Today, Jesus Green Lido opened.
The 90-year old lido is a full 100 yards long, because yards are what people dealt with in those days, even in the UK. It would be easier if it was metres, but there you go (100 yards is 91.44 m). So 18 lengths of the lido is 1800 yards, or 1645 metres, or about 1 mile and 35 metres.
Now that we have the conversions sorted, let’s talk about what it was like.
Firstly, the fine weather of a week or so ago in the UK has sadly departed. It was about 12 degrees air temperature, and slightly warmer in the water at 13.3 C (56 F), according to the blackboard at the pool entrance, though it felt pretty fresh in the water.
The pool was not busy. I was glad while getting changed not to be bothering with a wetsuit like I was the previous year. Last year I was using the pool as the only place locally where I could easily train for the wetsuited Dart 10 K without cooking in an indoor pool.
There were a few hardy skin swimmers, and a few wetsuited people as I started the first 18 length set. It definitely felt cool, though not unpleasant once the first couple of minutes were out of the way. First 18 lengths – 27:15 – 1:40/100 m – nice easy pace.
The second 18 lengths felt lovely. Still cool, but almost Zen swimming, still all bilateral and very peaceful. I wasn’t sure at this point whether I would be doing 2 or 3 miles. I had left myself the option of stopping after 2, but was enjoying the swim, so decided to carry on. Second 18 lengths – 28:03 – 1:43/100 m – still felt easy, but not that 1:43 easy. The cold was clearly starting to make itself felt.
After about a minute of rest to have a drink and admire the view, I pushed off for my final 18 lengths, and immediately felt a little odd. For the first couple of lengths, all of my side muscles on both sides were tight, like I have never felt before. Everything else felt fine, but that was odd. I could feel my stroke become a little more ragged. In the end, my time for the 3rd 18 lengths was 28:35 – 1:45/100 m, and while I was not pushing very hard – it did not feel like my normal 1:45 pace. Maybe something to do with the 93 m pool length vs my normal 25 m.
I got out and got changed pretty quickly into a warm hat, jeans, 3 layers on top, and crocs. Bought a Mars bar, and started to shiver. The shivering carried on for about 15-20 minutes as I drove home in the warm car. I guess 1:27 in 13.3 C water is about right for the moment for me, though I am sure I could have done another (slightly slower) mile OK.
Towards the end, the pool started getting more busy, as a group of wetsuited triathletes joined. I was glad to have made my first UK cold water dip of the season.