Thursday, 6 August 2015

Nottingham big swim

Saturday 25th July was nottingham big swim with a choice of 5km; 2.5km and 1500m.  I opted for 5km which started at 1.15pm so no need to get up early which I liked but it did leave me wondering what to do about lunch.

This event was 2 laps, at the end of the lap you had to get out, walk across some Tarmac where there would be water then get back in again so there was just one chance for fuel.  As I had been getting cramp I wanted to make sure I was adequately fuelled and hydrated before as well as during so put a bottle of electrolyte drink with a 9bar stuck to it near the water table.  About half an hour before the start I had a banana and 'everything but the cow' drink.

This event is part of the outlaw triathlon which was the next day.  Saturday was very busy with outlaws coming to register and rack their bikes.  Everything was very well signed for the outlaw but a bit confusing for the swim -  spent ages trying to find the bag drop for example! 

Just before the start we had a briefing then were allowed in the water - I waited until last as I didn't want to be standing around in the cold water longer than necessary.  The start was quite wide; I positioned myself at the back but it was still very busy with lots of people pushing and shoving past me.  I had chatted to a few people at the start, they seemed very friendly but in the water there was such aggression - my other event was a much smaller start; this had 5km and 2.5km swimmers so several hundred. 

The route was a very long rectangle so quite straightforward to follow. It must have taken about 10 minutes before the pushing and shoving stopped at one point someone even bashed my head hard which was still hurting at the end, my goggles did stay on OK though!

By the time I got to the big buoy (the end of the long side of the rectangle) I was feeling relaxed and had started to enjoy it.  It was still busy so I was constantly looking out for others but it was not crazy busy.  

On the return leg I was overtaking people from the 2.5km and 5km (we had different coloured hats) which felt good as I was expecting to be at the back (from previous results I didn't think I would be last but certainly the last handful!).  It was possible to see the finish gantry from a long way out, it never got any closer!  About 5 mins out I was being passed by some 2.5km swimmers doing their final sprint to the finish and it seemed to get quite busy again.  

I was a bit worried about getting out as that is often when I have got cramp, luckily there were two people standing in the water to haul you out!! The official clock said 57.45. I had my bottle of high5 and 9bar which took forever to eat ( I was feeling hungry so defiantly needed something but another time will got for a quick gel!).  The walk across the Tarmac was not that nice in bare feet as it was bobbly.  I was careful getting myself back in again as any sudden move might cause cramp (afterwards I saw some photos of others diving in, I hope I wasn't the only one slow and pathetic getting back in again!).

The time on my Garmin when I got back was 1.00. Xx.  Before the event I had hoped I might get under 2 hours (not an impossible target based on my previous event). On seeing the time getting back in I thought it was probably not likely as I slowed a lot last time but I wanted to give it a good go.

The second lap was so much nicer as it was quite and I could see better where I was going, this made me think that if I was taking a more direct line and not having collisions I might have a chance at sub 2 hours. There was a lady ahead (I know it was a lady as she had passed me as I was having my refreshments!) so I focused on trying to catch her and pass.   Next up was 2 people swimming together, I managed to get past them at the start of the final long straight.  Then there were 3 people together so I hunted them down.  Once I caught them it seemed to take a while to pass, maybe they picked up the pace when they saw someone trying to pass them.

I had glanced at my watch at the start of the final straight but as I didn't know how long the last bit was I wasn't sure if sub 2 was possible but I thought it might be so I tried to pick up the pace - with swimming though I don't have that much of a range of paces so me putting in a big effort to go harder only equates to a few seconds faster per 100m!! 

I looked at my watch again and had 12 minutes to do what looked like not too much distance but I remembered from the first lap that the finish didn't seem to get any closer.  I never looked at my watch again as I just wanted to focus on getting there.  After what felt like about 5 mins the finish still seemed a fair way off and I was sure that I wasn't going to get sub 2 but I didn't give up.  

The event was chip timed but you had to get out to cross the mat before you got your time.  Right near the finish someone caught up with me and tried to pass. I wasn't so bothered about them passing but more concerned about being delayed getting out and over the chip mat! If someone finished just ahead of me then the two people helping swimmers out would be helping them out and I would have to struggle out on my own trying to avoid the cramp! 

Anyway, I did get passed and did get helped out (by one person) and didn't get cramp but didn't make sub 2 - ended up on 2.01.xx.  If I had been a few seconds off I would have blamed the time taken to eat the 9bar but I was too far off to blame that - I just need to get faster for sub 2 which I hope I will do with more training.

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