I set myself two goals for my third Edge Sprint; not to panic on the swim and to finish in under two hours. I prefer swimming pools with clear chlorinated water and defined lanes. In 2015 and 2016 I did not manage to put my face in Cadney Reservoir and breast stroked all the way round. The first time I was so slow, I ended up with my own kayak marshal. Last year I got lost and swam a lot further than I needed to and was even slower than the year before. This year, I managed a few swims at Barton not as many as I had hoped and a couple of other OW swims with Coach Clark. At last I was feeling braver in open water and my new wetsuit was much more comfortable than my old Aldi one.
The Edge 2017 arrived and it was a perfect still morning. After accidentally waking up my family with the blender, I fitted in a yoga sequence (local events are convenient) and set off. I remembered to pack my wetsuit and bike (I worry about forgetting something important). I was feeling excited and not too nervous. I got everything ready in transition and put on my wetsuit and listened to the race briefing.
When I entered the water, I realised that I felt pretty calm. I put my face in and blew bubbles and splashed around a bit. Then the swim started, if I had a race plan it was to stay at the back and not worry about anyone else. I have struggled with sighting whilst open water swimming so I was very pleased when the first big yellow buoy appeared and I was very close to it. Sometime after the second buoy, standard swimmers started to overtake me but none of them got too close. I was enjoying the swim. I knew I was slow but I was on course. I finished the swim and did front crawl all the way round and even put my face in the water!
Into T1, out of my wetsuit and on to my bike. I love the Edge bike course and it’s one of my favourite rides. However I hadn’t checked my bike when I got it out of the car and the chain wasn’t on properly on the front ring so it was a slow, wobbly start. Once I got going and pedalled as hard as I could, I overtook a few people. I dismounted a long way before the dismount line, just in case I couldn’t stop in time.
Back into T2. The run felt hard. I’d meant to do more brick runs in preparation. When I got to the turn point my husband and sons were waiting for me. They are brilliant supporters, who shouted “Come on Mummy” lots and lots, and the end did not feel too far away. I crossed the finish line and collected my medal, then heard it was before 10am. I was so happy: I had finished in under 2 hours (01:51:55 – nearly 15 minutes faster than last year!).
Then it was time for a massage from Jo Findley (which was the most painful thing about the event by far!). My family cycled up as I was enjoying a bacon bun. I was very surprised when I recognised the time being read out, I had most unexpectedly won my age group. There are benefits to getting older! I was delighted because I felt like I had conquered my fear of open water swimming and to come away with an AG win was just fantastic! The Edge is a fabulous event and a great one if you want to try an open water sprint event. It may have taken me three goes but I got there in the end.