The open water race season has started and my first event is BLDSA Champion of Champions. This event is 3 races, 5 miles, 3 miles and 1 mile, held successively on the same day, with the ranking determined by the total time. The race course was a triangular loop of 800 m length, i.e. 10 laps, 6 laps and 2 laps for the 3 races respectively.
The water temperature was reported as 15.3°C by the organiser. It was cloudy and the wind was blowing BF 3, making the sea a bit choppy. I hoped to swim 18-20 minutes per lap, however, I was so tired from my training in the previous weeks, and even 4 days without swimming didn’t make me feel strong. Unlike last year, I couldn’t even draft off anyone. I ended up keeping 20 to 21 minutes for most laps, with the fastest lap being 19’31” at the 9th lap, and the slowest lap being 22’38” at the 2nd lap.
I completed the 5 mile race in 3:27:31, 9 minutes slower than last year despite my performance massively deteriorating at the end of the race last year but not this year. I was so disappointed as I should have the ability to swim 18 minutes per lap, as last year I could even get the lap time under 16 minutes when the race started in perfect condition. I could only swim 4 laps in the time I completed 5 laps last year.
As I was slower than last year, I had even less time for recovery. Adding to the insult, it was raining at that time. My recovery was barely enough when I started the 3 mile race. The wind started to drop off and became BF 2, and the sun came out.
The race was so tough and so dreadful, as it was 6 long laps. My first lap came just under 20 minutes and all the subsequent laps became slower and slower as extreme fatigue built up in my back, reaching 24 minutes and 40 seconds on the last lap, although it was nothing like last year (27 then 41 minutes) which resulted in me pulling out of the race. I completed the 3 mile race in 2:16:18.
Finally there were only 2 laps left, and the wind further dropped to BF 1 with the sun shining, which meant perfect condition. However I was so tired at that point and, with not enough recovery time, I couldn’t swim like racing at all. I completed the 1 mile race in 0:42:29. Under such conditions, my normal race time for a mile is about 30 to 32 minutes.
This was my second time I did this race and I finally completed all of the 3 races. However my time was so slow, much slower than I hoped for, with the 9-mile whole course winning time just over my 5-mile time.
I had been feeling consistently tired over the last month, and I didn’t feel strong even when racing. Despite the perfect condition in the 3-mile and the 1-mile races, I still couldn’t get the speed I wanted. And I couldn’t even get a good draft at all.
I have also registered for the London Region Open Water Swimming Championship next month, in a lake in Northwood. Although I am unlikely to qualify for the nationals as the field is strong, I still want to get some good results for my 5 km race there, but if I turn up to that race with my performance in this race, I won’t even make the cut off at 1:45. I’m so worried now how I can get back my peak performance, as anything less than that I won’t be able to finish the race, and I need the time to decide how I should continue swimming (or not).