How I got my swim mojo back

How I got my swim mojo back
9 August 2016 Janine

Swimming apathy, and the secret to boshing it over the head and getting back in the water: Calavera Swimwear for ‘fearless water women.

My friend and I were sipping tea this evening, and I was inhaling chocolate, au naturellement. ‘My half iron race has been in the diary since the beginning of the year’, I said. ‘It’s the day after tomorrow.’ I paused lengthily for effect. ‘The day after tomorrow. It’s so weird how time rolls around’, I pondered. My friend nodded.

Isn’t it strange though, I mean really rather a bizarre feeling, when you have that ‘meh! it’s ages away!’ feeling for just, so, long, and then suddenly, it’s like, the day after tomorrow.

Dangerous, really, for preparation. Now, cycling and running paid no mind to this feeling. I’m a runner at heart. Sometimes I slip and say cycling’s my favourite, and sure, it’s a love affair, but running is like the best friend who I have known for a long, long time. It’s been with me on good days and bad days, and it’s always there for me. But cycle training got a look in too, because I am madly, deeply in love with my wheels. I still look at Contessa, almost a year on from when she first arrived in my life, and feel a deep sense of pride and joy. When we ride together, it’s kinda magic. But swimming, my fly-by-night, fair weather friend, suffered.

‘I’ll do it later.’ Oh crap, later is now the day after tomorrow.

With January 2016 came a sense of fresh new year training, and thus I dragged my tired bum to the pool at 5.45AM of a Tuesday morning, all of about six times before that sense of achievement became barely a whisper of a chlorinated, someone’s-hair-is-on-my-goggles-again memory. With February, then and March, April and May, came a literal dry spell. There were no pruney fingers before breakfast, nor toes. I kind of missed it, yet I didn’t have the get-up-and-go for it to actually swim. The Ironman was done, the hard bit over. I felt I could cruise this one, this 1.9km open water swim preceding a 56-mile bike and half marathon. Mm, slightly ambitious.

There was no getting away from it – I knew I should be flipping training (literally, ah ha). The swimming apathy was making me a little sad, I knew that I needed a kick up my worringly chlorine-free bottom.

The secret’s in the swimwear

It was magically good timing, then, when I came across Calavera Athletic & Active Swimwear, from sunny California, two months out of my race. We got chatting, me and Cally, and those lovely surfy girls sent me the most exciting parcel like, evs. I opened it on my birthday weekend in June, this glorious swimwear parcel, and thereafter two months of open water training, proudly in my new shiny suit, ensued. Like a little piece of Malibu sunshine.

Mojo in a box
Maiden voyage

Wearing shiny new swimwear with a feminist message was inspiring. But did it stand up to the lake test?

Firstly, I have a modest chest, and pleasingly, the bikini top was attractive, yet it fit in all the right places. The attention to detail with little Calavera skulls was also most pleasing. The shorts were flappy but again, tight in the right place, and provided a freeing-feeling effect as I felt the water swoosh swoosh over them. Teamed with my Ironman swim cap and Aquasphere Seal open water goggles I felt quite the biz. And thus I swum. Or swam. I can never remember which.

Oh hello there swim mojo! This calls for a fearless pose.

Calavera say the kit is for ‘fearless water women’. When I started out, I was anything but. But amazingly, once the fear went, it appeared to have stayed away. I was able to swim in a large and deep lake without any visibility below me, or any people around me, with little to no troubling thoughts, and rather calm breath. This is a wonderfully freeing and strength-inducing feeling. I did indeed feel like a fearless water lady, and who knows, maybe it will even stay at bay (I’m on a roll) for my half iron swim on Sunday.

I was even inspired to Channel swim

The smallest taste of enjoying open water again and I’m thinking of my next challenge. I went to the lake with my inspiring cycling friend Elle, who swum a Channel relay swim with a gammy leg taped in a bin bag. Naturally, I found myself inspired by this hilariously impressive story in which her mother said ‘you’re not doing it,’ and she replied ‘define not,’ and then did it. Atta girl.

So here’s hoping for a good half Iron swim this weekend, and then who knows – maybe a channel crossing. Lols.

Check out the Calavera Swimwear site from California, here. For ‘fearless water women, on or near, the water.’

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