Race report here.
I was looking forward to this race as the twice before that I’ve raced it I’ve had a smile on my face throughout. The same this time. I guess it being local helps as it just feels to familiar that most of my nerves go. After last years win despite not focussing on the race I’d entered this years with it as a definite A race and wanting to nail it. Up until six weeks a go my preps were going well on all fronts but then I badly sprained my ankle doing a recce of the Crib Goch decent for an attempt on the Welsh 3000s I’ll be doing in two weeks.
As in previous years we had friend who are racing staying over with us. I think this helps me with any pre race nerves. We got racked first thing on Saturday, brief swim and then home. It meant we spent the whole afternoon chilling out and chatting before an early dinner. Mel and I shared a bottle of wine. Thats perhaps I little more than ideal but I’ve come to the conclusion a relaxing drink the night before a race isn’t really a bad thing.
I slept like a log. Can’t remember the last time I slept straight through to my alarm the night before the race. A healthy appetite was there to welcome me when I woke. Scrambled egg, some fried jacket spud and two slices of toast were washed down with two cups of coffee.
We got to the transition early, bike OK so I just sat and relaxed. I managed to sit with my eyes closed and remove all thoughts from my mind. It worked well and I felt very calm as I headed for the race start.
I am very lucky with my swim training that I can swim four mornings a week with the Taunton Deane Swimming club squad. This is a very good club who just got third in the national league. It means I get to train with very talented teenagers as well as have an excellent coach poolside. Graham is a fantastic coach. Probably the best I’ve been coached by with his own particular approach. My swimming is the best it has ever been post University and it’s largely due to his sessions. The big problem I have with my swimming is the periods away from squad. I find as I get consistency in my swimming it improves vastly but with our camps my swimming gets knocked back greatly as I am swimming open water and that just doesn’t cut it. For example in April I was hitting close to 5 minutes and occasionally under for 400s and could rep off 5:30. Just before this race having missed three weeks of squad due to camp I was having to do 350s when my lane was doing 400s off 5:45.
Despite all this my swimming is consistently good it’s just if I could time my races to coincide with a 4-6 week block of squad training I’d be on fire. Unfortunately for Wales I will come off the back of the squads summer break.
The swim start was the usual calm and I was able to just start steady without any initial sprint. The fact I thought it was Mel on my toes meant I kept it all very steady without any surging to try and drop people. I had a comfortably hard swim for 27:32 which is 1:27s per 100. Last year I swam 1:17s. I must say that last years time was faster than my swimming would suggest and it was almost certainly a short course. This time the first buoy had definitely been moved left making the course longer. The reason I’m sure of this is that a straight line to it took us right near the edge of the reservoir and in to shallow water. Based on how I swam it this time I would guess that the course was pretty accurate.