On Saturday I had an early morning swim in the pool to loosen out my muscles, which were a bit stiff after climbing the mast of the Tall Ship Fryderik Chopin on Friday – I kid you not! The swim was followed by a bruising session in the gym, the sort that make you want to go into a corner and whimper. I’ve been increasing the weights I’m working with, and I’m suffering a bit as a result. Still it’s all for a good cause.
Sunday was pretty spectacular. Donnchadh McCobb and my friends at City Kayak brought myself and fellow Concern/Uganda teammate Vera Baker out to paddle with the Tall Ships as they pulled out of the Liffey. There was a bunch of us from Concern and mutual friends of ours, and the memory of the day will brighten those winter mornings as we lose the light and the cold days kick in. I will always remember Tall Ships 2012, sitting watching those magnificent ships from water level, in a kayak. Stunning and mesmerising; I’m still grinning from ear to ear as I sit at my desk typing.
We left the water and enjoyed a couple of hours strolling around the docklands, taking in the sights and party atmosphere and vowing to come back to the quays to enjoy the beauty of this revitalised area, even when the Tall Ships have gone. There’s so much happening down the docks and we need to use it – or lose it. It’s tragic that all this wonderful development work finished just around the time the boom did, so the cranes pulled out – but so did the crowds; leaving beautiful but empty buildings behind. Dublin you have been invited to help keep a wonderful new area of your home alive and vibrant, and I hope this weekend gives us all a chance to be proud of what a beautiful city we have.
We waved goodbye to the Tall Ships – and each other, and then I headed over to Malahide for a late evening swim with the Low Rock swimmers. I spent 15 minutes in the sea in my wetsuit, and finally – shamed by watching everyone else braving it – I dumped the suit and got back in with just my ‘cossie. The initial shock of the cold nearly took my breath away, and I got brain-freeze when I put my face down into the water – but after a few minutes, the sting went out of it, and I found I was enjoying my new freedom in the water; without the restriction of the tight neoprene around my shoulders. I ended up spending 40 minutes swimming back and forth, parallel to the beach and I absolutely loved it. I’m still not certain I’ll be brave to do it again, but I can truly say that I’m chuffed to have done it at all, at least once. Chilled but chuffed!
Ok, it may not be a training day, but it was a pretty good work out all the same. There was quite a bit of shock when we realised that the reassuring harness was only meant for clipping on when we got to the interval platforms – not for use while we were actually climbing the ringing. That certainly concentrated the mind! And the pull up to the platforms meant climbing out over an overhang with your full bodyweight swinging out of your arms. There were a few snatches of colourful language, but we made it. Mission accomplished.
Gossip Girl Siobhan was cool under pressure and rang reports back to Darragh O’Dea at 98FM, image-guy John O’Keefe was superb at talking us girls through the motions, Angela Frawley did the Thunder Team proud and Adam was the cool dude from the Chopin crew who was totally unfazed by our screams. The one question that remains for me is – was this the highest radio report of the Tall Ships? 😉