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  • Writer's pictureKatie Brown

Swimming The Henley Mile (Well, half of The Henley Mile…)

Of all my idea’s, I’m not sure that running a 12km Obstacle Race the day before swimming Henley was one of my greatest idea’s, but life has a funny way of just working out…

We woke up early and in good spirits, bags were packed and we started our journey towards Henley, stopping for breakfast in the sun along the way. We arrived early and took a walk along the route to shake out our slightly tiresome limbs, this also gave me a good chance to look at the route and build up some confidence before my swim. As you may know from my previous post, I chose to enter the 800m event oppose to the full mile, as I had serious apprehensions about how I’d get on covering the full mile distance.

Once we’d completed our registration, (the irony of being number ‘One’ wasn’t lost on me!) it was time to grab out goodie bags with the generous option of being able to pick exactly what we fancied. Ideal for preventing and meant we filled our bags with goodies such Primal Pantry bars, green cola, suntan cream and Pulsin Protein powder. It was then time for me to change into my wetsuit and make my way to the meeting point where we would all walk to the start line together for a group safety briefing session.

One thing I noticed about the other swimmers, is how polite everyone was – We all calmly climbed onto the dock and eased ourselves into the water and swam to the start line, I took a few moments to catch my brief and start my watch before the horn went off and our swim started. I tactfully kept to the back, mainly because I knew I was going to be slower and I’d read that I was less likely to be caught up with the pace of other swimmers and/or get kicked in the face. Once I’d started moving, I found some confidence and a much-needed energy boost and started overtaking people, focused on the scenery and looking out for G who was walking along the route. Apparently, I might have shaved off a few more seconds had I not stopped and started waving like an excited child every time I saw him.

Before I knew it, the finish line was in sight, I found the drive for ‘one more push‘, and tapped my tracking device as I passed through, feeling euphoric I climbed up out of the water and was handed my medal and a much-needed drink. At that point I had absolutely no idea of my finish time, all I knew was that I’d enjoyed every moment and it felt like a personal best. Within minutes my phone beeped and when I read the text message I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy, as someone who 4 weeks ago had never swum in open water, I had somehow reduced my 800m time from 29 minutes to 21 minutes and 57seconds.

I then changed and supported G who completed the full mile in 31.35 – We left Henley having both set new Personal Bests, which of course we celebrated with huge icecreams, a roast dinner, and a well earnt early night.

You can learn more about my training and the event in my latest post for Simply Swim who have kindly supported me in this journey.



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