Open Water Swim – A New Year Challenge?

Open Water Swim © Rosalind Gregoire 2015

I love the water, an have been swimming since I can remember, but in the last 18 months (April to September) I have swapped the pool for the open water. I love being able to ride down to the lake and jump straight in. It is the best feeling in the world, when you are in the middle of that lake, it is so peaceful and the water feels amazing.  

Getting to the lake feels like an amazing commitment I make to myself. The conditions may be good or bad, but I am there to swim. Sometimes the water is calm and peaceful, and sometimes there are issues you just have to deal with. The water feels alive! And makes me feel alive too!

Swimming at Marlow last year

I know the open water season is a little way off (and I haven’t quite got round to braving winter open water… yet!) but making race plans for this year has got me wondering… I have not yet done a pure open water long distance race yet and have been looking at the Dart 10K. Some people have told me this is a fantastic race – and no doubt one for the bucket list – whist others have told me it is not as spectacular as it sounds (with boat traffic and salty, mucky water).

Even if it is not the Dart that I choose, I feel I might be up to the challenge later on this year if my training were to stay as consistent as last year. But, my life is so hectic at the moment, and with that and injury, my training has taken a hit. It makes me wonder if I will be able to make it down to the lake enough this spring/summer to train for such a challenge. Unlike running or cycling, I am worried that I have to rely on getting there at a certain time to train.

If you have any experience with endurance swimming, or any recommendations for a long distance event, please let me know. I would love to know what you think!

Building up the distance – My First Olympic Triathlon

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” – Theodore Roosevelt

After months of preparation the day finally came… my first Olympic triathlon!

Swim Bike Run Triathlon illustration

And I did it! And loved the whole thing! It wasn’t hilly, as the above illustration suggests – but The run felt like it! So here is a round up of how I found it:

The Swim: Standing in my wetsuit for the pre race briefing with the sun on my back, I became quite hot, and so the cool water was a lovely relief. The swim felt relaxed, and I think I paced myself well, feeling a little stitch in my side forming about halfway round, but I kept going and even managed a bit of a sprint at the end of the swim.

I was determined to get under 30 minutes for the swim, and was happy when I looked at my watch in transition and it said 30.30! (My official swim time being 29.27 for the 1500m – a PB!)

T1 Went fairly smoothly, considering the usual dizziness I get after a long wetsuit swim. Swim Bike Run Triathlon illustration

On to the bike, and the relief of being able to sit and get on with it. I always enjoy the bike a bit too much (if that is possible), and sometime forget to push as hard as I should be! I had some great support on the bike from Dan & my parents (who had to leave at lap 6). As usual, I think I could have pushed the bike a little harder for it not to affect my run too much. Again, another PB with a time of 1.23.56!

Another quick-ish transition, and on to the run: The sun was baring down by this point, and everyone I spoke to at the end said they didn’t enjoy the heat! My run is definitely my weakest point, having only started running properly last year. This was only the second 10k race I have done, and actually got a PB! But I was still a little disappointed, as I believe I could have pushed a little harder and gone a little faster. I know this is something I need to work on over the winter!

Swim Bike Run-03

Overall, I was happy! A total time of 3.02.44! It has given me a goal for next year to beat that 3 hour mark.

What’s next? I have joined Hillingdon Tri club, and am excited about starting to train with other people. Hopefully this will keep me going over the off season! I am always looking for my next challenge, so if you have any ideas, or want to join me, let me know!