Sunday, 26 May 2013
Big fish swim (3.8k)
Getting in was cold, but not that bad, and I made sure that I had got my head acclimitised. There wasn't much time before we set off either which was good. Unlike the last time I swam a race at this venue, they sensibly set off the 3.8k swimmers 5 minutes before the 1500m-ers. I tried to set off nice and relaxed whilst keeping my pace good. The first lap often feels best, but mentally it's hard as you know you've got a lot more to do - in this case, 4 more laps. Because the sun was quite bright and because there were other people swimming in the lake casually, it was difficult to see where other people were in the race. Unfortunately, as I finished the first lap, I already knew that I was going to slowly to go sub 1h. My morale diminished significantly over the second lap especially as I was so cold and I contemplated getting out. Not sure what stopped me to be honest. Kept going as best as I could, again nearly losing it at the start of the 4th lap where I inexplicably started retching, but tried to swim as hard as I could into the finish.
As I finished, I knew that it was (to me) a sh*t time, but out of interest, I asked where I'd come. "2nd" the finisher said, "first woman". Gosh! I had a couple of seconds and a couple of thirds last year, but not a first, and not been nearly so high up overall before. In fact, Ken said that I'd been in the first 3 right from the start and had started lapping people on my second lap! In addition to my medal, I was presented with a winner's plaque! Exciting!
I later asked Dan Bullock if there was any scientific evidence that one swims slower in the cold; whilst he didn't point me to anything but did say that he has never swum fast early in the season as finds it harder to relax and breathe in the cold water, so I'm blaming the temperature for not PB-ing.
I'm not really sure what could have gone better with this race to get the time that I wanted, apart from perhaps a bit more time in the water generally (I'm swimming up to 15k a week this year as opposed to over 20k a week last year). The goggles I was using were comfortable and didn't fog up and seemed to help me sight better than the ones I was using for racing last year. I sighted well and swam straight. I felt like I was swimming hard and strong and I didn't feel like I was losing my technique on the last lap. So, all positives.
In other news, Claire the Crayfish did the 1500m "Small Fry" swim, which was her first openwater swim race, and a chance to practice ahead of her first openwater triathlon in June; whilst she didn't enjoy the cold, she did get round and finish it.