The first (very cold!) swim of the year

This morning I decided it was time that I started to get fit again. Living in Houston is very bad for my fitness. We drive everywhere – we even have to drive to find somewhere nice to walk or to get to the park. At home I’d walk the girls to school, walk to the station for work, walk the mile into town for shopping, going out or just for a wander. The park was at the end of our street, so we’d often wander down there after school. Or we’d be in the garden playing or digging, or any number of things that could count as exercise.

Here, the most exercise I get some days is walking to the car! This is not good. So, this morning I had my first run (well, jog – I’m not really built for fast running!) of the year. I managed 3 miles in 30 minutes but made one major error: I forgot how warm it gets here when the sun comes out. In England I can run for 30 minutes without taking a drink out with me. That doesn’t really work here and I neglected to take a drink with me today. I certainly won’t do that again as I was very hot by the time I got back home.

So hot, that I decided the best way to cool down was to jump into the unheated swimming pool. Now obviously if we were in England this would be a very silly thing to do in January. Firstly, we only have a children’s paddling pool in our garden at home (and then only July – September, despite the almost constant requests for the pool to come out as soon as the sun shines!) Secondly, you might have to break the ice to get in (or at least wear your thermals under a dry suit…)

The pool here got to an almost tropical 18c today. This sounds warm (particularly to those in the UK right now) but it’s not actually that warm for swimming, believe me. It’s a bit like having ice cream head or brain freeze (that thing when your brain gets slightly chilled by ice cream or something very cold in your mouth and you get an intense but very short-lived headache) in your whole body! It was cold and tempting to get straight out again, but once I’d swum to the other end (it’s only about 8 metres long…) it didn’t feel quite so bad so I swam up and down for 15 minutes or so.

When I picked the girls up from school we talked about what we’d been up to and I told them that I’d swum. The Little One was naked and running up the stairs to find her swimsuit before I’d even turned the house alarm off! The Big One, who suffers badly in the cold, was not so keen but was laughing as the Little One got in. Her face tells you exactly how cold it was:

Just one toe first...

Just one toe first…

But she got braver.

That's the legs in...

That’s the legs in…

Until she got nearly all of herself in.

It's cold!

It’s cold!

The Big One was, by this time, standing at the edge asking whether she could get in. Yes was the answer, although I was expecting her to get straight out seeing as the Little One still hadn’t attempted to swim and had jumped out again.

Then she did this:

I had also expected her to get a swimsuit on first, but seeing as there was blackberry juice all down her top it was, in hindsight, the best thing to do! I guess there’ll be no stopping them now and I’m sure plunging into cool water once a day can’t be all that bad for them, can it?

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