I did a long 10k swim on Sunday – it went well and I beat the time I was aiming for – but as the first “event” of the year, perhaps the most important factor was that it was a good check on how I’m getting on. And as the dust has settled on the event and I have time to think about how it went in more detail I realised that there are a few key things that I’ve learnt. So here they are:
I’m getting better – I completed the 10k swim in 3hrs 30minutes. The last time I did a 10k swim (in Bala) I did it in 4hrs 31minutes. I know you have to factor in the cold water, but still, just over an hour’s improvement is something I’m quite pleased with. The summary is that I completed the 10k swim in almost exactly 21 minutes per kilometre. To swim Windermere in under 7 hours (my target) I’ll need to swim 17k in just over 24.5 minutes – so I’m well on track for that.
I love 50m pools – this was only the second 50m that I’ve swum in and the first was so long ago I can’t remember it. But as I swam the first length on Sunday it felt so luxurious to just be able to swim and not worry about hitting the wall so soon. I might have to search out more 50m pools.
Drafting makes it easier – as I said in my original report, all the people in my lane were of a very similar speed, so we all spent a lot of time swimming behind each other. It’s funny how we were all able to catch up with the person in front (and then easily stay with them), but no-one was really able to get away once they were in front. Because drafting.
I can’t do turns – or at least my calves can’t. I was starting to cramp up after only 2 or 3km and it didn’t get any better. I pushed off once after just over 2 hours and my legs seized up so much that all I could do was just float in the water for about 30 seconds to let it ease. Fortunately there aren’t too many turns when swimming in lakes, but I’ll also look at adding an electrolyte drink to my feeding mix.
I hate toe-tappers – while we were all drafting a bit (see above) the other three people in my lane couldn’t seem to do that without constantly toe-tapping. It’s not difficult – just don’t swim into my feet. Once or twice by accident is fine. But having your hand halfway up my calf (or that’s what it felt like) a couple of time per length is just not on. Especially, as I said above, once they got past me (and I’d let them get ahead of me at the lane end if they did toe-tap – at least for the first few times) they didn’t pull away.
It’s great to meet blog buddies in real life – as I mentioned in the original write-up I met Mo at this event and in fact she had originally persuaded me to enter. Mo and I have chatted through blog comments and Twitter for over a year, but haven’t met before – so it was great to meet up. I’d love to meet more of you if you read this – feel free to get in touch.
It’s hard work – having said all of the above and how pleased I am with my progress I’ve been exhausted this week!