|I have no idea why I'm smiling!|
But onto my experience.......
|Lambs to the slaughter|
|Where's the chip shop ?|
Not only were there 2 and a half thousand other people all entering the water for a mass start, (I started mid pack with club mates Lorraine and Steve) but there must've been almost the same amount of jelly fish. It really was an unforgettable experience and for me not in a good way. Swimming out to the first buoy seemed to be the worst, I spotted my first jelly fish almost straight away but it was quite deep in the water so I was ok with that. Then there was one in front of me, and to the left of me, then to the right of me, then I scooped one with my hand and it just went on and on and on like this. Rounding the first buoy was just a matter of survival, I was right in the melee of swimmers. I had started middle of the pack, as I was realistic about how long the swim was going to take me, but I still seemed to be amongst a lot of swimmers of varying pace. The jelly fish were freaking people out so of course then swimmers were changing direction and flailing arms and legs were everywhere. I got a kick in the calf which immediately cramped up, I had to hang onto a canoe until the pain passed before I could carry on. I thought things would ease a little when starting the second lap but it didn't seem to. There still seemed to be swimmers everywhere. I've never been so relieved to finish something in my life !! and I have never been so pleased to see Ron waiting for me with my dryrobe and a first class ticket to the nearest fish and chip shop ! Bring on tomorrow, it's just a hilly 112 mile bike ride ..... walk in the park.
I absolutely loved this, 112 hilly miles in perfect riding conditions. I carried most of my fuel with me...fuelled solely by Tailwind. I only used one aid station to refill my bottle with water so that I could add a tailwind stick pack and use the loo. But, there's plenty of food and drink at all of the aid stations should you need it. I wanted to practice my fuelling strategy as close as I could in preparation for IMW. The ride went brilliantly and I was happy with my fuelling practice. You get a medal for each event, and if you entere LCW as the full event you get a fourth medal that links them all together. The weekend is fantastic and I would highly recommend it and I would definitely do it again. In hindsight the swim did me the power of good and I came home feeling confident and really really pleased that I had completed it.
|Two out of three ain't bad|
A bit more long distance training for a couple of weeks and then I was into a race!
|hunting down the fast swimmers|
I was railroaded into entering this by club friend Neill! I had just won my age group at the Cotswold 113 and was at the back end of 2 glasses of fizz when Neill text me to say he'd entered this race, 'why don't you join me, it will be great race prep for IM Wales.' Sea swim, tough bike, coastal path run. I entered there and then.
'Healthy life activities' are the organisers and the race was to play host to the Welsh middle distance championships. I hadn't really thought about this race and was planning to use it as a training race/weekend, Neill was injured and unable to make it. Ron and I had a guest house about 500m from the venue which all made for a relaxed start. All competitors gathered in the holding pen above the slipway onto the beach. After the shenanigans of LCW Swim (Zillions of jelly fish and people!) and an unsatisfactory lake swim last week, I decided to place myself right at the back of the swimmers. It was a delayed start as the tide hadn't come in enough and the first buoy wasn't under water ! We had an Australian start...ie a mass start running into the sea, we had to run quite a way in before we could start swimming. It was windy and the sea was very choppy, but i had plenty of space around me and there were 0 jelly fish. The water was a good temperature and I relaxed and swam, even though I was losing sight of the buoys in the waves! Aussie exit meant we had to run through the water quite a bit again for the second lap, I wasn't very good at this ! I had a slow swim of approx. 45 mins actual swim time but all times were on 'gun' so my official time was over 52 minutes! I took T1 fairly easy as I knew i was way back in the pack and wondered if I was the last out of the water (I wasn't, It seemed most people found it difficult) I hopped onto my bike really looking forward to this bit as we had driven the course the day before and it was right up my street with a 1.5 mile 15% hill about 8 miles in, as well as other hills and long descents. Two laps. I just got head down and gave it the beans having fun catching all those people that swam faster than me! Going up the big hill first time round I was overtaking all the way, one chap said as I passed him 'you do know you've got to do this twice!' (what was he implying?) What I didn't realise until after the race was over I must have over taken all women in front of me during the bike leg.
|Winner winner chicken dinner, but first, a banana.|
The venue was at the new RNLI station on the sea front. Whilst the race was taking place the lifeboats went out and basically saved the lives of 2 kayakers that were swept out to sea, getting further and further away. The safety team arrived back as prize giving was taking place so everyone gave them a huge round of applause and cheers. Fantastic.