I've been meaning to post all week, but just not managed to get around to it. But the title will cover all of the things I wanted to write about, four swims especially in the last 6 days.
1. Aquathlon last Sunday. I still feel a bit grumpy about that, hence not giving it its own blog post. You'd think that by removed my most tricky discipline from a tri, I might do rather better. I didn't. The 5k run hurt, and what I thought was a good 750m swim time was marred by two people I knew telling me that they thought it was quite a bit short of 750m. Added to that, it was an uncomfortable swim and I just didn't feel very happy about the event. The final thing I struggled with more than usual was how good all of the other women's bodies looked compared to mine; I don't usually feel like this, and it took a lot of saying to myself "you buy small calf size fitting boots online because you can't get any on the high st to fit" and "you are still a size 8" to try to get over it. Tricky. Not something that really fits into this blog, but body image definitely plays a part in why I'm here doing all of this stuff.
2. Openwater swimming on Monday night. This was a much more positive experience and I felt ever so good after it! It was a beautiful evening, and although I'd been at work all of the beautiful bank holiday day, going for a swim with Mr Tuna and Claire the Crayfish (as Cycling Claire will henceforth be known) entirely made up for it. I was determined, although didn't say, that I'd get Claire around the 1000m loop this time and I felt that the lovely evening was very auspicious. So auspicious that when I opened the car boot, I realised that I had forgotten my wetsuit! Fortunately, this lake allows you to swim skins (ie wetsuitless) and as it was a warm day, I thought I'd risk it in my cozzie. I briefed Mr Tuna on my plans re Claire since I wasn't sure that I'd get beyond the second buoy and then got in. It wasn't actually too bad - must have been about 16C in the water and 20C out of the water, and brilliant sunshine. So I was able to do my breastroke around with Claire, and yes, we got around the 1000m loop, which felt like a big achievement for me too, sans wetsuit. I didn't let her complain about the cold this time since she was encased in neoprene, but actually she said that she was feeling hot. So big boost to confidence there.
3. Openwater swimming on a cold Saturday morning. Our tri club provides "Pre-Blenheim Swims" for people new to triathlon at this time every year - Blenheim is a major triathlon nearby that attracts a lot of first-timers. These organised sessions rely on club members turning up and informally coaching the huge numbers of people that signed up. I wanted to get in a double swim Saturday and this was a free way of getting in the water a second time to my later plans (see below), I also felt that I wanted to give something back to the club having had people be patient with me on the bike rides, and finally I would love to train so that I am able to coach openwater swimming at some point. Also, Claire the Crayfish was in need of a lift, so we picked her up en route, not that any of us were really feeling sociable at 7.30am on a Saturday. We split off into coaching pairs (I went with Mr Tuna) and I purposefully chose to help the "not confident in water" swimmers so that Claire could swim with us if she wanted to. We had 6 people in our group who managed the swimming pretty well, although everyone was complaining about the cold (water temperature was only 13C today, and air temp 8.5C), but most of us managed around 30-40 minutes in the water. It was good fun passing on the knowledge that I have accumulated by swimming myself and reading lots of tri magazines.
4. I then went over to Uxbridge lido where I put in a lot of km last season training for my 10k and 14k swims. I was meeting up with my friend Emily the eel, who kindly swam with me last year there. Unfortunately she was coming down with a cold, but fortunately there is a nice heated indoor pool there too and she said she'd swim in that for a bit. It was also my chance to test out my new wetsuit (finally!) but tests were a little inconclusive as a) it was very cold in the water and b) inexplicably, the pool was about 6 inches short of water, which made it impossible turn at the shallow end. But early estimates suggested that it might be faster (although, difficult to tell as I have worked a lot on my technique and pilates too). It was pretty comfortable and I felt sleek in the water in it. The water was freezing. Ok for lengths 3-29, then getting very cold, and then really cold for the final 500m. It was nice to swim in an empty 50m pool though!
5. I'm finally reading an interesting book called Fearless Swimming for Triathletes, which I hope to get through in the next week or so to see if there are any tips that I can pass on next Saturday. If there's anything I find especially interesting, I'll try to put a blog post up.