Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Coniston and continued training

Sunday 30th May was event one of the Epic Swim Series, the location was Coniston Water in the Lake District, at the crack of dawn I headed across Country utilizing the 'sat nav' and soon found myself being taken the scenic route to say the least. The journey took much longer than normal, I think next time I will rely on the old fashioned methods. Modern technology then took me to the wrong final destination, fortunately the actual location I needed to be at was only a mile or so away. I arrived at a the registration point,in a local school, signed in, collected my timing chip and scoffed down some breakfast whilst admiring the spectacular views.
The first swim of the day was a 500m sprint, watching this to familiarise myself with the start point etc. Despite my objections the organisers had declared that wetsuits were compulsory, I changed into rubber and stood around waiting for the start of the 3800m event. After a short safety brief around 90 swimmers were counted into the water, it felt very warm and awkward in the wetsuit, my watch was reading 58f. We were informed a two minute count down would precede the start, so, there I was bobbing around between a boat and the first buoy when suddenly the horn sounded and we were off. It was a mass start, the dog fight that followed kind of took me by surprise, I should have known better. Sustaining an elbow strike to the face almost instantly which knocked my goggles just about clean off but for the fact they were under my cap, it was almost game over at the start.

I eventually got into some clear water and pressed on. The course was set out in a manner where two laps were required, the buoys in the distance about 1000m away could not be seen. This was my only real criticism of the event which I am told is to be addressed for future 'epic events'
After the first full clockwise rectangular lap I checked my watch, I was disappointed to see it reading about 32 minutes, I continued with the second loop and reached the the final buoy another half hour later, a short swim to the shore, a run up the matting and over the timing mat stopped the clock. I stripped to the waist and watched the remainder of the swimmers finish. After watching the final race (1mile) I headed home via lunch in Ambleside.

The next day whilst having a day off in York rehydrating with Guinness I discovered via the results that I was the 13th male to finish in a time of 66minutes, I was hoping for a better time though this is only comparing back to my triathlon days, no two courses are identical and this one was certainly not easy to follow with so few buoys. All in all it was a fun day, a nice change of venue and easy to swim in the presence of others.

Three days after the Epic swim on June 2nd I had chance to visit good old Seaton Carew, I had real trouble getting into the water, it was bloody freezing ! I wasn't sure but was convinced it was due to swimming in the wetsuit at the weekend. I did talk myself round and swam and hour among tonnes of seaweed at a constant 52f. I do prefer a steady surface temperature rather than patchy water but that Wednesday was horrid.

Thursday 4th another trip alone to Seaton, the sea weed was still present as were the lifeguards, I walked in expecting the worse, yet, to my amazement the water was warm, my watch was hitting 59f I thought this could be due to the hot sun being absorbed by the masses of seaweed. The sea itself was quite challenging, very confused short choppy waves making technique and breathing difficult, this was excellent training and less mentally challenging with the warmer water.

After what feels like an age I returned to the pool this week to complete a time trial incorporating a 5500m descending ladder, my time has finally dropped back to that of 2008 and I was able to hit 90 minutes at long last.

This week I have an OSS swim with Sarah Tunnicliffe at Thirsk on Saturday 12th and The first BLDSA Championship of the year at Wykeham Lake on Sunday 13th June..more news to follow soon

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