26 December 2011

A significant landmark (or would that be buoy?) passed!

It's been a busy few weeks in the swimming world for me.  Quite a few little landmarks passed in my journey to the Rottnest Channel.  Here's one of them...

To fully qualify for a solo entry of the Rottnest swim, I had to swim 10km non-stop in less than 4 hours 15 minutes.  This is because they have to ensure you're capable of completing the stretch in the allocated cut off times.  Admittedly, I was quite nervous before this swim.  It was the longest distance I would have covered since swimming the English Channel in 2007.

Steve and I ventured down to the ABC (Andrew Boy Charlton) pool early on a Saturday morning where we met several others also about to embark on their time trial.  I felt incredibly special to have my little support team (aka Steve Hopkins) with me - who watched the entire swim and timed every 100m split.  Check out my split times

We tackled the 10km swim by breaking it down into chunks - 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m and so on up to 1000m and back down again.  This covers 10km!  I used this swim as a way to also try out some different feeds.  These included gels, bananas, jelly chumps & energy drink.  I discovered that anything that takes longer than 3 seconds to chew and swallow is definitely not going to work..so it's pretty much gels all the way!  I might pop a honey sandwich or two into my feed box for the Rotto swim in case I get real hunger pangs but gels are great to get an energy hit...fast!

Just completed 10km!

I was delighted to complete this 10km in 3 hours 9 minutes.  A great result - a lot faster than I was expecting.  What you have to bear in mind, however, is that this is in the pool where there are no waves and every 50 metres there's a wall to push off from!  So...take 3 hours 9 minutes and add another hour at least for the ocean.  I'm not expecting to complete Rotto in less than 8 hours (and that's on a good day!).

It was a great landmark to pass and I felt great at the end of it.  Only 8 weeks before I wouldn't have been able to do 2km before getting out.  Getting my fitness levels up to speed has been a  big part towards this 10km, but the main driver that kept me going, and turning around at each lap (200 of them!) was my mental strength.  I didn't want to get out..not once..even with the wall and steps RIGHT THERE.  This means more to me than swimming 10km..it proves to myself that I have the mental stamina to do this 20km Rottnest Swim..and that's 80% there!

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