|Favourite Aunty, The Mother and Me pre swim!|
Following a late text two days before the swim there was to be a location change from Victoria Docks to Millwall Docks, momentarily causing confusion and leading to a slightly earlier departure from home. My mum and aunty arrived ready to leave at 8:30am. We departed and headed to Greenwich from there we would catch the DLR to Crossharbour and walk the remainder of the route to the start point. Initially I was a little apprehensive about the venue change but soon enough I realised it was located where I had my first marketing job out of university! Bizarre coincidence, the dock we would be swimming around was the one I used to walk around at a lunchtime for a bit of exercise - back in the days when a 30-40 minute walk felt like sufficient exercise for me! My how things have changed!
We went to the changing area and lathered up in baby oil, this much to my delight ensured I would slip easily into my brand new wetsuit (never before worm) but a proper swimming wetsuit rather than my previous multi purpose one. We would soon see if this made a difference.
As seems to be the way this year with my events I had not done much training, I had been training hard but had not swam at all since around the middle of July, whoopsie, so was a little concerned as to my swimming strength.
I opted to swim mostly in breast stroke, two reasons. Firstly, I am much better at breast stroke conserving more energy. Secondly, I had not practised my crawl so I knew my breathing would be a problem (I tried for some of the event and I was puffed out as suspected!). Our support crew were waiting on the side of the docks opposite the start line. we went into the water to acclimatise before the swim started. Then a bouncy women came along to lead us through a warm up back in the waiting are as we all jumped around with our bright pink hats looking like a bunch of condoms bobbing about. I managed to locate Jill, another friend who was swimming before the start. Soon enough our wave had begun, this the 10:30am wave was the largest group of the day so they filtered us over the start line in smaller sub groups. I hovered with my mum until the last group and we entered the water, wished each other well and set about our own races. My aunty had gone earlier and I had no doubt would fly round the course - experienced triathlete that she is.
Not long and I felt I was struggling, I started into a minor panic attack and couldn't get my breathing right. I spotted my hubby and called out, he told me to slow down which I dutifully did. Going at a steadier pace and knowing hubby was following me on the dockside alleviated my nerves and I settled into the swim. At the halfway point I gave him a little wave and asked for the time... hmmm... could this be right, I was far quicker than last year at this point. I realised I had found it so tough to start with as I had powered off faster than usual and was closer to my pool swimming pace. Silly Liz!
Now I was more than happy, I knew I would be getting a PB, the sun was shining, the support was out and although I lost sight of hubby near the finish momentarily I could hear the familiar voices of the Turner boys shouting their encouragement in their distinctive Hull lilt. As I crossed through the finishing Bouys I saw Jill exiting the water (very please for her as she shaved plenty of time off last year and got a new PB).
Out of the water, being assisted up the ramp I was shffling along to cross the point for my chip time to register, they called at me to slow down at which point I stopped dead, skidded and did an almost cartoon fall flying up in the air and landing flat on the back and bumping my head.... ouchy! Thanks goodness for the runner mat. Before I was even down I was surrounded by the support crew to ensure I was okay and to take a minute before getting up. My concern, not my pounding head, but to check if my chip had registered. they assured me it had so I lay back for another second or two.... then asked the uncomfortable looking photographers if they caught that putting them back at ease and I was assured he had got my action dive!
I departed the exit area to find my favourite aunty waiting for me and a short while later my mum came over the finish line too. A great swim and family event, 3 shiny new medals, then it was time to head home and refuel on the chilli - in true Blue Peter style - I had made earlier.