Sunday, 8 June 2014

Leaving the pool behind

Normally on a Friday afternoon I'd leave work and spend an hour and 20 minutes (or so) endlessly swimming up and down the pool at Virgin Active in Hamilton. This is great training on 2 counts... I need the swim fitness to get me through the first part of the triathlon and secondly, training the mind to deal with the monotony of endurance events is useful. It's often a great stress reliever forcing the brain to turn off from daily events and focus on simple (important) things like breathing!

Over the last 2 Fridays we've been lucky enough to have good weather and the Commonwealth Games' triathlon venue on our doorstep, so a number of the ATHelite team have been going to the loch in Strathclyde Park to open water swim. Now, if you've been reading this blog for some time you'll know that I have a love-hate relationship with open water swimming. I hate doing it and love it when it's all finished!

All this changed on Friday 30th May. I tentatively donned the wetsuit after finishing a running session in the gym with the kids and joined Lorna in the loch (she'd already done 1 lap of the course). I think the fact that I was late getting there gave me less time to worry about what I was about to do, so I jumped in and just swam. 

The water was cold but clear and I was soon focusing on trying to swim straight (not that easy when there are no pool markings!) by sighting on the large orange buoys we'd swim round. Instead of mindlessly ploughing up and down the same lane now the mind had to course-correct, avoid other swimmers, remember to breathe, check swimming technique and dodge the occasional swan. The time flew by and after 32 mins I'd covered 4 loops (approx 1800m) and it was time to get out for Fish and Chips (and ice cream) from Equi's. Yum!

Last Friday we got there on time and decided no stopping on the beach! We did 8 loops - approximately 3600m (or nearly full IM swim distance) and the time flew by. I loved it. No more Fridays in the pool for me for some thine I think!

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