Yet another great competing experience. Thanks to the host, technical team, volunteers and sponsors.
Created a benchmark of 26:56:04 for this distance [not close to the pros 18:52:10, but a good starting point]. My swimming is definitely improving, thanks for the grace of God.
As we gathered for the water start, I positioned myself away from the crowd [eastern side of the start line]. I did not want to be a-part of a human washing machine on my first swim-only race. I heard of past cases where persons were swam over, hit in the face and goggle being hit off. Gladly I had minimal physical contact with other swimmers and enjoyed clear waters for most of the race course.
My race plan was to swim smartly, do not get carried away with the crowd and start too hard, which would have lead to me being burned before the finish line.
So I stuck to my plan, and felt strong for most of the race.
The five (5) seconds countdown was completed and we were off. I was breathing regularly to be comfortable, sighting as needed to maintain a straight line. As I passed the first buoy I saw a pack of swimmers ahead on my far right, so I continued trying to swim as efficient as I can.
Being so focused on the race, I quickly met the 750 m / turn around point. Still feeling strong, so I began to push a little more and after a few meters I felt signs of cramp in both hamstrings and calves. As such I ease the kicking for a few minutes then resumed but the cramp signs were still there.
At this time I was hurting a bit but I said to myself that I cannot quit / give-up, so I resume pushing moderately. It was around this part of the race that I noticed another swimmer pulled –up alongside me then went ahead, so I began to swim a bit faster to stay with that swimmer. I had to kick in a “borderline-zone”, where I can move faster but not get a complete cramp attack. I continued in this zone for the remaining 400 m and whilst I exited the water and approached the finish shoot – I was unable to run because my hamstrings were pulling /cramping on every step.I eventually crossed the finish arch in a limping state *laughing* .
I iced the cramped areas whilst having some bananas and talking with others [competitors & onlookers].
My race statistics showed that I swam at an average pace of 1:56 min/100m, which is the fastest average pace I ever swam to date over a few hundred meters.
I felt satisfied with my performance under the race conditions and looking forward to the next swim race.