40 swims for 40 years

I turned 40 mid June this year. I am very much seeing it as a cause for celebration, and my friends and family, especially my husband, have helped me a great deal in that. 

Recently I have been getting into open water swimming, I have always loved swimming and it has been instrumental to me geting my physical strength back after I got so sick I ended up in a wheelchair for a couple of years. I love being outdoors above all else, so it made sense to try to swim outdoor more. Before I got sick I was training for triathlons and was about to do a marathon after doing a half marathon, I had even done a 2.5 KM swim outdoors. Last year I did two outdoor swims and loved them a great deal. 

To challenge myself I want to do 40 swims in my 40th year, so before my next birthday I need to swim outdoors 40 times. The main reason for this is I want to swim outdoors all year round. I get such a strong feeling of joy and freedom from swimming outside, especially in the sea. I think the cold water boosts my mental health and immunity, there seems to be growing research to prove that. I am hoping it will reduce the inflammation in my body too, which I believe is one of the key causes for my pain flare ups.

What this is not is a way to beat myself up! I am not worried about distance, or even time spent in the water, this is just a way to keep me swimming all year round. Having said that, my health comes first, if I’m not feel well I will skip a swim, even if it means I don’t make my target. 

I also hope to use this to go to more places in Essex and the surounding areas, despite living here for ten years now I haven’t explored the county a great deal, and this is a wonderful excuse to do so. 

What ‘counts’? Anything I want! It doesn’t matter if I am in the water for 5 mins or 50, and as long as it is under the sky it goes in the diary. So lidos, lakes, ponds, rivers and the sea all count. I do have to be at least put to my waist in water though, a paddle doesn’t make the list. It is also fine if I keep going back to the same places. Due to my location there isn’t really anywhere to swim within a 45 minute radius. Even though the Thames is literally a five minute walk away, it is still in the industrial part, with large ships and no safe place to get in. It’s such a shame as that would be very convenient.

I am beginning to learn that to be happy you have to decide what you want and put the effort in. I know being outdoors and swimming makes me very happy, and so I need to focus on making that a large part of my life, it doesn’t just happen and it is easy to have months slip by without doing the things which make your life what you want it to be. I love being outdoors and swimming above all else.