25th April 2016

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It seems to be that I now need to be focusing my training on seeing how small my genitalia can shrivel while not getting hypothermia. I have to do a certified 2-hour swim in water below 14 degrees to qualify for the channel swim. So far, this has meant travelling to Salford Quays in Manchester, a lovely filtered-water dock. Which, seems a bit silly when I live by Leeds Dock, a lovely working dock fed by the beautifully clean River Aire.

I have joined a Facebook group of very cool, borderline legal, open water swimmers who swim in various lakes around Yorkshire that they give codenames to. This is so the fun police don’t understand them when they are talking about their next blag down the pub. A bit like why Cockneys developed rhyming slang. Anyway, asked them about swimming in Leeds Dock and appears that no one has done it and lived to tell the tale.

They gave me some pointers I hadn’t actually thought of, like are there ladders so you can actually get back out of the water. As well as some I had, like how much rat pee is in there. So, a brave or equally stupid Andy Turner agreed to join me for an exploratory swim at 7.00am Saturday morning – apparently best to try and avoid civilians spotting you and calling the police.

After we checked that we couldn’t see any rats using it as their urinal we decided to go for it. We lasted nearly 20 minutes until a very nice security guard turned up with coffee and bacon sandwiches. Ok, so maybe not the coffee or even bacon sandwiches but was still very nice. As I had lost all feelings in my hands and feet by this point, I thought his view that we should get out was rather intelligent. Took over an hour and a half for the shaking to stop and another 24 hours before the sneezing and streaming nose and eyes stopped, so overall a great success.

Also, a huge thank you to Roderick Gillingham of Freedom Clinics, who after my last post about my dodgy shoulder agreed to treat me for free, in support of the challenge. I have never been to a physio in my life and was amazed what a difference it made to my shoulder in just one session. If you are after an amazing physio in the centre of town look him up. Unless of course you drink a lot of rat pee then he is probably not your man.