Swim 3800m (Big South Swim, Dorney Lake) + Henley

AM. Swim 3800m/57:45 (1:31.3/100m), HR144(153)

Not too much of a blurry head this morning, although I still had a slightly sore throat from my mini-cold, so we set off nice and early for Dorney Lake and the Big South Swim (http://www.f3events.co.uk/race_view.php?i=47). This was to be another Ironman prep race, just to see how I’d get on with swimming such a long open water distance. Registration was simple, just show up, have your number written on the back of each hand (no timing chips here), collect a bright pink swimming hat, and off you go.

The water was fairly warm (20.8°C apparently), so it wasn’t too unpleasant getting in. I was expecting there to be some strong swimmers for this event, and so it proved to be. As soon as the hooter went we were off and sprinting. I got bumped in the pack a few times but it quickly settled down. I found a few feet to follow and tried to calm down – this would be one swim where I wasn’t going to be going clear of the pack. It seemed to take an age to get to the first buoy, but once past this I felt I could settle into a decent stroke. Coming back to the start for the end of the first lap the sun was in your eyes, so we were largely unsighted for this turn until you were practically on top of the turn buoy.

Into the second lap, and I suddenly picked up on the underwater cable that was holding the rowing lane marker buoys in place. I just followed this, like I would the markings on the bottom of a pool, and only looked up to sight very rarely after that. I made some ground on the couple of guys who were swiming near me (one not in a wetsuit!) by not having to sight so often. It was great to round the far buoy for the last time and head back to the finish, concentrating on keeping my stroke stretched out and relaxed.

I got a bit of cramp with about 500m to go (despite taking Crampex all week) so I had to stop and stretch it out as best I could, even did a bit of breaststroke while it eased. I was quickly back into my swimming though and even managed a bit of a sprint, kicking my legs to bring them back to life, as I approached the jetty. As I ran out and up to the finish gantry I was quite pleased to see I’d finished in well under an hour. Very happy!

BigSwim1 BigSwim2 BigSwim3 BigSwim4

[Pictures here http://gallery.sussexsportphotography.com/viewpicture.tlx?albumid=238318&pictureid=10446638 click on “Next” to see the full range of emotions!]

After a cup of tea, we took in the delights of Henley on the way home. Stopped to eat some pasties from the local Sainsburys on a bench in the town square and browsed the secondhand stores. Picked up a work shirt, a jigsaw, some sunglasses and few other odds and ends.