisskalt’. It took an Underground, Overground, train and bus to reach the Tooting Lido. I almost imagined getting there was the real challenge. How wrong I was!
 

This was the third mid-winter-swim this season organised by Crisis, a charity fighting homelessness. And in total all swimmers had raised 25.000 GBP! So if I had a heart-attack, at least it would be for a good cause!

 

WHILE THE WATER WAS JUST ABOVE FREEZING, SPIRITS WERE SOARING HIGH

When I finally arrived at the Lido, I couldn’t believe how fabulous peoples’ costumes were. They weren’t kidding when they asked us to come in our fineries, and not in our wetsuits, as that seemed like cheating!


 

OMG did it hurt!

Untrained as I was, the nearly freezing water hit me like a hammer! It was less ‘cold’ that I felt and more ‘pain’. The first time I went in I must have delivered my entire repertoire of swearwords in about 15 seconds! I came out and hugged myself like a baby.

I also found somebody to film Round 2, so I’d have proof for you guys. In total I did about 1 sideways length, with which I was extremely pleased.

 

AAR in the ladies changing rooms

My favourite part of the entire experience was the AAR (after-action-review) taking place under the showers. ‘Don’t indulge too long’, was one recommendation. ‘Otherwise your core thinks you are already warm and will stop all self-heating’. ‘Getting back out was the hardest part’ said several of the old-timers, which was certainly NOT the experience I’d had.
 

Changed, in thermal underwear and with hat, scarf, gloves, and big down jacket, I made my way back home. It wasn’t until Sloane Square that my feet slowly defrosted.

Thank you CRISIS for this challenge.

Stay tuned for my Valentine’s Day Challenge with 6 Blind Dates in 6 Days.