Our local triathlon club holds a 10k challenge every year at Cleveland States University swimming pool. I wanted to do this last year but for whatever reason I skipped it. This year, I committed to doing it and thought it will be a fun challenge and something to occupy my mind during these brutal winter months.
Training for it didn’t really change much. My weekly yardage been consistent all year between 10-13k. However, Coach Heath started putting more specific workouts geared toward this event, but nothing over 4000 yards leading to this event.
Couple of weeks ago, I had a breakthrough in my last swim test and dropped my CSS pace to 1:20/100.
Instead of doing 100×100, the plan to tackle the 10k was as follow:
The morning of the swim the city was covered in fresh snow from the day before and temperature was in the teens. Made it to the pool early, signed in all the waivers and stripped out of my winter clothes and headed to the pool. I was assigned lane 2 with 3 other guys that all had a swimmer look to them. Chatted with them to see what they were doing and seems everyone had his own plan so I decided to just follow my plan and started swimming.
The plan was to keep a 1:30 pace on 1:40 send off. The first 1,000 I took it very easy, warm up pace, and ended up averaging 1:27. Started the second set of 400s and after about 600 yards, the other guy in my lane asked me if I wanted to swim 100s with them so we can all be synced together instead of bumping into each other all the time. I agreed and the plan changed to swimming on 1:30 send offs (5sec between each one). Each 1000, we took 2-min fuel break, and a longer break after 5000 for bathroom and eat.
That was cool, so we started swimming and the 1000s started to tick off very quickly. We were putting 1:18-1:25 pace for each 100. We switch lead every 1000.
I was feeling very strong and felt better and better the more I swam. I was waiting for some cramps but only had a small one midway through in my calf but only lasted for about 100 yards. Made sure to drink every few hundreds and eat each 1000.
We kept our pace until about 7000 yards when one of the lane mates suggested to go down to 1:35. We said, let’s keep 1:30 for another 1000. That was the first sign of fatigue we had. Then after we made it to 8000, we decided to drop it to 1:35 when one of our lane mates started pulling and another one fell off the pace completely and started cramping. I volunteered to lead to 9000 on 1:35. Things started to hurt but managed to keep pace.
The last 1000, I knew 1:35 should still be manageable but going to be hard. It was the last 1000 so, we said let’s give it everything we’ve got. The one who lead the last 1000 wanted to try to do it on 1:30 and I said I will give it a try. I think he made it but my pace fell off but was able to keep at 1:35.
Finished the swim in 2:23. I am pretty sure I swam 200-300 yards uncounted as I forgot to turn on my watch.
It didn’t sink in until later when I realized that time was only 3 min off the Ironman official cut off time and I swam almost 2.5 times the ironman distance.
Overall, the swim was fun and really recommend it to any swimmer or triathletes. This is for sure going to make swimming the Ironman portion a breeze.