Sunday, November 11, 2012

Phase 1 - Swim Long Swim Steady!!



24 Miles in a 50 metre Olympic pool sounds a long haul, 21 miles will get you over to France from dear old blighty so you can imagine what the swim phase of Deca was like? Or can you? 760 lengths is hard to prepare for mentally but to be honest it went like a dream!

Having trained in Cambridge outdoor Lido and Abbeycroft Leisure Centre I simply practiced length after length in a wet suit. Boring but necessary!! On the plus side the water temperature in Bury was 29/30 degrees, in Monterrey outdoor pool it was 24-26 degrees so I was confident I wouldn’t overheat. The water temperature was perfect!! I was happy………………..

As we entered the water I had practiced and practiced the first 2 hours, I had focused on a smooth steady stroke rhythm in training. After a few lengths I realised that my pace was slightly quicker than the other athletes so my confidence grew quickly. Breaks for food and drink were kept short and sharp. As the blazing sun rose in the Monterrey sky it was blinding, I had to close my eyes as I breathed and open them to look at the bottom of the pool. I focused on the central yellow line of the lane. I was feeling good, strong and confident, my training and preparation had been spot on.

As day turned to night my ritual of stopping every 30 minutes to feed changed to counting 10 lengths as I struggled to concentrate, it worked perfectly, fatigue in the shoulders was making it difficult to lift my arms out of the water and I had strayed into the lane ropes a couple of times!!

 I had planned on 18 hours but as I slowed I exited the water in 19 hours 37 minutes, we had got it right!! I had created an early gap so we decided to sleep for a couple of hours before going to work on the bike! I had been swimming since 8am and it was now 3.37am the following day! A top tip on the swim received from the race director was to smother your hands and feet in sudocrem to prevent them from softening too much and the skin splitting, causing problems on the bike. Something I neglected on the swim was applying sun screen to my face, as a result I was quite badly burnt on my left cheek and ear. Lesson learnt!!

Phase 1 complete now it was time for the bike! The majority of my training was focused around the bike so let’s go to war! I simply thrive on being in the saddle, it brings me to life!!! Me and Pete made a plan now it was time to put it into place…………………..

Phase 2 tomorrow! How I suffered on the bike. It was relentless………….1800 laps in searing heat!!

The warm up was over so now it was down to business……………………


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