Sunday, 2 September 2012

Daring to do the Dart 10k

I have written many a time of my convoluted love/hate relationship with swimming. It seems that if I am not training for anything in particular then I really rather enjoy it and get on just fine, but as soon as a goal is up ahead, all swim systems crash and the hatred begins. It's not that I hate swimming itself, I just hate not being very good at it.

Why on earth I decided to enter the Dart 10k is completely beyond me. I tend to go on a frenzied mass entry to a load of events when I'm on a high from a good race or even sometimes, an especially good training session, without so much of a inkling of how I intend to actually complete it. Usually, these events are just about within my physical capabilities or I know I can put a bit of training in and get there. In fact, I would even be as bold to say that every single running race, triathlon, swim, sportive or time trial I have partaken in since beginning this healthy crusade in 2010 has not really concerned me very much. I've never really thought "Will I actually be able to get through this?". I have thought that I might be embarrassingly slow or come last sometimes, but I've always been confident that I'll finish. Until now.

A 10k swim is quite an undertaking, it's like a swimming version of running a marathon. I have been very much on again off again as to whether I am going or not, and did - unsuccessfully - try to sell back my entry not too long ago. My best training actually happened when I thought I had managed to sell back my entry and I happily went about my long swims without a care in the world.

It's now just under three weeks away and my swimming condition is, well, reasonably mediocre. Long swims  have been replaced with other important stuff like going out for curry or hoovering or cleaning the bathroom. I fully intended to properly do a long swim yesterday morning and arrived early at the lake with a bottle full of carbs, some gels and a positive mental attitude. Unfortunately after a very pleasant and comfortable 2.5km in perfect lake conditions, I was desperate for the loo and it wasn't the type where you could just warm yourself up in the wetsuit. After a hasty lake exit and toilet stop, I could not for the life of me get the wetsuit back on. I tried outside, I tried sitting down, I tried inside in the shower, but wet neoprene does not go on easy. I gave up, had a strop (which was listened to very patiently by the ever-cheery Nicky Yevko, sorry Nicky..) and decided to hit the gym instead.

Part of me is hoping that pure fitness base, fear of failure and strong-ish shoulders will get me through, but I have never really felt more under-prepared for any event ever before. Some things will be out of my control; maybe I'll get too cold from being in the water that long, maybe my arms will just give up after 3 hours of swimming or maybe I'll just lose the will to live after being face down in water for so long BUT I am going to turn up on the day, find some people that aren't at all worried about it and absorb their confidence. Worst case scenario is I get so far, get fished out by a boat and still enjoy a barbecue at the end!

Any tips appreciated.

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