A few months ago a friend asked if I wanted to do the Pier to Pub swim with her - without really knowing anything about it, I said "YES!". I'm not sure why I was so enthusiastic - needless to say my attitude towards the event yo-yo'd dramatically right up until we crossed the finish line!
For the uninitiated, the Pier to Pub is held in Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. It is the largest open water swim in the world, with thousands of competitors swimming the 1.2km course throughout the day.
Due to poor planning on my part, I didn't bring my camera, and spent the rest of the day wishing I had. We spent the night in Anglesea and arrived in Lorne at 7am to make sure we got parking. The plan worked and we got a great spot right on the foreshore, which meant we could go back and forth to the car throughout the day without having to carry all our gear with us all day.
My friend and I stuck together throughout the race, giving each other moral support. We crossed the finish line holding hands and finished with a respectable time of 30 mins 45 seconds. The race itself was an interesting experience - the water was cold (we were swimming in wetsuits), and swimming in the ocean is not nearly the same as swimming in a pool. I also didn't count on getting a cramp in my toes about halfway, which then travelled up my right leg. It wasn't that bad a cramp though, so I kept going and it dissipated. In the last 100 metres I got another cramp in my left leg which was quite bad, but I was so close to the end that I didn't want to give up - I'm glad I didn't!
To be honest I didn't train very much for this, and I would say my current fitness level is fairly poor. I think that this type of event is as much about mental strength as fitness. I am a confident swimmer and I knew I could do it, even if it meant taking a long time (for the record, the race organisers will remove you from the water if you haven't completed the race in 45 minutes). If I do it again I would aim to be fitter, and perhaps try to do some open water training in a wetsuit just to get more used to the swimming conditions.
I did get a few iPhone pictures, which didn't turn out too badly. These were taken before the crowds arrived:
Below: view from the pier to the finish line - can you see it in the distance?
Right now I'm nursing some interesting sunburn on my back - although I applied sunscreen all day, there were some patches I missed once we changed into our bathers and wetsuits. Someone needs to invent sunscreen that is coloured, and then goes clear as it's absorbed - like the pink ceiling paint!
Well, I'm off to apply some more after sun lotion. I'm sure I will start peeling just in time for the wedding I am attending next weekend - I suppose on the bright side, it's only on my back, and I can wear my hair down to disguise it all!