It was back to Dorney Lake, near Eton, for another attempt at the 10k that I did last year (in 3h 32m). Having had the training camp in February and got myself a better wetsuit, I was hoping to get around in 3 hours. And what perfect conditions to attempt it in. Even if the sign below seemed to suggest that actually we shouldn't be swimming in the lake.
Here I am again, just about ready to go, although still with my sunglasses on at this stage. Unfortunately, having got fully into my wetsuit, we were told of a 15 minute delay to the start, so I took the top bit off again, far too hot to wait around in a wetsuit.
Finally it was into the water for a quick briefing, and then off. There were about 450 swimmers so the start was quite difficult as the course was quite narrow. But about 500m in, there was a bit more space and I was able to focus on swimming. And swimming. And swimming.
5 laps in total, 2km each, stopped for a couple of Veggie Jelly Teddy bears after the 3rd lap, and some water, whereupon Mr W told me that I was 8 minutes up on the splits that I needed to achieve to get around in 3 hours. He thought I'd misheard him as I didn't take the planned rest stop and restarted swimming again, with my mouthful of Jelly Teddy Bears getting mainly lost to the bottom of the lake :( I was keen to consolidate the gains and maybe get an even better time than 3 hours.
Swimming swimming swimming, and eventually I was on the last km, tried to swim as fast as I could, got to the end of the lake, and fell over as I tried to get out. Very ungainly climb up the bank to get to the gate where the timing chips were being registered. Not sure of the exact time yet, but Mr W had his stopwatch on (and I believe has measured the splits of each lap) and told me it was about 2:47. I wish he had shouted at me on the last bit and I might have got in at 2:45. We'll wait and see what the exact result is tonight.
Very dazed afterwards. Straight off for some food, but bizarrely was not hungry so had some soup and a bit of Mr W's veggie breakfast before stopping for strawberries from the farm shop. Still hasn't sunk in quite how fast I swum, and there's still plenty of potential for improvement as I certainly waasn't in the top 50 finishers. The almost perfect conditions certainly helped.
Day off work tomorrow to recover, although if the weather stays as nice, I'l definitely be heading to the outdoor pool to stretch my arms out. No races next weekend, instead a visiting blogger and a father's birthday, but there are two the weekend after - eek!