Dart 10k - job done!

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Mike A
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Dart 10k - job done!

Postby Mike A » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:08 pm

So last Sunday I did my first 10k event.

This was a downstream river swim with a strong tidal assistance, reckoned to be the equivalent of an 8k or 9k swim, depending on conditions. In the event, conditions were pretty much perfect, with heavy rain the day before making for a fast river current, and following winds meaning very little in the way of chop. The water temp was reckoned to be 18.5 degrees (though I suspect it was actually quite a bit colder - more like 17 perhaps?).

On the downside, the rainfall the day before meant the water was very murky, with a lot of debris in places (leaves and small branches) - something I'm not used to. You have to kind of swim over it, not through it - and not get freaked out by slimy stuff brushing against your hands! I knew the rainfall also meant a good chance of less-than-sanitary water, but I tried to put that from my mind.

There were 662 swimmers, and though we had a rolling start (chip timed), and were split into waves, there were still enough of us for plenty of collisions as we were marshalled about on the river, often in and out of fairly narrow channels. Needless to say I got dunked a few times, once nearly choking, as I was just going for a breath at the time!

I took it pretty steady, it being my first 10k. Even so, the first feeding station (around 3.5k) seemed to come up in no time. I pulled up to get a little drink and take an energy gel (which I'd shoved up my wetsuit leg). Hanging off the feeding raft, it soon became apparent how fast the flow was. Within probably a minute I was off again.

Not long after the stop, about an hour into the swim, I started feeling a bit uncomfortable. Not joints and muscles uncomfortable; bladder-uncomfortable! I must have mis-timed my hydration plan - I thought I'd emptied my system thoroughly before the start, but apparently not. It's an open secret that outdoor swimmers relieve themselves into their wetsuits, but I found myself quite unable to do so - I even stopped swimming on a couple of occasions to try and relax the stomach muscles etc. - but whether it was the cold, or the tightness of the suit, I don't know - I just couldn't manage to do it!

Thus the hardest part of the swim for me was being increasingly uncomfortable in the abdomen for the last hour and a bit. When I eventually reached the second feeding station at 7.5k I barely considered stopping, realising I could probably finish in around 40 minutes (and I certainly wasn't going to take on any more fluids!). I pushed on, and when, rounding a bend in the river, our destination village finally came into sight, I found renewed strength in my arms.

I hit the finish on 2 hours 25 minutes - about 20 minutes quicker than I'd anticipated. But at this point I wasn't really bothered about timings - I just wanted to find the nearest toilet! It turned out to be a good few hundred metres up the landing beach. Luckily my son was there to direct me.

Perhaps it was my eagerness to get the wetsuit off, or maybe it was my leaky old wetsuit, or perhaps the water was a little colder than advertised - but I managed to get mildly hypothermic. My wife persuaded me - despite protestations - into the warm-up tent, where I sat in dryrobe and blankets and gradually recovered some colour. After about 20 minutes the shivering stopped. There were certainly far worse cases than me in there - but let's just say I'll never make a channel-rules swimmer.

Overall, I was very pleased with the achievement of completing 10k - even though I'd done tougher swims in training (sea conditions!), and it was probably only equivalent to about 7k, certainly based on my usual pace. I only wish I'd been able to enjoy the last hour or so a bit more. They bill the event as "a journey, not a race" - but I was pleased to find myself a reasonably respectable 222 out of 662. The fastest time was 1 hour 48 minutes, with 23 swimmers going sub-2-hours - which gives you an idea of the tidal pull!

There was to be a rather nasty sequel to my adventure, as some 30 hours after leaving the water, having been convinced I was in the clear, I started feeling distinctly ill. Yep, as predicted, all that rain had washed the nasty bugs into the river, and the couple of mouthfuls I'd swallowed along the way were enough to give me a violent GI sickness, of which I'll spare you the gory details, but it certainly knocked me out for a good day or two. It turns out I was far from alone.

Would I do it again? I don't think so. I'm glad of the experience, but the sickness really puts me off attempting another long river swim. Also, it's hard to find time/venues to put in long enough sessions for this kind of distance. So next year I'll be looking for a different challenge, hopefully breaking new ground for me, but maybe with something a bit nearer the 5k mark. But then, this time last year, I thought I wasn't ready for a 10k.

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Relieved to be finished!
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woody
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby woody » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:45 am

Well done Mike I did Coniston the same day but a lot slower than your swim
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby cottmiler » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:02 am

Mike, thanks for writing about your epic swim.

Woody, I was going to ask how you were getting on with Emma's Active Blue Squad. I think I know the answer now!
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby woody » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:23 am

HiCot
Yes has been really good the weekly squad
And two lots of homework. Basically we rotate sessions and homework technique, CSS,endurance with a retest of our CSS speed every so often.
I had no intention of going into open water but somehow ended up buying a wetsuit. I have only done a few organised events Great North 2 mile 2015 , Epic Derwentwater2015, Great North 5k this year and last week ChillSwim End to End 5.25 mile in 3hrs 40m .
Meeting other swimmers at squad has been great we have met up and swum in the lakes as leisure swims. Plus Facebook has so many local swim groups that say " hey who fancies joining me at Pickmere for a swim ?etc.
I have also strayed whilst still a swimsmooth believer in the three planks of technique , CSS , endurance. Being an over glider the analytical side wanted to compare others so I had some "competitor" coaching. This would have confused my swimming a couple of years ago but as I have got more comfortable in the water I have been able to amend my stroke to different styles.
I came to swimming late at 57 and any coaching has been done by much younger people who got their confidence and ability to hold a body position when they were very young. They had young minds and got the feel for the water much easier than an adult.Hence what seems easy to them was a struggle for me for so long and even if they think they can understand learning to swim at an older age they can't really know.
It's like my strength is figures throw me a 400 time and a 200 time and I'll give you your CSS. Basic arithmetic to me cos I've spent a life fascinated by manipulating numbers like they have spent their lives fascinated by achieving efficient swimming.
But now I can swim with relative ease after 6 yrs of working at it . Most of the good swimmers I meet started at 6 or 7 so before they were teenagers they had been swimming as long as I have been . So in swimming age I'm just hit double figures !
Everything is won or lost inside your own head.

The best time to learn to swim was a long time ago the second best time is today

cottmiler
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby cottmiler » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:42 am

Woody said

I came to swimming late at 57 and any coaching has been done by much younger people who got their confidence and ability to hold a body position when they were very young. They had young minds and got the feel for the water much easier than an adult.Hence what seems easy to them was a struggle for me for so long and even if they think they can understand learning to swim at an older age they can't really know.


How true are these words!

Swimsmooth is best for young people who can already swim and want to do triathlon and open water.
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smootharnie
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby smootharnie » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:20 am

Wow Mike, quite an adventure. You have come a very long way, from your first single 50 to 10K!
It all sounds horrible to me, but when the challenge is set, there is no escaping. I dont know if you are never going to do it again.
When all the bad experinces are forgotten in year or so, you might consider to a 10 k or 15K again?
You are a long distance guy now ;)
Any way, great achievement. You got this one in the bag. 8-)
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Mike A
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby Mike A » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:36 am

Haha, never say never. I was chatting to this guy before the swim - he'd kayaked the route and was impressed that I was going to swim it. "10k is like a quarter of the English Channel", he said. "Don't give me ideas!" I replied. Should've seen the look on my wife's face. :lol:
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Tom65
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby Tom65 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:44 am

cottmiler wrote:Woody said

I came to swimming late at 57 and any coaching has been done by much younger people who got their confidence and ability to hold a body position when they were very young. They had young minds and got the feel for the water much easier than an adult.Hence what seems easy to them was a struggle for me for so long and even if they think they can understand learning to swim at an older age they can't really know.


How true are these words!

Swimsmooth is best for young people who can already swim and want to do triathlon and open water.


Yer but, the Swim Smooth forum is good for anybody at any level that'll put an effort in.
Some of my young adult instructors have been fantastic, don't forget they'll have some friends and family that aren't making efforts to do anything physical in midlife.

Plenty of adults that thought they were efficient swimmers as kids aren't now as capable as us late starters.

Good job Mike A, I don't have any intention of getting close to that effort. :shock:
Forum locked, might go to TI's forum, looked at SS's facebook page, too many photos...ewww...for me.
New Forum http://swim.palstani.com/

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Mike A
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby Mike A » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:59 am

woody wrote:Well done Mike I did Coniston the same day but a lot slower than your swim

That's impressive Woody - looks like we've both come a long way in the last few years! Coniston is about 8.5km, so in the cold, wet conditions this year, and without the benefit of a strong current, I can guarantee it would've been a tougher swim than the River Dart. I would like to do one of the Lake District swims some time - Coniston or Buttermere maybe? I've also wanted to swim to the Isle of Wight ever since watching David Walliams do it when training for the channel. Just a few ideas for next year!
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Shenaram
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby Shenaram » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:06 pm

Mike A, my sincerest congratulations for your achievement!

I feel sorry for your illness after the event and hope that you recovered promptly.
Despite this unfortunate incident, I wish that you do more swims in the near and far future and keep a good memory of it.
Reading your event report is a delight.

Awaiting impatiently to read the next ones!

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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby woody » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:49 pm

Cott
We do have a spread of ages in the swimsmooth squad . The 3 planks of :Technique sessions , CSS swims of for example 10 X 100 with 20 sec rests at 4 sec per 100 faster than CSS, Endurance swims typically are 10x 300 with 30 sec rests at 4 sec per 100 slower than CSS.
Because they are done at speeds around your own CSS they are equally hard or easy for whatever kind of swimmer you are so its great training for anyone any age any level. But in my case being part of a squad it makes me do them if I wasn't I would go and think I won't do 10 X 300 today maybe 6 and a bit slower.
TI got me swimming , Swimsmooth got my distances up and off a plateau with consistent improvement , a bit more TI got my balance better and one session with Ocean walker got me to understand moving through the water better.Each of them has been worth every penny . And no doubt I will be spending more with each of them in the future.
I did have two other sets of lessons in between TI and discovering Swimsmooth . One managed to take me from being able to swim 1000m to not being able to go more than 75m ! They were definitely for younger competitive swimmers. The other said that my stroke was good ( a video from Emma a bit later proved that wrong) but what was holding me back was I wasn't kicking hard or fast enough and that all the speed in swimming came from the Kick! He is a very high standard swimmer just missed out on 2012 olympics by hundredths of a second . Yes you guessed a sprinter.
I just think it's so hard for them to understand the struggle an older swimmer has with overcoming the fighting with water.
Nowadays I can look at another swimmer and think a few lessons with ------ would sort them.

Mike I think we are both on Facebook open water swimming society groups which I like but there are lots of smaller groups eg in Cheshire " Chester Frosties" and "Hatch and Pickmere Dipping club" I find it possible to easily be able to swim with others this way. There are probably loads in your area too. Until I took up open water I hadn't realised just how many places there are close to home. I also never used Facebook now it's my main method of sorting swims.
Crummock water close to Buttermere is a great swim 4K . Or for slightly shorter if you have a non swimming partner Grasmere 3k ish two way and Rydal 2kish two way are good .Be glad to join you if you visit.

Regards John Woodward

Edit
our squad https://www.facebook.com/john.woodward. ... 1972831008
Everything is won or lost inside your own head.

The best time to learn to swim was a long time ago the second best time is today

cottmiler
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Re: Dart 10k - job done!

Postby cottmiler » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:29 am

Thanks Woody for an authoritative resume of your training experiences culminating in a high level of ability in a relatively short time. You have certainly had a thorough go at it by working hard with a variety of coaches and techniques.

I think this discussion could happen on a new thread " Swim Training Methods"
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