Before I do anything I have to say a massive thank you to my canoeist Lucy HG. Last week at Bala (my first big swim) Jon was excellent as he kept me going and motivated, with just the right amount of coaxing and cajoling. There wasn’t as much of that this time around, firstly because I didn’t need it, but mainly because Lucy spent all of her time keeping the kayak upright.
It was choppy.
Apparently it couldn’t get much choppier without the event being cancelled. Not only that, but the waves were blowing down the course, meaning that the kayaks were getting pushed way beyond the swimmers. Poor old Lucy spent all of her time paddling backwards just to make sure she was going as slow as I was. She did an amazing job, and yet again – thank you.
However, the one thing that Lucy needs to do is be more believable when she tells me that we’re close to the finish. At one stage I took a moment to get my bearings and I heard Lucy say: “You’re doing really well, nearly there.” “Yeah, yeah,” I thought, as according to my calculations I was about a mile away. But a couple of minutes later I heard, “nearly there” again. This time I thought, “leave me alone woman,” so I looked up and was about to say that when Lucy said, “that yellow buoy is the finish.” We were only about 200 metres away, so I put my head down and got on with it.
In the end I finished in 3 hours and 6 seconds.
While I was disappointed not to break 3 hours, I was expecting to be closer to 4 hours, so I was delighted with the time. Last week I did 6 miles in 4 hrs 31 mins (45 mins per mile), this week I did 5.25 miles in 3 hrs (34 mins per mile). Or to put it another way, last week’s winner did it in 2 hrs 39 mins, while this week’s winner (the same person) did it in 1 hr 58 mins. Apart from the fact that those times don’t appear human to me, they were 41 mins quicker, while I was 91 mins quicker.
What caused this? I’m not entirely sure myself, but I suspect it’s a combination of: just getting on with it – I was a bit of a tourist last week and enjoyed the view too much; confidence in the distance – I knew I could do 5.25 miles, after all I swam 6 miles last week; being a bit stronger and swim fitter – again last week’s swim helped; and maybe just getting a bit better.
So, onwards and upwards now.
Read Lucy’s blog about it here – I thought she was a more experienced kayaker 😉