Missing in action

I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve failed to post. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get back on course this weekend, but I’m too tired to post much tonight.

This evening, Stuart and I went to a SUTRI swimming session. It was a 750m time trial. I realised when I got there that I’ve never timed myself over this distance, and I’m not sure I’ve ever swum 750m non-stop in a pool before (I’ve swum further than that in a lake or the sea, but that’s easier as I’ve always had a wetsuit on!)

My PB for 400m is 9:30, which is what Coach Peter timed it as back in April. (We did 400m twice that evening, and I managed 9:30 and 9:32, despite it being the day after Brighton Marathon). I used this as the basis of estimating my time for 750m. I assumed that I should be able to do 750m in just under 19 minutes, which would allow for my fatigue by the end of the session.

We did 200m as a warm up, but I realised that some of the slightly slower people who I’ve seen on previous Friday nights were not at training this evening – eek!

Stuart set off in the first wave of swimmers. The coach, Ollie, said that he expected everyone to finish in about 12 minutes. There are lots of really fit young guys, so even though Stu is a strong swimmer, he was one of the slowest people in his wave. I think he finished in about 11:30. Aaarrggh! It did not bode well for me.

The swimmers who had just finished were chatting to each other by the side of the pool. I could see Stu chatting to Kat, so I went over to them. Kat commented that I looked nervous and I said that I was and that I hoped I would finish before the session was scheduled to finish (9pm).

Everyone lined up, ready to dive in… but there was not way that I was going to subject myself to that (I’ve not dived in since last year), so I got into the water. I decided that I would just have to do the best I could and not stop. After I got in the water, I started my Garmin, so that I would not have to fiddle with it when we were told to start, so the time I recorded isn’t exactly right.

As usual, I set off far too quickly. I knew it was a pace that I could not maintain and I struggled to control my breathing, but I knew I had to otherwise I wouldn’t complete the 30 lengths.

After about 8 lengths, I managed to get into some sort of rhythm, but my breathing was still very ragged. I tried to calm down and think about the advice that Huw would give to me. I knew that he would tell me not to try to inhale as much, and not to move my head as much, so I tried to act on that.

Finally, I knew I only had 4 lengths left to swim. I could hear Kat shouting encouragement, but I tried not to speed up too much as I didn’t have enough energy left. (Last night I did a tough track session with Huw, so I was feeling tired).

When I got to the final 25m, I gave it everything I had left – 28s. My overall time: 16:48 on my Garmin (so a bit faster than that).

Photo of my Garmin data - 750m time trial

It was definitely better than I expected, but not nearly as fast as anyone else. I need to make sure that I swim more often as it is still definitely my weakest discipline 🙁 My average pace was 2:14/100m, which is significantly better than the vast majority of my swims, but it’s not good enough. I kept reminding myself that I have done a half iron swim in challenging conditions, but I felt incredibly self-conscious and wished that I didn’t have as many people watching me. Now that things are getting back on track at work, I’ll aim to go to SUTRI swimming sessions on Tuesdays after spinning. That will mean that I swim with STC on Mondays, SUTRI on Tuesdays and SUTRI on Fridays. I will also swim with STC on alternate Saturdays… but I might postpone that until after I’ve got a 5k PB at parkrun!

What I’ve been reading this week:

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