Saturday dawned very breezy. It would be tumultuous in the ocean. Bit of pain in the hand when I awoke but today is a special day – the 2km/4km/6km swim at Balmoral Beach Club. This is a gala day down there and I wasn’t going to miss it no matter how bad I felt. I’ve had a week off because of the pain. Enough. Time to get back in the water. I have done the 6km course every year for the last 8 years.
So there was great noise and hubbub when I arrived with flippers and snorkel in my bag. It is one of the few times we throw the club open to the public and the longer distances attracted some good swimmers. I put my name on the board for the 2km swim. Shame. Walked across the sand carrying my flippers and snorkel. More shame. Nevertheless, it was great to be part of it, even though it was a rough and windswept day. I had to be careful not to kick anyone with my flippers as the scrum reached the first turning point at Deadmans. I toyed with the idea of doing 4kms but my hand started to burn on the last lap back from the baths, so packed it in at 2km. While it was disappointing not to be able to keep going, I was happy to be able to participate and at least do something. Barry couldn’t even get in the water, so he’s in worse shape than me.
After the shower, I stood on the verandah drinking coffee and watched the 4km swimmers come. I clapped them off the beach. Stayed till Jon Attwater and Doug Sturrock, the last of the 6km group, came in, looking pretty worn out. This swim has special resonance for me. I went in the event on the first weekend I was admitted as a member of the BBC in 2008. I only made 4km, but felt pretty pleased. I was severely injured in a horse riding accident the following weekend and underwent surgery and a c6/c7 spinal fusion shortly after. I didn’t return to the club for 6 years, and spent the intervening time ploughing up and down North Sydney and Manly pools with a snorkel. I had been told I would never swim normally again. My return to the 2/4/6 event in about 2008, and successfully completing 6km numerous times in recent years, has been a great restorative for me.
The exercise routines have finally caught up with me and I couldn’t face the Saturday afternoon torture up at Virgin Gym at French’s Forest. I had a sleep in the afternoon and Catherine came over. We swapped tibial plateau fracture war stories. I showed her some of my exercises. She was impressed with the jump turns.
I watched a documentary – All or nothing at all – on the life of Frank Sinatra in the evening. I’ve always hated his voice and his songs. He is not as interesting as Amy Winehouse but I can now see why people like him and the doco was not hard to watch.