Date: 15th June 2016
This race series is held at Activities Away Centre in Lincoln. There are five races throughout the season, one a month from May through to September. Each event involves a 800 metre open water swim followed by a 5KM run.
Following the first race in May, I finished 2nd lady in a total time of 27:41, I was pretty certain that I could easily drop a fair amount of time off my swim (11:41) as this was my first attempt at ‘racing’ open water so it was more of a learning curve for me (I think I swam about 200 metres further than everyone else as I kept swimming of course & ended up on my own away from the lead pack).
So myself & Matt (my boyfriend) arrive at Activities Away after making the trip from Leicester after work. We both sign in & watch the juniors race (200 metre swim/2KM run) which is brilliant to see the up & coming talent & gets everybody in the adults race all revved up & ready to race. We squeeze into our wetsuits (myself:Blue Seventy Reaction suite & Matt: Blue Seventy Helix suit) & listen to Paul Folwer (the organiser & creator of 100% Swimming) give the race briefing.
The lady who won the event last month wasn’t present this time, however I noticed that the lady who beat me out of the water last time was so I decided that I would try & hang onto her on the swim this time. We all get into the lake & swim over to the start buoy & listen to the count down, five, four, three, two, one……..
The start horn sounds & it turns into chaos, this month I decided to start in the middle of the pack near the swimmer that I am trying to pace off…big mistake! This resulted in my being hit/kicked/swam into & over which I understand is all part of open water swimming however it panicked me & I actually had to stop for a few seconds just to compose myself.
After around 200 metres the pack begins to spread out & I start to get into my rhythm now as I approach the first buoy at around 300 metres. At this point I spot the lady that I was planning on swimming with about 15 metres in front of me, so I make an effort to take the quickest turn around the buoy as I can to give me a chance to catch her up, which I do. I can’t explain how much difference it made to have a swimmer to swim with & pace me, it meant I didn’t need to spot where I was going as often as I was using her & it helped to calm me into a strong paced stroke for the rest of the swim. We exit the lake side by side but I manage to get to my feet slightly quicker & I cross the transition line first lady (11:03) & run into the transition area to my trainers.
Once I reach my transition area, I start the task of getting out of my wetsuit! Unfortunately I manage to get my suit stuck & nearly slip over so this causes me to lose a fair bit of time which due to the lady I was swimming with choosing not to wear a suit she is off out of transition a lot quicker than myself.I knew from last months results that I should be slightly stronger on the run than her so I try not to panic when I start my run as I can’t even see her in sight at this point.
From the very first stride of my run my breathing felt uncomfortable (being caused I think by my slight panic in the water & swim effort increase) so I was really concentrating on just relaxing & trying to relax into my running stride. The terrain is pretty demanding as its uneven grassy ground so finding a rhythm isn’t all that easy, but I manage to the catch & over take the lady in front of my by the end of lap one (three laps of 1KM) giving me a little confidence boost. I knew that I couldn’t relax too much at this point as the lady who finished 3rd last month is a stronger runner than me & I wasn’t sure how much distance I had on her from the swim so despite my breathing pain I tried to hold my pace. Coming into the last 200 metres, a quick glance over my shoulder confirmed that I was going to finish first lady so I take the chance to try & savour the moment. I can hear Matt cheering me on from the finish (he always beats me) & I cross the finish line & my lungs are screaming so it couldn’t have come sooner!
I finished in a total time of 27:29 which I was really pleased with as my aim for this series is just to improve any amount of time on my previous one. I had managed to knock nearly 40 seconds of my swim but my run was slightly slower which didn’t surprise me with the pain I ran with, but an overall 14 seconds faster than last month means I can’t be too disappointed & it gives me hope as I knew there is more to come & I am still learning.
Matt was first out of the water & he broke his swim record that he had set last month in a time of 9:40! Unfortunately he lost a bit of time on his run against some very strong runners & finished in 4th place again (same as last month) so missed out on a podium spot.
So, DryRobe on & cheering the rest of the field in, we then get changed & I receive my trophy & my prize of a lovely pair of Blue Seventy goggles.
Again a brilliantly run & friendly event which is perfect for any ability & experience level & I am already looking forward to returning to race number three on the 13th July!