Sunday, 22 March 2015


More of the same.
Being out for 5hrs yesterday was taking it's toll - not the speed or distance, just the fresh air really. So today we were very slow about getting along to Gullane for the weekly baptism. Luckily sundown is 6.30 these days. And waiting meant missing the drab earlier part of the day and getting a rather spectacular sky to run below on the nearly empty beach from Aberlady along to Gullane. Mary realised if she ran just over 6 miles (I think it was) it would take her weekly mileage to over 60, perhaps the first time in a couple of years she has hit that number. Neither of us were particularly filled with running joy though and when we got out the car in Gullane it was a real thought just to head off for 6 miles never mind contemplate a dook in the water what with the chilly evening air.

Once we got going it wasn't so bad. And Mary who had previously mentioned being tired of being hounded by her self imposed immersion every week, went from a position of definitely NO, to maybe a quick dook. But not in wetsuits because that is too much of a palaver. I am all in favour of palaver if it lessens the acute jeopardy of freezing water and cold air, however the idea of being as brief as possible; a momentary splash then out and back to car, just about won me over.

This toad might have slept in and missed party central on Thursday.

By Aberlady beach the wind was behind us, there was a splendid sky and things were looking up. Just the frigid watery bit to get past.

To make up the extra few yards to take Mary over 60 we ran back over the hill and through town to the car park. By which time there was a chill wind blowing, virtually everyone had retreated from the beach and the prospect of going in the water without a wetsuit was daunting. Horrific. We changed down to basics in the car then went down through the dunes. The last kite surfer was carrying his board up and I was going to ask him if the water was lovely and warm but he was looking a bit shell-shocked and beyond the point of cheery banter. Not a good sign.

I took my shirt off and ran up and down the beach hoping to generate so much heat a dip would be welcome. Instead I just felt breathy and sick. The kite surfer came back for his sail as we forced ourselves into the water. He shouted something I didn't quite hear and then repeated with gestures that we'd forgotten our wetsuits (pointing to his). Well he's cheered up I thought. We have a great regard for the surfers who hope for windy weather and spend hours on the cold beach or zipping across the tepid waters. I can believe 15 minutes of that is quite fun but I can't comprehend how or why you'd want to spend all the winter bobbing about on ice cold water every weekend. No doubt they think we are just as mental and without the board to keep us out the cold stuff. 

No messing about with any thermometer. We waded out to a depth between knees and shorts and it wasn't so bad. But then it was so bad and as the water goes over your shorts there is no inclination to duck under. Except Mary dives in and then comes up a second later, hypothermia contorting her face. I realise the only release is to get this over with and I wonder into how shallow water I can plunge. I must have done it because I am racing towards the beach, water dripping off my head. I can't remember the exact moment, my brain having shut down in disbelief, and we are running up the beach collecting the bag and walking briskly to the car. As we go past the surfer I shout see you next week and he laughs.

The only real advantage of not wearing a wetsuit is you are sitting naked in the car putting on clothes far quicker than usual. This is the point past which if you survive you will probably live to fight another day. Mary says the sky is going funny colours. Since it has been doing that since we arrived I am not surprised and only when I turn, I see that it has put away the soft orange felt pens and got out the fluro red and vermillion. I jump out and take a photo or 2 while Mary turns the car, into which I jump and we drive home via Tesco's to pick up stuff for dinner. Even though it can seem like a torture or self harming experience, there is something theraputic about these dips. It wipes the slate clean and you feel better after it.  

Next week (29th) is the last official submergathon and will mean Mary has done one every week from September till April. Hopefully there will a be a decent turn out going along to Gullane (or Mary Hunter Seaside as it has been renamed.) If you fancy it (and the water is really warming up these days!) then get in touch and we will let you know what time we will be there. Wetsuit not required but I will be wearing one.

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