In 2011 Manda and I had done a lot of shorter open water races so we decided that 2012 was the year for a much longer challenge. We also need to do more long distance swimming in preparation for the Manhattan Island Relays in August. We therefore decided to do a 10km swim. 10km is swimming’s equivalent of a marathon and is the only open water race which is currently an Olympic event.
We trained in earnest over the winter doing lots of long sessions in Crystal Palace. We even attacked the dreaded 100×100 session. Afterwards I was so exhausted I bumped my car into things twice on the way home.
The event we had entered was a human race event at Dorney Lake at the end of May. As the day on the race approached we started to panic as the weather was still cold which meant that the water was a very chilly 13 degrees. We were struggling to stay in for an hour let alone the nearly three we would need to complete the swim. We were furiously ordering neoprene gloves and booties to wear. Luckily the swimming gods were shinning on us and the week before the race was scorching hot which warmed the water up nicely to a lovely 18 degrees.
We had agreed that we would try and swim together but with 200 plus people not losing each other as the start was going to be a challenge. Somehow after about 200m we did managed to find each other and we started off on the 5 lap course. For the first three laps we managed to stay pretty much on 1.30 pace (lap 1 30m 22s, lap 2 30m 52s, lap 3 30m 33s). At the end of the third lap we stopped for a drink at the feed stop. I think Manda wanted to stay there all day so I had to remind her we were in a race and that we needed to get going again! We slipped off pace a bit for the fourth lap (34m 33s) but manage to bring it back a somewhat on the fifth (32m 15s). We exited together in a time of 2 hours 37 minutes.
Very tired but happy we went for a celebratory Byron Burger and a well-earned Oreo cookie milkshake.