Thursday, 23 February 2012
Swimming day 429 - Thursday 23rd February 2012
The hottest day in February for years and years and of course I choose to use the pool rather than go into the sea; typical me! Saying that I would assume that despite it being a massive 10 degrees in the air that the sea is still probably a chilling 6 degrees.
With Big Bob heading to
for a few days I thought it would be good for me to get back to the pool today and tomorrow and knock some decent lengths out. I used one of Fiona’s training regimes today; a 2 mile 1 hour swim. I did it in 1 hr 5 minutes, so a decent pace, but not the hour I wanted. I am thinking though that a night of very broken sleep and no food or drink means that 65 minutes rather than 60 minutes isn’t bad for 2 miles; perhaps with the right conditions of sleep and sustenance I should be able to knock 5-10 minutes of this. No gym or run planned for today which is good as I do feel tired, but tomorrow I’ll head back to the pool and try to get this same swim down to 60 minutes; then I’ll hit the streets after work for a 12-15 mile run; then the weekend thank the lord!! France
On an entirely separate note; this is the opening of my new ghost story, whooooooo!!!
The Arch (a working title)
5th January 2012
7.25am and the sun was starting its rise from the East just above the
wall. Even with the Pier blocking their view and making them look through the stanchions it was still one of those sights that simply rooted them to the spot, causing temporary paralysis and making them forget about the seven degree water biting into their legs. With all the wonders that man could create not a single one could match the majesty of the sun rising up from beneath the sea. Marina
At seven twenty five in the morning it was still dusk and despite the magnificence of the sunrise it was cold and eerie. This particular morning had one of those “look out behind you” quality’s about it. Not only was there was a fine haze hugging the sea, but despite a heavy wind last night the air was absolutely still and the sea completely flat; almost glass like. Standing to the West of the Pier in around two feet of water they made an odd picture to anyone happening to look down from the seafront above. Seven of them, men and women not that you could tell in that light which was which, standing in the sea all looking towards the sunrise and not moving a muscle. Seven different shapes, seven different sizes and seven different colours swim caps. All members of BSSC, the Brighton Sea Swimming Club, all of them in the sea every day of the year, the men dressed in their swimming shorts and the women in their one piece costumes, with just one in her wetsuit, giving away the fact that it is really mid winter and not a hot summers morning; and all there for reasons that only they could explain.
Walking back up the beach, some barefoot and some hopping on the freezing cold stones looking for the crocs and flip flops they’d discarded just ten minutes before, they head back to the relative uncomfort of their Arch. It’s an odd space really, one small room divided into three spaces; mens, women’s and showers. The women’s area is the smallest by far, which seems unfair considering at least half the members are women, however it is almost private with its own unlockable door. The mens area, the largest part of the arch, is open planned into the shower and whilst some of the men hide their modesty behind a towel, others proudly display their wears, not realizing or not caring that the women have to use the showers as well and mens shrunken bits are not exactly what they want to see for breakfast. As for the showers themselves, they could be renamed drip taps for all the power they contain, however they do drip out warm water and that of course is their sole purpose in life. The arch has been home to the Brighton Swimmers for over a hundred years and in that time has probably only been cleaned once a year and perhaps repainted just a dozen times, always in the same murky grey . It’s a place where stalactites hang from the ceiling like icicles from the nose of a wearily arctic explorer and condensation drips regularly onto the hastily built benches below soaking into the work clothes left behind by the morning swimmers whilst they take their quick dip in the sea. But to the faithful members of BSSC their Arch is like a five star luxury hotel; their own presidential suit at the side of the pier. A place where they can leave their clothes safely locked away whilst they partake in their extreme hobby and a place that they can return to in order to regain feeling into their extremities; and most importantly a place that they can share stories of the last big wave and the crazy groin shower of yesterday, with the only other people in a city of thousands who could possibly understand them.
This particular morning, as the arch starts to clear itself of swimmers once again, the last three members put on their final layer of clothes , readying themselves to step back into the near freezing air and head of for their well earned coffee before work. Until they spot it , lying there, the one thing that can make every single member of BSSC feel instantly sick to the stomach.
It was just sitting there, alone, no one to claim it. In all other realms of life an innocuos item and easily forgoteen, but not here, not in the arch. A nike sports bag, about 30 inches in length, faded dark blue and stained from day after day of sea salt being left to dry into it. It sat alone without its owner to pick it up and sling it over their shoulder on the way to greet the normal folk just waking up from a good nights sleep. It sat there an ordinary sports bag with the power to make them feel sick to the stomach at the sight of it.
"is anyone still out there"
"I don't think so, no one was in longer than us" came the vague reply
"Are all the girls gone? You in their ladies?"
No reply from the ladies side gave them the answer they already new.