On Saturday it was the fourth PHISH at Parliament Hill Lido (PHL). The water was c.2°C and I saw one thermometer that read 1.7°C, so it was cold!
PHL is 61m or 200 feet long and is a spectacular pool with a stainless steel lining which always reminds me of fish scales glinting in the sunshine.
I took part in the 122m or 2 lengths as a kind of confidence builder or warmer-upper for the Endurance event in the afternoon. As my 122m race was at 9:30am I decided to forego the sauna aka the madhouse and go off-site for an hour and get a coffee – this was a good decision as it meant I warmed up properly in the café.
I didn’t really feel that nervous about the Endurance and I even slept well the night before, this was my third time after all. The Endurance event is 10 lengths (610m) and then a length for every degree above zero, so it was 12 lengths or 732m. I was wondering if my lack of nerves might affect my performance in a negative way what with a lack of adrenalin?
At about 1:30pm I met with my counter and we agreed she would let me know when I had done 8 lengths. You see, I usually enter a dream world or a highly medative state and lose count. That didn’t happen this year as I knew exactly how many lengths I had done even though I didn’t hear the counter. For the last two years I have done an extra length and this is not because I want to be close to the sauna (although many would dispute this) and avoid the long walk, it’s because I am in that happy place and don’t know where I am or what I’m doing.
At the start I felt great as our lane was in the sun and I could kid myself I was chasing fish. Even better there were only three people in lane 4 and we all agreed we’d do laps in an anti-clockwise direction.
I thought I would just let Alexia go off and keep out of her way as she is usually much, much faster than me, however we were pretty evenly matched over the first few lengths that’s when I thought why not draft off her? So that’s exactly what I did. Now I am not saying I could of taken her, but I felt that because she had towed me up and down the pool I just wouldn’t make an attempt to overtake her in the last length – it just wouldn’t be fair! So a big thank you Alexia.
Here is a short video of the start of the race you can just make me out…I am swimming next to the lane rope second lane from the bottom in a yellow hat.
I was about the seventh person to enter the sauna and this year I remembered to take my Dry Robe off before getting in; this was by far the best decision of the day. I merely dried myself, sat down and let the shivers pass. The after drop wasn’t as bad as the year before and I reckon it’s because I took the Dry Robe off! That’s all I’ll say about the madhouse (sauna) because what happens in there is only for PHISHers.
It was a fantastic day and I like to thank John Donald, Jeremy Irvine, Sara the sauna queen, all the officials and Derek Wetherilt the driver of IceBeastOne who transported us!
Found out yesterday that PHISH 2017 might never have been, because the very next day the lido was closed until 10:30am due to ice…twas timed perfectly!