They say that the best time to sign up for another event is whilst you’re riding the high of a new Personal Best. Which meant, after my successful swim at Henley and a new found love for open water swimming, I was searching for my next objective. After some careful consideration, I decided to enter the Swim Rutland 2km, I had a few weeks to train and I was excited about the prospect of swimming somewhere new.
Like all good things, practice makes perfect and to ensure I could beat the ‘cut off time’ of 90 minutes and actually swim 2km, I made the choice to crack right on with my training. My first ever 2km swim was eventful to say the least. The first 1000m felt wonderful, I was bursting with enthusiasm, my confidence was soaring and I felt excited to be completing the challenge I’d set myself. During the second 1000m I was battling the wind, the choppy water was bashing me around and I was finding it difficult to time my breaths without inhaling the lake. I was so focused on getting back to the start and completing my target I nearly swam headfirst into a group of ducks. I’d become so centred on my training that I’d completely disregarded the fact I was sharing the water with wildlife and not just other swimmers. I’m not an expert but I have a strong feeling that they weren’t going to let me interrupt their routine.
Once I’d completed my first 2km swim, my next challenge was to exit the water and remember how to walk, I was giving jelly legs a whole new meaning. At least I provided some light entertainment to other swimmers at the lake, it’s good to give back! A few weeks later it was the day of my first ever ‘Swim Rutland’ event and after a 4am start, I was feeling a whole mix of emotions. After a spell of glorious warm weather the temperature had dropped and after reading the weather reports we were expecting rain, which I understood would have a more calming effect on the water.
At 7am we boarded ‘Rutland Belle’ which was the boat that would take us to the start line across the lake ready for a 7.30am start. Once we left the boat, there was the chance to head into the water and ‘warm up’ before the event officially started, I attempted a brief swim, but mainly succeeded in getting completely caught up in weeds. What I liked about this event was a staggered start, it wasn’t just a mass of flailing arms and legs when told to begin. We were all wearing timing chips that were triggered when we crossed the start line. With this in mind I decided there was no rush to start and I held back and let most of the other swimmers start before me. I knew it would be busy as there was a 4km and 8km event in progress too and I wanted my own space, to find a rhythm and avoid holding anyone else up.
The route curved across the lake, taking us back to the where we had boarded the boat 2km away. Due to the change in weather, the water was choppier than I’d expected, at least I had already experienced similar conditions so I wasn’t too phased by it. It was fast becoming my most challenging swim, despite this I focused on remaining confident and put any thoughts about pace to the back of my mind. I swam a large percentage of the event solo, eventually when I was around 300m away from completion I’d caught up with other swimmers completing various distances. Fortunately the rain had calmed the water and I finally caught sight of the finish line, I made my grand finish by falling over whilst climbing out the water. Maybe it was my jelly legs again? Or had I drank too much Rutland Water? Who knows? As I crossed the finish line, the announcer called out my name, I was handed my medal and received a hug from a wonderful volunteer. I then proceeded on to my next challenge of the day and went in search for some breakfast.
Before changing and heading home, I stopped by the ‘Results Tent’ and collected the slip with my time which was 1hr 15 minutes. This was 5 minutes quicker than my first 2km swim and considering the tougher than expected conditions, I was on a real high. My next objective is to work on a faster mile and a more efficient swimming technique. Next year I will return to Rutland and try my hand at the 4km. Whilst I feel that I’ve accomplished so much already this year, I can’t wait to see where my new love of open water swimming takes me next…
Katie is a food, fitness, lifestyle & mental health blogger. You can find out more about her over at Cake Vs Scales.