We drove up to Manchester on Saturday morning and arrived at around 11.00. We had a look around at where the start was and grabbed a bite to eat. After that we met up with Tara, Mike and Sarah who had come to cheer me on.
It was soon time to get ready, I was really nervous going to get my wet suit on in a marquee outside the Lowry in Salford Quays. Came out got Gill to help me zip up my wet suit and we walked to the start.
I was in the white wave at 13.00. After checking in. There was time for a quick dip to get ready. Once I got in the water my nerves went a little and felt ready for what I think was my toughest challenge so far.
Back out of the water, quick warm up and the sun came out for the first time on the day. The hooter went and we jumped or in my case walked into the water.
First few strokes and I felt good, wasn’t aiming for a time other than to finish. The first 600 metres were straight, a few kicks and bangs on the ankles followed by a heavy rain shower and we turned round the first buoy.
At this point my goggles steamed up and I wasn’t really thinking straight. I didn’t sort them out and continued to swim. This slowed me down and made me feel a bit trapped in the water. However hearing the shouts of encouragement from those supporting me and we turned into the canal that joined the two basins.
As we went through there I managed to sort my goggles and picked up my very slow pace again. Turned into the final basin managed to give Gill and the boys a wave and turned another buoy.
One more turn and the final straight to go! At this point I felt my leg starting to cramp. I managed to stretch this out in the water and turned into the final straight.
An uneventful last 200 metres, I got to the end was helped out the water to finish in a time of 52 minutes 19 seconds.
I was really wobbly at this stage, so sat down for a second before finding everyone and heading off to have that first pint in 6 months.