River Arun 3.8k Swim

The last few swimmers finishing

A withdrawal from a club member saw me take a late place in the River Arun Swim this morning. It’s an event that I’ve thought about entering before but because it is run on a Saturday I’ve not had the chance before.

There were plenty of club members swimming and after a little Sat Nav trouble in finding the start we made it in time to register. It’s a 3.8k river swim as the event name suggests that is also tidal, the organiser’s saying that it is the second fastest running tidal river in the UK. A guaranteed PB they claim!

The registration was at the finish whereupon we were bussed up the river to the start point in two batches. It was relatively sunny but very windy at the start and as part of the first convoy of buses we were waiting for quite a while for the second group to arrive. Plenty of time to get the wetsuit on and boy was it needed to try and stay warm in the wind. Our clothing bags were taken in minibuses back to the finish area.

We were lead single file down a narrow path to the start point in the Arun – some distance, it felt like we were off on a nature trail rather than going to a swim.

The start was at slack water and fortunately we weren’t held too long in the water before the start and we were off. I had got to the front line of the start as usual and was swum over by a few swimmers but not too many and there were only a couple of elbows and kicks. It settled down soon enough and I found a decent rhythm. Being a point to point swim all we had to do was keep following the river but we were supposed to keep to the right to allow the kayakers free reign to the left. I tried to keep to the middle as much as possible to make the most of the downstream current and managed it for the majority I think.

After it settled down I found myself in a group of around 8-10 and spent some time following feet and some time on the front focussing on keeping a rhythm. I hate salt water swimming and as normal got several unpleasant mouthfuls of salty water. Yugh.

It’s not easy to write a report of a swim – I just kept swimming and did, as the race wore on, feel the effects of the tide. The last 400 metres felt particularly quick. I was glad that one of the club members had told me that the second bridge came with 400 to go and I tried to push on in the final section.

The current helped but I had felt a few early twinges of cramp during the race so didn’t push it really hard but was still glad to see the RNLI boathouse ramp coming into view. The finish line was 10m up the ramp so with a little help from the marshall got out and ran up to the finish.

My Garmin recorded 56:45 which I had started when we had been set off and stopped crossing the chip line but when I printed out the chip time it was a decent time longer at 57:15 not sure why there was a half minute difference but either way it was the PB they promised I would get and I am pleased with that. My quickest 3.8k still stood from The Outlaw Triathlon, my first ever triathlon in 2010 at 1:06:06 and although this was obviously tide assisted I know my swimming has been improving.

Now all I need to do is get quick enough to achieve the only real swimming goal I have ever had and swim a sub hour triathlon swim. This year though and probably next as well I’d settle for a sub 30 minute 1.9k!

I’m off to Bermuda next week to see my Dad so will hopefully get some rather more pleasant sea swimming in next week and a few runs as well maybe, but before that I’m marshalling again in the New Forest for the Forestman Iron Distance race. It’s one of the races I’ve got on my to to list. The weather forecast suggests I might get quite wet early in the morning!

I’ve also looked at some comparisons between my HR and power files from the two middle distance triathlons I’ve done which I’ll post up soon as well as the results from the VO2 max testing I’ve been involved in as part as a study. Hopefully it will give me some useful information about both HR and where to best focus my future run training and my levels of fat and CHO oxidisation during races.

 

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