So...my longest swim challenge to date completed!
Yesterday morning, following a horrific night's sleep owing to a post-exam-results party four doors down, was the Henley Bridge to Bridge swim. It couldn't have been better weather. I've noticed in the last ten days that Autimn seems to be drawing in a bit, both in the mornings and with the darker evenings and we drove past some beautiful misty fields. But by 8am, wetsuited up and ready to enter the water it was still very definitely summer and getting quite warm. The water was a warm 20C, almost too warm for a wetsuit.
The swim was divided into five sections of approximately 4k, 3k, 3k, 2k and 2k, by the locks on the river where swimmers and support kayaks needed to get out. Although the swimmers all set off together, once we hit the first stop we were divided into 10 groups depending on our initial speed to 'work together' to complete the swim.
I have to say that I wasn't in the right place to be doing the swim when I set off. The combination of feeling that I hadnt prepared quite as well as I would have liked due to being distracted by bike riding and a difficult week at work led to a lackadaisical approach to the first 4k and saw me put into the 5th group which over the next 3k really didn't challenge me.
At each lock stop was food, and it transpired a good deal of hanging around whilst the laggers from the group caught up and also had ther food. At the second stop,we were not too far behind the 4th group, so when they got ready to leave after we' stopped for four minutes, I jumped in with them. That was more like it. I realised after about five minutes that I was at the back of the group and didn't want to get demoted back down again so I pulled out my race pace and over ten minutes or so caught up with the leaders, I was buzzing by the time I reached the next stop.
Unfortunately that may have been a mistake! The next stage, a little under 2k was easy still despite sore shoulders, but the final 2k was just painful. The river became straight at that point and I knew I was looking out for a bridge to mark the finish but it just refused to appear! My shoulders got more and more sore and I was ready to give up, except there wasn't anywhere to get out. Was so relieved to get out although it was a bit of an anticlimax as the goody bags and certificates were a ten minute walk away!
In total, my finish time was 3hours 47 minutes, but looking at my watch, I think only three hours and one minute were spent swimming. There was an awful lot of current so I'm guessing it was equivalent to about 10.5k in a lake.
My arms are pretty sore today but nothing is as sore as the hairline at the back of my neck. My wetsuit came undone slightly and I think I got scrubbed by Velcro. OUCH. I also seem to have a bit of an earache which I hope will go away. I don't feel on my usual post race/event high so not quite sure what that is about, but as usual I know I need to move on not least because Saturday sees the start of four events in nine days for me. Will blog about that tomorrow.
Ps I apologise for the brevity of this post and more importantly the lack of pictures. I have plenty of the latter taken by my husband but my computer has a virus and I'm not allowed to upload them until it's fixed - in fact I'm having to blog on my iPhone which is a bit of a pain. Will put some pictures up in a separate post as soon as I can!