Kings of the Coast 3.8k swim

I arrived at Lake Kawana on Sunday very unsure of what lay ahead of me.

It was a very respectable start time of 8.30 registration for a 10.45 race start - the down side of this is that there is plenty of time for nerves and doubt to creep in.

I started questioning everything - do I wear my wetsuit, do I change down to the 2k swim that I didn't know was on, do I just go home...
Of course I didn't chicken out either by downgrading my distance or by going home, and I did wear my wetsuit.

Getting my wetsuit on by myself was challenging but having lost some weight it was much easier than it ever had been before. I was thankful for that. If you've ever put a tight fitting wetsuit on, you will know how awkward it could be to ask a complete stranger to help.

Before I knew it, it was start time and I stood on the edge of the water with the other women in the "Weekend Warrior" category, feeling surprisingly calm. The hooter went and we were off.

I was surprised to not be left behind immediately - in fact I could see another swimmer almost for the entire swim. We got out to the first turning buoy quite quickly, and turned for the long straight up the outside of the rowing lanes.

It started getting a bit difficult here. It was choppy and at one point I felt like my body was almost perpendicular with the direction I wanted to swim due to an overpowering current. It was then that I remembered talking to my cousin about the venue, as her son rows there regularly. She said that one side of the lake gets an advantage because it's sheltered - the other side, conversely, is at the mercy of the elements.

I consoled myself that it would be better on the other side... and then told myself not to get ahead of myself - what if this was the good side!

I put my head down and concentrated on breathing and tried  not to think about the conditions... though that was hard given that I needed to breathe to conditions. Instead of my usual bilateral breathing, I could only breathe to my right side due to the chop coming towards me from the left. It also made sighting a bit difficult - but I'm pretty pleased to say that I reckon I nailed my sighting, especially in comparison to my experience at Challenge Roth where, embarrassingly, I swam into a kayak.

Finally I got to the end of the long straight, crossed to the other side of the lake, and began the return journey. I was relieved that the side I'd already swum was in fact the bad side. I swam much more effortlessly back towards the start, to commence the second lap.

This time I was more aggressive. I swam with purpose to get through the difficult conditions as quickly as possible, and when I got round to the calmer home straight, I kept up the tempo to finish strong. I could feel someone on my feet and this was further motivation to keep swimming strongly.

I finished feeling pretty good but wasn't all that comforted because I had no idea how long I'd taken. The only indication I had was that the presentations, which were due to start about 1:30 or so after my start, hadn't happened yet, so I felt fairly confident that I'd be satisfied with my time. When I got home I found that my finish time was 1:23:42. Not my best time at this distance, but not my worst either.

While the Kings of the Coast swim didn't always feel 100% natural, part of this I think was waiting around so long. I got overly nervous, wasn't all that rested from walking around for ages, and my pre-race nutrition was different to normal as well.

All in all my fears that I was risking putting myself in a negative frame of mind for next week's Ironman were unfounded. Thankfully!

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