It’s been a while since my last competitive event so it’s great to be able to finally submit a brief race report after a long period of absence since back surgery in 2014.
I had made the mistake of thinking I could pick up where I left off after an initial recovery period then trying to get right back “on it”, but hadn’t realised at the time it would be a long, gradual road ahead. Two years on and with a gradually expanding waist line, I decided it was definitely time to throw myself in at the deep end (literally) and enter one of the Lakes Swim Series to kick start my return to fitness and motivation.
With 2 options to choose from (hard core 2.4m swim for Ironman training which I had done before, and soft lad 1.0m) I opted for soft lad. I knew that would be enough in the cold waters of Coniston and after dipping the first toe into the drink on the Sunday morning I was glad I’d cut myself some slack. Out to the deep water start for a quick mass rendition of “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” sung vibrantly amidst a heavy rain shower, and the gun started the first of 3 waves each separated by a minute.
Nothing comes close to the hustle and bustle of an open water swimming race as over 300 front crawlers scramble for a line, visibility and air but once in a modicum of clear water and the panic had settled, I tried to find a rhythm. I was in the middle wave and my focus was damage limitation from the wave behind as we swam down the lake sighting the large yellow marker buoys every few hundred metres. My triceps were screaming but I soon relaxed and managed to get on someone’s feet to draft them loosely to the turn point where we would cross the breadth of the lake and swim back “upstream”. With the morning sunlight now shining directly in our faces glistening off the water, sighting became more difficult but before I knew it I was crossing the start point and swimming back in for the shoreline and timing mats. My only disappointment with the event is the time it takes to wade out of the shallow banks all of which counts to the total time so it was impossible to get an accurate time for my mile swim, although my GPS had indicated I had actually swam over 2000 metres and went through the 1600 metre (1 mile) mark quite some time ago.
Overall, I was pleased to have finished amongst some very accomplished swimmers in the top half of the race and although my time was most likely down on my previous PB for the mile, my confidence is restored and I’m already looking for my next swimming race. A well organised event with a friendly atmosphere and good safety throughout.