Challenge 28 – Fritton Lake swimrun
The trouble with writing my blog the day after a challenge is the temptation to look back at it with rose tinted glasses! Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the challenge but swimming is not my forte and I knew that I would have to really push myself to get through and I really didn’t want to let Phil down by not finishing in a competitive time. It was very intimidating as we waited for the briefing looking around at all the people in their triathlon kit and thinking what am I doing here! We were given a very attractive orange swimming hat which we had to wear throughout the race even during the runs! We also had a numbered bib like I used to wear to play netball and being one size fits all it was huge on me – great!
The event started with a 2.9k run and as running is the bit that I can do I really wanted to get ahead to try to ensure that we didn’t finish last! With Phil pushing the pace we set off on the whistle and found ourselves leading the pack into the first corner! It did go through my mind that we may be using too much energy up too soon but we held our own and entered the water for the first swim in 5th place ready for everyone to come past us in the water!
As I have already said, swimming is not one of my strengths and I have been working really hard to try to improve and master front crawl since getting my challenges. Swimming in a nice clean pool being able to touch the side every 50 meters is very different to open water swimming and the first swim was the longest at 650 meters. I did attempt front crawl but the cold water took my breath away and with the weight of my wet trainers dragging my feet down, I felt more confident with my breaststroke and although the stronger swimmers raced off we didn’t seem to fall too far behind. The swim was one of the toughest things I have ever done and I remember thinking to myself that if I could get through it, I can get through anything including my upcoming ultra! I did have to dig deep but there was no way I was going to give up and with Phil encouraging me all the way, the end did eventually come and with relief I dragged my aching body out of the water through the bog and the reeds, I heard Phil saying ‘come on this is the bit you can do!’ and reluctantly I got my legs pumping and off we went chasing down the people ahead and pushing our way past other pairs back to the water again where they would then overtake us again!
The runs and the swims were all shorter than the first ones and I became more confident as we went along. There were a few moments that stood out such as the torrential rain that came down during the third swim which was quite magical being in the middle of a beautiful lake and running through the woods as well as along the road, soaking wet and in a swimming hat!
When the final run came I gave it all I had and Phil and I managed to make up a few places before racing down the hill and through the finish arch to get our lovely medals.
The swimrun was definitely the toughest of my challenges so far and something that I would never have entered myself. I am very glad that I have done it but do not anticipate ever doing it again (although Phil may have other ideas) and I’m very proud that we came 16th out of 45.