My challenge buddy and I celebrated my birthday with a dip in the sea, a “birthday baptism.”  Only I live in England and my birthday is in the middle of October  (brrr).  I want to share some of the things I learned as a result of this fabulous experience in the hope that it will encourage someone else in some way.


  1. Getting into a cold sea is really no big deal, but standing on the windy beach in our coats, it really felt like a big deal!  In actual fact, it was colder with our coats on (under our protective layer) than it was in our swimsuits when we felt surprisingly warm).  So lesson number one, don’t be afraid to shed your protective layer, it could be that it is hindering rather than helping and you may not need it at all.
  2. Surround yourself with other people who want to push against their comfort zone and you will go further than you imagined.
  3. We wouldn’t havew gone through it if we had been on our own.  Accountability helps us to achieve in a difficult climate.   A coach, friend or public declaration of intent can tick this box.
  4. Running into the sea feeling more Baywatch than we looked, we were overcome by laughter.  Doing a painful thing whilst laughing hysterically makes it a lot less painful!
  5. Then came full submersion.  It was so cold, I couldn’t breathe in or out when I came up.  It only lasted a few seconds but it was a BIG SIGN that I should not have shocked my body so drastically.  The lesson is that going out of your comfort zone is fun and challenging but it is wise to do a bit of preparation/acclimatisation first.  Oops.
  6. It was too cold to swim so we got out.  After a few minutes, we decided to go back in (well we’d come all this way).  Our bodies were more prepared this time so it was easier.  The second time is much easier than the first, so if you have a bad first experience, don’t let it put you off having another go.
  7. We swam and floated and chatted and enjoyed the many colours in the sea and sky that had initially looked dull.  There is extraordinary in the ordinary if you have a proper look.
  8. We expected to feel cold.  We were so cold we felt hot.  We were numb and the water felt like silk.  It was exquisite.  Things are never quite how you imagine them to be and you’ll never know how they’ll feel until you actually give something a go.
  9. It was magnificent for 20 minutes and then it suddenly wasn’t, so we got out.  Not everything is meant to last forever.  Know when to move onwards and upwards.
  10. It’s great to take a day out of the mundane to do somehting memorable.  It is even more fun when everyone else is at work and is topped off by a visit to the pub!
  11. Lastly and most impoartantly, take a big enough towel.  I had two smaller ones.  The one wrapped around my bottom half, whilst we were changing on the beach, slipped off and my numb bum failed to alert me to the shock I was causing to the elderly couple walking their dog.  Perhaps I should have offered to help them with their PTSD!

We have now recruited an increasing army of Blue Tits and Iced Buns.   That’s the name of our Facebook Group.  If you want to join us next time, join the group.  It’s never a good idea to do this kind of thing on your own and it certainly isn’t as much fun!