So the big day arrived, not quite the day that every girl dreams of, but as days go it was big enough to require the same sort of dietary preparations. 6 weeks of off and on Stella abstinence brought me to a point where I was prepared to at least attempt a public shoe-horning of my wobbly bits into the rubber encasement.

Sunday was a hot day and the combined sweat of 2402 lady swimmers had condensed on the marquee roof and was starting to drip onto the dressers below. Other peoples sweat, wet skin and rubber only combine to create more stress and more sweat. I successfully directed my right foot into the wetsuit but then started hopping around and cursing my full English breakfast as I tried to squeeze my left leg through my left arm hole.

There was no time for this sort of faffing, we were late and were already supposed to be sitting in the lake “warming” up. Despite expecting the seams to burst at any moment leaving me pink and vulnerable like a lizard shedding its skin, I did actually manage to yank up the zipper. After patching all my grasping finger nail holes with a puncture repair kit I waddled out in full glory looking like a fat, black, naked lady with a severe nicotine withdrawal problem.

Not exactly my best look but here we go – that’s me next to the tall skinny guy, who I will not be swimming with next year. I’m going to find myself some fat friends.

GNS Yellow Wave

As per last year I secreted myself towards the back of the pack in a vain attempt to avoid mid-lake battles. This year though I wasn’t swimming in the last wave and had to cope with the chasing hoards of sub 30 minute swimmers.

I had a few new strategies for this year’s attempt at the Great North Swim. Firstly I was going to remember my nose clip and then stick my head in the water, I wasn’t going to bother much with my legs as they’d proved useless in unscientific pool timing tests, I was going to wear shoes (?) and finally I wasn’t going to get asthma.

The nose clip really helped as you’d expect and I’m still sure that legs are overrated in swimming; I tried to observe every swimmer that passed me and a good deal of the sub 30 minute swimmers did not appear to be kicking with their legs. Of course they may have been kicking like crazy up til that point but its good enough evidence for me.

Probably the most significant decision in my overall performance was to give the asthma a wide berth. No idea how I did that, I took on heavy quantities of caffeine in the run up to the event, stuck my head in cold water a few times but there also seemed to be less motor fuel hanging around on the surface of lake this year and that may have had something to do with it.

Camp Finishing Run

So all in all, I had another pootle round a stunning lake, positively enjoyed myself for a few hundred metres and came home with a new pb, knocking 10 minutes off last years time and dragging myself out of the bottom 1% and well into the top 96% of all competitors. Result!
The only disappointment was that I managed to look decidedly camp in my sprint finish photo, not that I need to share that with anybody.

Actual stats:

Time – 1:01:57
Overall – 4392/4579
Age/gender – 366/385

As Dan can’t be arsed to keep a record of his times, I will jot them down here for prosperity:

Time – 0:44:14
Overall – 3148/4579

Oh and I got a new t-shirt.