The last time I completed this event was in November. Back then I was unexpectedly anxious in the swim section. It happened to me again today and consequently I swam rather more slowly than I would do in training.
I think the rush of adrenaline that comes with the excitement and nervousness about starting a race put me off my stroke. Unlike in a run, where I can use that nervous energy to dash off from the line, in a swim it holds me back, because it makes me breathe faster. And when you’re swimming that starts to feel like you can’t catch your breath.
I did manage to complete the swim, but with a fair bit of breast stroke and a fair bit of clinging onto the side trying to calm my heart rate. I let everyone in my lane go past me, was two lengths behind the next swimmer and, I think, last out of the pool in my wave. So I was quite disappointed. I didn’t even look at the time, but I think it took me about 14 mins to swim 500m. In training I can do it in around 12.
The marshalls and supporters were lovely, checking I was okay. And I got a few ‘well done’s’ as I got out of the pool. It was an absolute relief to put my trainers on and head out on the run.
Now I was in my zone. And luckily I was able to put my swim behind me fairly quickly. I felt strong, breathing easily and sensed I got quicker on each lap. I certainly gave it a good strong finish at the end and stopped my watch after 500m swim and 4.7km run on a time of 43:08 – knocking a good 30 seconds off my time for the same race.
When I did manage to find my rhythm in the swim, I felt strong and quickly gained on the man in front. So it was my head that let me down more than anything physical. It’s a shame, because I love being in the water and have no fear of it. And I enjoy swimming and know I have improved.
I’m already thinking of how I can try and calm down and enjoy my next race. So I won’t let this beat me. And I’m pleased I managed to pull off such a strong run. It does show how I am getting better little by little.
But I think I earned my medal today. And it’s a rather lovely one.
Swim 500m 13:59
Run 5.7k plus transition 29:07
Total time 43:06