Swim Serpentine – 22nd September 2018
Super Sprint Paris – 23rd September 2018
Race Reporter: Sonia
When one race in a weekend is not enough!
Saturday – Swim Serpentine
On Saturday I took on the next stage in my London Classics Challenge, a 2-mile swim in London’s Hyde Park Serpentine Lake.
There were several waves of different distances going on throughout the day with a total of 6,000 participants taking part. My wave started at 10.45 so I was able to have a reasonably leisurely morning and a good breakfast before setting off for Hyde Park.
As an overseas participant I had to collect my race pack on the day, which consisted of several temporary tattoos to go on me and my wetsuit as well as a timing chip for my ankle. There was 2 changing rooms (a dry changing room for pre-race and a wet changing room for post-race) and a bag drop. The event was all very organized and clearly sign posted.
Pre-race you were directed to a holding area where you could take a short dip in the serpentine to get acclimatized before your race briefing. Surprisingly the Serpentine was actually warmer than the outside air temperature at 17.4° making wet suits optional. I wore my wetsuit as its still pretty cold, especially for a 2-mile swim. The start was right in front of the London Mastaba (big red/blue/pink thing), a temporary floating sculpture positioned in the middle of the lake and made a great back drop for the swim start/finish line.
The swim route was 2 laps of the lake. We set off exactly on time and had a nice ramp into the water so no mud to wade through and people to help you in/out of the water. The lake itself was clean and very pleasant to swim in!
On my second lap the next waves fast swimmers caught up as they started their first lap. I was expecting to get swam over by these faster fresher swimmers, but they were all pretty good and everyone had lots of space. As I was starting to get tired I kept looking up at the Mastaba and however hard I tried it just didn’t get any nearer, but eventually I passed it and made it to the finish which was such a relief!
Then it was time for a quick dip in the provided hot tubs, before lunch with my parents and then the Eurostar back to home to Paris!
Sunday – Super Sprint Paris
Luckily when the Super Sprint was announced I had not yet booked my hotel and train to London for the swim, else I may have been tempted to stay longer! However, after missing out on the event earlier in the year I was determined to take part in this one.
With a late wave time of 2pm I had seen quite a few people already complete their sprint so I was super motivated to get started. Getting into the pool though I was a little anxious as I’m not very fast and I knew I was a tired from the previous days swim and I was pretty sure I’d be last out of the pool.
Only when I started swimming did I realize how tired I was from the previous day, but once started I was going to finish and I could hear César yelling at me from the side of the pool that I was doing great. I was last out of the pool but it felt good to finish the swim and get on the bike.
With the bike I was using different muscles to the endless amount of swimming I’d done in the last 24 hours and I was able to catch up and overtake some of the others in my wave which was a good confidence boost. Having Wippy, Kathryn, Marieke and others giving me support during the cycle was fantastic and made me truely appreciate the spirit of the team.
It had been raining on and off for most of the afternoon and when I started the run it had kindly stopped. The run was 5 laps of the road just outside the pool, each lap you got a wrist band to count the number of laps completed. I got through my designated number of laps by playing dodge the puddle until I got the yellow wrist band which meant finally it was my last lap! I actually felt a little sad to finish and for the moment to end, it was such good fun.
I came home feeling great of having set a good baseline to compare myself to next time and feeling privileged to be part of such a great welcoming team.
London Marathon, the one event out of the three London Classics that scares me the most!