It's a baldy bald life!

By DrK

Shaky Armed Day

It's my 300th blip today and I saved it for a special one. I cheated a bit as I will post yesterday's blip later.

I've done a few tough challenges in my time and today was simply the next chapter, a 10km swim. That's 400 lengths of the local swimming baths without touching the sides. My goal was simply to complete it but try to get as close to 3hr 30min as possible. It was a usual breakfast, albeit in slightly larger quantities than normal and a little beetroot juice to give me super powers.

The train journey was painless but we arrived at Piccadilly to discover no trams were running. I had a hairy canary, expleting in the direction on the nice metro lady who told me i needed to get a bus. Luckily, the oven like bus arrived almost immediately. At least we were moving towards Salford at acceptable speed. Rosemary was bursting for the toilet rather dramatically. We arrived with 30 mins to spare but had to queue for the loo and then registration too.

There were 3 events, a 1500m, a 3.8km and my 10km. Rosemary was in the 1500m as that gave her just enough time to get ready for my 1st feed. About 75 people lined up on the start line, where I bumped into Claire from Man Tri who was looking very cheery. I squawked at R to move nearer the front as she was progressing far too far too politely through a few people at the back on the field.

The hooter went and the throngs thronged down towards the first buoy way more quickly than me. I was missing thrashing in the aforementioned throng as it's something i really enjoy. However, a fast start would only end in disaster over such a distance. I had clean water, but then a minor disaster struck. Tiffany's "I think we're alone now" entered my head....would this be with me for the totality of my journey? Fortunately, my goggles started to leak a little, distracting me enough from this track from my teenage years.... I preferred Eric B an Rakim back then but their tracks are far less infectious or likely to get stuck in your head. "I'm a microphone doctor....scratch, scratch..wah wah" simply doesn't cut the mustard.

At 4km R was holding out a gel and my water bottle for my feed....."where's my bar" I screamed, convinced that I had asked for solid fuel at this stage of the proceedings. She went to get my bar, but I demanded that she just gave me the gel. "Woops" I thought, reaching the next buoy. I was wanting solid food a 6km but my brain had fooled me. A mental note was placed in the membrane, reminding me to say sorry on the next lap.

The irony was that when I eventually did get my bar, it was too chewy and difficult to eat when swimming. Being a coach, I know to practice such things in advance, but the logistics of doing so were too awkward. Just after the 6km mark, I cheered up as I had now swam further that I've ever done before. "Only an Ironman distance swim to go" I thought and immediately my arms turned to jelly.

At the next feed, Rosemary offered my a bit of iced n spiced bun which I gratefully took. That with some coconut water was just what my tummy needed. The dock was now quite busy with the local's coming out for a dip.... Jumping in from the sidewalls. Fortunately, none came near me. I had 28 minutes to do the final lap n a bit to go under 4 hours. Easily attainable, I thought but I still pushed as hard as I could... It was now hurting, my lower back and shoulders were sore but I didn't ease up until I touched the final wall and slumped over the dock edge feeling totally spent.

I had gone slower than planned but so had the winner....maybe too much wiggling or even a slightly long lap. 3 hours 57 mins of swimming. Shortly afterwards, the remaining swimmers were stopped, as the locals were acting like mad dogs in the hot sun, despite the marshals trying to control them. These are not ordinary marshals either. They are trained in security and have the look way about them of hardened war veterans Sadly, not enough to calm Salford teenagers.

That all made me the last finisher, but it was a small field with a few top swimmers in it and others had pulled out at various distances. I was pleased though as I had done my best in something most people wouldn't even dream of doing. Rosemary was an amazing supporter/assistant and done a wonderful job too. She lost a few brownie points for laughing at my single sunburnt cheek and a red line on my forehead, the gap between my swimming hat and goggles.

Best lesson of the day is that I found coconut water is the best sports drink I've ever had, even when it's been heated thoroughly by the sun, on the hottest day I can remember in years.

Sign in or get an account to comment.