What have I just agreed to?? (BLOG)

26th Aug 2016

On Saturday 3rd September a group of The Beatson’s healthcare professionals will be taking on an epic challenge and raising vital funds for Beatson Cancer Charity in the process. The group have pledged to swim a collective 22km, the distance between The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow and The Lanarkshire Beatson at Monklands in Airdrie, as part of Vigour Events’ Loch Ard Swim.

Karen Moore, one of the posts Beatson Cancer Charity funds is taking on this challenge and has very kindly written a blog on her training leading up to the event next week. 


Dr Grose has just persuaded me to swim in the open water for the Beatson Cancer Charity.....As my post is paid for by the Charity I hear myself saying ‘Great Idea Derek, Yeah I’m up for that....’ 

Then I have a moment of clarity....
How did this happen?? Yes, I know I used to swim when I was young and I had a wee shot back in the water a few years ago when I tried out masters swimming to keep fit (and lose weight!) but this is all in a nice cosy, safe swimming pool with changing rooms. And of course there is a wall at the end of every 25 meters to hang on to when exhausted and push off from to gain a few free yards. I have never swum in open water except when it’s a dook to cool off when in warmer climes. The very idea of being cold has me covered in goose bumps...what have I just agreed to? 
Oh and now he tells me it’s not just cold, but you can’t see a thing under the water either. Is it too late yet to wimp out??

Training in the pool June 6th 

So if I’m gonna do this I better at least see how much work needs to be done. The furthest I would normally swim is 200m at any one go, and I think I’m gonna be expected to swim 2000m. So I need to get some lengths under my belt. 
So first night in the pool, the furthest I can manage without stopping is 250m..... and it nearly killed me.....and I’m no longer laughing at this prospect!

Training week June 13th

It’s not getting much easier. I’m stuck at 250m, but over the session at least I’m swimming 1000m but its hard work.

Training week 20th June

OK so I think I’m a bit of a pro now...I’ve bought gear!!
I now own a pair of paddles to try and build up my shoulders as I’m blaming weakness for my lack of progression

Training week 27th June

So after a fairly steady X3 per week I can now swim 300m without the need to stop and I’m swimming around 1400m and it actually feels ok....
Maybe i can do this?
I really need to get a wet suit and try and get in a Loch somewhere but I’m just not fit enough yet...... that’s my excuse and I will not waver!

Into July now

First week in July and we have had meetings now with Robert from Vigour Events who is going to support us with this swim.
We have agreed that we will be swimming in Loch Ard on the 3rd of September!!! I’m terrified.
Robert has urged me to get in the water and get acclimatised. He doesn’t realise that this just makes me even more terrified. I’m honestly not sure if I can do this......

July 6th

Mmmmmm
I didn’t swim a stroke this week. I think i might fail this challenge I’ve set myself and I feel a bit ashamed.
 I’m so scared of the open water.
I’m so scared of being so cold.
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you...she doesn’t do cold. My house is like an oven, I always have a fleece on at work even when everyone else is complaining of the heat, and I have the winter and the summer duvet on my bed together between September and July!
Feeling a bit deflated......
July 11th
Wet suit arrived today!! So either I send it back or I get it on and get in the water!
I think the weather may be on my side as the sun seems to be shining so, tonight I have become a NOWCA member and i have booked my first swim at Pilmuir Quarry on Thursday night.....
I’ll get a few more lengths in before then.....
I tried on the wet suit I look ridiculous!!

July 14th

The day has arrived. I pull up to the gate of a quarry thinking this can’t be right.....then I see a few wet suits hanging on a line.....Oh MAN this is it!
Robert form Vigour events is great. He takes me up the hill that overlooks the water and tells me how this is done. He shows me where the person in the boat (looking out for us all) will be and what to do if i feel I’m in trouble.
We go back to the water’s edge and he talks me through getting into the water and what to expect.......
Its time......I need to get the wet suit on OUTSIDE!

July 14th 19.30

I did it!!!! 
It really wasn’t so bad. The water was around 15 °c which I believe is pretty warm in some open water swimmer people’s world.....but not mine!
 But I actually didn’t think it was so bad!
I didn’t swim for long or very far but I swam out to the first buoy and back X2 and came home feeling very proud of myself!

July 19th

It’s the hottest day of the year and when I arrive at Pilmuir for my second go at this I can’t believe what I’m seeing! There are cars everywhere. It seems that a lot of people actually do this for fun!
The weather is amazing and I’m quite happy to get the wetsuit on and see how far I can go.
Tonight I actually looked round about me a wee bit. I saw some trees and the walls of the quarry as I swam along quite content to be swimming without a blue line or a wall. I genuinely never for one moment thought i would say this.....it was really nice! I was swimming without the roof, the sun was shining and it was really really nice.
I swam 1700m pretty much continually ....well......I had to do a few breast strokes to reset my course! The lack of a blue line means that it’s easy to go off on a tangent which really means you are swimming further than required to clock up the metres!
I am secretly delighted.....I think I might be able to do this!

July 22nd

I’m on holiday...heading up north to see some of my country. Wet suit is packed and I plan on at least a few hundred meters in a loch or two.
Will update on my return.

August 8th

We had a meeting today about how the swim was going to work and although we had planned a relay, we don’t think this is feasible due time in the water.
So we have decided on a distance that will be accumulated between us. The distance is a massive 22km which we picked as it is the distance between the West of Scotland Cancer Centre and the newly opened Lanarkshire Beatson in Airdrie.
That decided, I realise I’m not swimming 2km any more......I think it may well need to be 4km. 
Not smiling anymore.....I didn’t even paddle in a loch over the last 2 weeks and have lost my mo-jo a bit too. At the meeting Derek and Robert tell me that I’ll be fine but they don’t know I haven’t trained while i was on holiday. I will be lucky to swim 1500m.

Aug 9th

Back in the pool and as I suspected 1500m nearly killed me. I did swim it one go but I needed a long rest before I pushed myself to swim another 500m.

Aug 12th

Still not been back in the open water and I don’t think it’ll be this week. The weather has been shocking and I’m too scared to swim in a thunder and lightning storm!

Aug 16th

We launched the just giving page today and the crazy photos that were taken are funny! I’ve had more comments about the picture than I have had donations!!...Come on you guys give us your pennies!
Back in the pool tonight to see how far I can go without stopping.....


If you would like to take on the challenge sign up with vigour events  Loch Ard Event here - http://www.vigourevents.com/#!loch-ard/c1u2k