So last weekend was kind of intense. My kind of intense: a 1 mile open-water swim on Saturday followed by a 10km run in the baking sun on Sunday! Talk about an active weekend! So many endorphins I’m still buzzing about it a week on. Both of the events were part of the brilliant Great Swim and Great Run series, and, as all their events are, these were great fun, brilliantly organised and full of buzz and energy.
I did Suunto Great London Swim by myself — Ed was working and I couldn’t convince any of my other friends to spend their Saturday morning swimming in the Thames (Lord knows why, eh?). Though itching to get back in the water after the epic Great SwimRun event a few weeks back, I was nervous, kind of for the fact I was doing it alone, kind of for the fact that I haven’t swam as far as a mile straight for a serious while. (SwimRun was about 1.2 miles swimming in total but broken up in to three different phases…).
As soon as I’d fuelled up on oats, got there (Royal Victoria Docks), got into my wetsuit, and got my hair up into my swim cap, I was feeling a lot more prepared. There were loads of people roaming around the race village in their wetsuits, all taking on different distances over the course of the morning — from half a mile up to a mind-boggling 10km!!? HOW can anyone swim 10km in one go!? Putting that into perspective, a mile seemed somewhat manageable and soon enough me and my wave were in the water!
I can confidently say with my hand on my heart that I absolutely loved every minute of it. At around 18.5 degrees, the water was much warmer than at Windermere and it just felt so great to be in the water, doing a nice and steady but leisurely breaststroke, planes taking off overhead from nearby City airport. I loved it! It didn’t feel like a race, or at least, not to me. I’m really not one for racing at the best of times but especially not in the water where I barely get chance to train.
I was pretty satisfied with my finish time of 40 minutes 14 seconds, and got out of the water with arms like jelly but the biggest grin ever, before going on to take a million selfies to document the moment and faceplate the piping hot noodles they were giving out for free!
I hung about in the race village for an hour or so after picking up my medal, soaking up the amazing buzz and admiring all the people, young and old, and of all walks of life, taking on and conquering their own personal challenges. Course, I love running but there’s something about swimming that makes me feel a little more superhero…! That is, ‘till I get home and have to sleep for a good 3 hours because JEEZ, it takes it seriously out of you.
The next challenge then? 2 miles. If I actually commit to training (and I promise I will, because I just invested in my very own wetsuit!) I reckon I can get to it ready for this time next year, maybe even knock some time off too. (I know breaststroke isn’t the fastest, but I can’t do crawl so what will be, will be!) Committing to it here then: Suunto London Swim 2-mile, I’m coming for you!
So that was Saturday! Sunday and the sunny Great Newham Run 10km will be in the next post!
— photography courtesy of Great Swim