According to my swimming log I have now swum 89km since I signed up for the Henley Mile in April, and I have enjoyed almost every one of them. (Having discovered the hard way that wine is not the swimmers friend I have cut out the booze on pre-swim nights!) Indoor pool, lido and lake have all been fun places to be and I have found friendly people everywhere. In the process I have developed some abdominal muscles and the beginnings of a waist, and toned the bingo wings a little. I can even walk to work faster than I used to, so I guess heart and lungs are improved too.
On Sunday I hit the road at 7.30 to swim off post Brexit sorrows at Shepperton Lake. Despite an average speed of 4mph on my short stretch of the M25 I was in the water by 9 and swam 2 x the 750m loop in my wetsuit, jumped out, had a snack and a drink, shed the trusty neoprene and jumped back in to repeat the process in my swimsuit.
Although I am becoming accustomed to my Orca wetsuit, and actually managed to get into it without the assistance of a member of the audience today, I much prefer swimming without it. My arms move better, and I love the feeling of the water burbling past my body. The water was a little under 20 degrees and the sun came out now and again which was a bonus. I have found a rhythm I can keep up, got a kind of sighting routine going and can even switch breathing sides when Ironman hurtles past leaving me floundering in his wake! Once I had done my target distance, there was still 30 minutes before the whistle went, so I bimbled around the shorter 400m loop too for good measure.
I am really looking forward to Henley now, swimming “suit” in the morning and “skin” in the afternoon. Looking at last years times I am likely to come in dead last, round about sunset, and am hoping for a wooden spoon to take home and frame!
I am probably tempting fate posting such a positive upbeat message. I just heard from a friend who got a puncture early in the morning on her way to the Classic, missed the start and had to walk home in her wetsuit, which must have been heartbreaking for her and amusing for any passers by. But as long as my luck holds, I should be there on the 10th. Bimbling along at the back with a smile on my face.