relaxing BEFORE THE SWIM!!!
So it's the morning of my 1st open water meet, the 5km Great North Swim. I was feeling well and confident, the winter training in the pool and open water for the last few months in Hatfield Marina had all gone to plan.
However, as we left our overnight hotel the light showers which had been forecast were more a deluge and I felt slightly worried. In fact aqua-planning on the M6 was more of a concern.
As Lake Windermere came into view and we headed for Bowness the rain and wind had all but stopped and there was hardly a ripple on the water. We had a pleasant scenic ferry ride across to the race site at the Low Wood Bay Hotel
which was a very impressive setup. I was due to swim in the 2nd wave of the day at 1pm, the Green wave, so I had the luxury of relaxing and watching the Red wave swimmers nervously make their way to the start.
With the 1st wave safely in the water I changed into my wetsuite and did my best to look like I was a seasoned open water pro, I think I fooled them!! So with my timing chip activated we waited in the start area. Now followed a dip in the acclimatization pool and a 5 minute warm-up routine we were minutes away.
I'd already decided that getting to the front and away early was my best strategy and once the start horn sounded that's exactly what I did. The course was 1 mile long so it would take 3 laps to make up 5km. The 1st lap I managed to
draft(swim in slipstream of swimmer in front) around in 2nd place and admittedly at a slightly faster pace than I had planned but I felt the benefit of the free ride would be worth it. By the start of the 2nd lap and after a brief spell leading I was starting to wish I'd not made that strategy decision, my shoulders were starting to ache in particular my left side was in real pain. I decided to ease back and make sure I could finish the race. The 3rd and final lap seemed to take an age to get to and by this time all my thoughts were to just get to the finish line, luckily as I turned at the halfway buoy to head into the home straight several othe swimmers had passed me and I managed to pick up my pace and hang on to their feet all the way to the end. The walk
up the finish pontoon was a feeling of relief and happiness - it was over and as I posed for my official photo with my GNS medal and T-shirt I thought it was all worth it.
A great experience and a fantastically well organised event. I can recommend it to anyone to give it a try.
10k next year here I come, lol.
So the finishing time was 1hr 15min 57secs, which gave me 35th overall and 4th in age group which out of several thousand entries I was delighted with.
Big thanks to my support team, Chauffeur - Pete, Kit Man - Pete, Official photographer -Pete.