Swimming, Cycling, Running, Swimparenting, Coffee, Wine, Beaches….Not neccesarily in that order…

‘Best’ swim event ever!

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I’ve not blogged in a while….(sad face or happy face depending on your opinion).

I’ve been exercising the ‘blog’ muscles by blogging for other people! Yes…I’ve been blogging for the stars!

I felt compelled to write my own again after a swim experience that rivalled all my other fabulous swim experiences (and there have been many).

The back story to the ‘story’ is that I’ve been fascinated by the Best Fest Open Water Swim Festival (in Colonia Sant Jordi, Mallorca) for a few years. Yearning to take part but hamstrung by life’s challenges that prevented me from ever plunging into the azure blue sea of the South East Mallorca Coast.

2018 presented a ‘window of opportunity’ to actually go and be a ‘Best Fest’ swimmer. I debated the logistics long and hard but came to the delicious conclusion that not only could I go (as we were holidaying in the area) but I could also go with my youngest and (gasp) swim in the same event with her.

Now we’ve done this before and I don’t find it easy.

I’m torn between wanting to ‘mother’ her and wanting to drag her into my world of aquatic adventures. Part of me wants to watch her conquer her own open water challenges ( she hates the thought of seeing aquatic life and currently is placated with tales of ‘little fish’ ,as opposed to bigger, more likely to freak out a teenager ones and assurances that ‘they are more scared of you than you are of them’) and part of me wants to experience them myself….it’s a tough gig!

Best Fest offers up a myriad of options for the intrepid open water swimmer enthusiast. Distances from 10Km to 1.5Km in a variety of locations (all stunning), delivered by friendly event organisers whose middle names should be ‘easy going’  as they are so relaxed and chilled.

We plumped for the 220 Triathlon magazine supported, Corberana Challenge 3.8Km which was towards the end of our holiday and perhaps more suited to our mix of abilities (she’s fast, I’m not, she’s fit and I’m far from it) due to the multi-lap nature of the course.

We made the most of the day and the prospect of swimming in the most stunning of locations by lunching in the impossibly glamorous restaurant, Cabine de Plage first. A lunch that awakened the taste buds in the most divine of ways. We gazed at the vista of the Cala Galiota beach and watched the bemused tourists who had picked a seemingly relaxing, sandy spot near the water to lounge on, only to be invaded by a bunch of swimmers and event crew not a mere 5 metres from where they sunbathed.

Within 30 minutes of the event crew arriving we were sporting magic marker numbers on our hands (and arms for the non-wetsuit crew) and joined the melee of (slightly nervous looking) swimmers at the start for the race briefing.

As I was in the ‘non-wetsuit’ category of the 3.8km swim , we were afforded the luxury of starting first and all filed obediently and excitedly into the sea.

For me, ‘skins’ swimming or ‘non-wetsuit’ swimming is a relatively new ‘thing’. I have spent the winter and spring, cursing many a curse, as I experienced the chill of cold water on my bare skin and just swam for the hell of it. Not to be fast but to ‘live’ it. To gasp at the temperature and to savour the afterglow and tingle of the body’s reaction to the cold and the immense sense of well being that comes after.

In a sun warmed Mediterranean sea, I felt that I could confidently have my first stab at some decent distance swimming ‘sans’ wetsuit.

Some swimmers were more eager than others and some shot off and started swimming while many of us were still on the beach. We were soon heading out towards the first buoy and the folly of my choice quickly became apparent. My lack of (any) swim training was soon exposed and boy how I missed the comforting buoyancy of my wetsuit! The swell of the sea was enough to derail my previous confidence and the choppy waters soon sapped my enthusiasm for the 3.8km and I decided that 1.9km was quite enough.

I marvelled at how clear the water was and also hoped that the teenager’s goggles had steamed up so that she could remain blissfully unaware of the marine equivalent of Piccadilly circus going on beneath us.

As I neared the end of the second lap, a hand reached out to grab my foot and held on and gave it a tug. Outraged, I turned to look at my ‘grabber’ and was greeted with a cheery ” Hello Mum”  from the teenager. Laughing at her cheekiness, (she’s lucky I love her because having your foot grabbed by someone is never something that you relish while open water swimming) I set off for shore and awaited her finish.

Within 30 minutes, all swimmers were home, prizes given out, the teenager managed to come 3rd overall and 1st lady home, despite it being her first sea swim event and I managed not to come last, so there were big smiles all round. An amusing ‘lottery’ followed the prize-giving, where you could win freebies from the race sponsor and also from the Best Swim Centre.

It was not long before we were cycling back to our hotel, regaling each other with tales of our individual ‘swims’ and funny stories that had happened while in the water (there’s always a funny story when you do an open water swim….so many variables).

Thanks Best Fest! You were a blast! Cheers to all involved. We are already planning next year’s trip which will definitely involve multiple event choices providing we can find somewhere glamorous to lunch near the start.

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