I said in my last post that the swim was the thing that was really worrying me. The estimated time at the pace I was doing was 2.01, when I only had 2.15 to swim, change, and be out riding. Also that I was concerned I would fade, and be even slower over the last mile. I said I was going to try to get a 2 hour swim session in on Friday evening.
This I did. I was, as ever, a bit late so I didn’t get swimming till eight minutes past eight. This was a concern as I thought I would need at least 1.53, possibly the full two hours. Not drinking has advantages though. Being a Friday night when I got into the pool it was empty! Presumably everyone else was busy drinking/ having a life. This meant I could put my head down and swim without having to constantly check that I wasn’t about to punch someone in the face (they are not understanding about it. Me, me, me!)
I used my new-fangled ring-watch-lap-counter jobby to accurately count the lengths. At 40 lengths (a smidge over 1.2 miles, or half distance) it was only 9 o’clock! Go me! I set to with a will, found a decent rhythm and carried on. I was worried that I would tire and run out of time before I’d done the second half. Cracked on and did the full 2.1 miles in 1.43!
That really pleased me. I had to go through the watch length by length to make sure I’d not skipped any, but no, all in order. Knocked 18 minutes off my estimated slow swim time! Super. It’s not an outdoor swim, but at least I know I can go the distance and be well within time.
Today (Sunday) I had my first marathon race. It was the Lakeland Trails marathon. As the name suggests, it was in the Lakes. An area not renowned for it’s flat bits. Racing around Coniston Lake. Off road. On tracks that mountain goats would shun. And over grass and bog. And fording a thigh high stream because the bridge was having work done on it. That added weight to already tired feet and helped towards the popped blister count, I’m sure. And it was baking hot. And I lost two of my energy gels.
Everything less than ideal for a first marathon. Although it was a Lakeland Trails marathon (the first two words being pretty hefty clues to most of the above) the blurb online showed it as being a bit hilly. More vaguely hilly. Possibly gently undulating.
It was pure painful hill climbing and treacherous headlong descents. By about 7 K (another thing, the signs were all in K’s, I only work in miles, might as well have put the distance in bananas. I had no idea how far I’d done, or even how many K’s in a marathon!) my legs were so sore and tired that I was doubting I could even finish. I gritted my teeth and soldiered on, shuffling over the finish line in 4.09. That’s how bad it was! I was looking for a ‘comfortable’ time of 3.30! Killer.
Because it was so damned hot I couldn’t wear a hat, so now I’m well sunburnt. The photo’s don’t really show the contrast as well as it appears to the eye (and I look fat! Grrr!) But here is why I am sat here with my neck burning.
Ooh, I can put pictures side by side, didn’t know I could do that. Cool.
Well, it’s been a hell of a day off! Just get a decent ride in then taper my training so I’m fresh for the big one in three weeks. *gulp*
Going to bed to fry in my own skin.