As much as I love cold water it sometimes hurts……….a lot.
The pain as you get in, when your toes start to feel like individual ice cubes, the ice cream head, I get weird cramps in my wrists as the blood flow starts to restrict.
Eventually everything goes numb, you live in happy oblivion to the pain for a while whilst your skin tingles all over and the adrenaline rush of the begins.
Then you get out, there’s an initial rush of feeling warm. Lulling you into a false sense of security that all will be fine. But then you start to warm up. As the blood rushes back to your extremities they hurt. If it’s windy the chill is even worse. Fingers and toes can hurt like hell. The Short One suffers from Reynaud’s, a condition that affects circulation. Her fingers go white and as they warm back up they hurt……….for a long time.
If you attempt a shower that’s too warm post-swim your skin will burn. Mine itches like crazy too.
I’m learning that there’s a fix to this though. Until I got a chest infection this week I’d been swimming outside everyday in December. 10 heavenly days of grins and endorphins. Significantly though the pain reduced and it got easier to get in every time. I’ve rarely swum everyday, life’s too busy, but even a brief two minute dip a day has had a huge impact on my body’s ability to manage it’s reaction to the cold.
I’m on the mend and looking forward to getting back in but I’m dreading the fact that some of the intense cold water acclimatisation might have worn off. Oh well, that little bit of pain’s always worth it!