You know that you have told yourself that you are going to do it. You have set up this self challenge that means that any time there is an opportunity you have to do it.
The others have mentioned how you are mad, but you know that you will get up early and go outdoors with your shorts, hat and towel and brave the conditions. There is always the possibility that you might back out so there is a constant little nagging motivation. The trick is not to force it, but usually you go.
Down on the beach, it is almost empty. Just a few dog walkers and the odd runner. People must think you are mad. I take off my jumper and put it in a heap with the other things, put on my swimming hat and walk down towards the water. The expanse of sea before me, the sunlight shimmers giving a slight warmth. Walking into the water the realisation kicks in. You already knew that the water is bloody freezing and you get into the water as soon as possible, paddling frantically to keep the blood moving around.
After a couple of minutes, I catch my thoughts and calm my breathing. I decide what I am going to do that constitutes my swim. Swim up and down between the wooden sea defences. I paddle hard. The experience is intense and wholesome. A couple of times I stop for a few peaceful moments and look out to the horizon, the sun bright on the water.
The last few laps and I feel my heart rate lowering and my extremities are getting numb. My arms are turning into lumps of meat on the end of my shoulder sockets I swing them round like a steam boat and head into the shore. I get out quickly, wrap my towel round me. I’m simultaneously happy to be out whilst a little disappointed I couldn't stay in longer. I’m satisfied with my achievement, put a jumper on and I have a new found energy, inertia is gone and I run up the beach back for a shower.
Man of War bay
Lake Khuvsgul, Mongolia
Tbilisi Sea, Georgia
Zhinvali Lake, Georgia