Clevedon Marine Lake Aquathlon 2010

The day dawned sunny and serene, despite an iffy forecast, and all seemed well with the world. As Ed and I drove down to Clevedon, a breeze got up and a bank of broken grey cloud rolled in - perhaps it was to be more typically British summer after all! No matter - I'd be unaffected in the water and Ed would be glad of a cooler run. I'd originally signed up for the full aquathlon, but a suspect achilles tendon meant I was bottling out of the run to save myself for Llandudno a week later. Ed kindly agreed to run the 6k, leaving me racing for the first time ever as just a swimmer.

Organisation was good and the atmosphere relaxed and low key - by the time the modest number of entrants had gathered by marine lake, nicely sheltered from the breeze, it was evident that only myself and a handful of others were opting for wetsuits - it was warm enough in there for most swimmers to just go in a swimsuit or tri suit. Marine lake is shallow - you can stand up in much of it - and the heatwave have cooked the water to a nice temperature. I'm told Llandudno will be monster cold, by way of contrast :(

Anyhow, at the time of writing, that cold water is a week away, and today's race was warm and everything seemed to go easily. In the water I warmed up for a few minutes (that was all we had) and loosened my suit by letting more water in, then we were callled into line with a whistle and sent on ouor way with a gun and a wave of the England flag. Great stuff! The starter, a swim referee, reminded me of the officials from Tooting Bec - old school and extremely cool. The mad dash for the first buoy saw me out on the edge, and as I took the bend wide I saw faster swimmers pulling away. There were only ten in my "wave" so I was either going to stick with the pack or have a solitary swim. I'm no great shakes in the water, so it was the latter. I turned my arms over in a pretty good rhythm, didn't get spooked when my hands scraped the rocky bottom, and managed to sight all the buoys ok on the well designed course. All in all I reckon I swam a pretty god line. One swimmer from the next wave came up on the inside and I tried to stay with her but to no avail - I seem to have only one speed in the water and that's how it stays, no matter how I change my stroke or how much effort I put in! As lap 2 came to an end I fixed my line on the pink exit buoy and felt myself cliding along at a god pace (just not as good as all those better swimmers ahead of me, obviously).

Climbing out, I was wobbly but managed a short-stride jog along the paving stones to the waiting Ed - I passed on the wrist band and he was off up the steps on his two lap journey to Clevedon Pier. I wrestled out of my suit - practising for next week - and found it easier on the legs since I cut the cuffs off but pretty hard on the arms - has it shrunk? Feels like it. Maybe if I use it more it will loosen up. Ed ran hard - he races with all he's got, so we make a good team!

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