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Rik's Triathlon Blog

Nobody Told Me About The Weeds!

rikby rikSep 3rd 2010
I did it.. I went and did an open swim in a wet suit for the first time. It was a warm and sunny day so I had to go for it. I thought I had arrived early only to discover that all the wet suits had been hired out. After a short wait, a size medium-long turned up so I nabbed it. Now I've been concerned with getting out of a wet suit (for transition) rather than putting one on but I couldn't get in the thing. After wandering around in circles pulling the zip up at the back with the pull string for 10 minutes I managed to squeeze into it. Then on with the accessories: nose clip, ear plugs, swimming cap, goggles... check.

The lake had been mapped out with a 400m circuit, so twice around there would cover my distance. First of all the water wasn't cold as I was expecting and I reckon the wetsuit was helping here. So I set off.. a few minutes later I looked up to find I had swam 100m in the wrong direction and I was in the middle of the circuit! I constantly swam off course the whole way round adding considerably to the 400m loop. It's just very difficult to have any sense of direction without following lines on the bottom of a pool.. admittedly I'd left out my contact lenses and my goggles were steaming up but still I think this is going to be an issue for the event.

I've no idea how deep the lake is but the weeds were constantly round my armpits, in my face and attacking my feet. Perhaps this is because I swam off course but it was really irritating. I stood up after the first lap looking like I was wearing a ghilli suit. Undeterred I set off for another lap.

Having tried swimming the distance, without pausing at each end of a pool, I'm now resigned to occasionally resorting to breast stroke. Fortunately, I can manage a good deal more front crawl than I thought so this isn't too bad given my lack of training. After battling round the second lap my shoulder was starting to go again so I stopped, happy that I had completed over 750m.

Now I'm curious as to the attributes of Tatton Lake. Have they drawn lines on the bottom?. I guess I'll find out in a couple of weeks... hopefully wearing a wet suit that fits.
Tags: swimming
boomclarenby member: boomclaren, Sep 3rd 2010 13:36
good day to you sir...good effort with the first open water swim, took me a long time to head out into the unknown, i think it was almost a year after starting triathlon that i had the nerve to head into open water for practice, and that was only after signing up for an open water race.
like you i had loads of trouble with the direction i was heading, i'm not sure if you've heard of "sighting", this is when you look up just before or after a stroke to check you're heading in a straight line, when i started i tended to look up every 4/5 strokes (made me slower but at least i was heading the right way). That may help you on race day. another thing that'll definitely help (other than your contacts that is) is that there'll be lots of other people swimming around you, this means you can often find a pair of feet kicking away in front of you which works wonders.

anyway, good luck and enjoy it, i hope i may have helped a bit
rikby blog author: rik, Sep 4th 2010 12:51
Hi.. thanks for the advice, I'll certainly give it a go. I think you're right - better to swim slower in the right direction than fast in the wrong direction. I don't want to do any more than 750m :-)
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