As I walked down to the start of the swim and saw the gigantic orange fireball of a sun rising on the horizon, I knew I was in for a very special day! I have to admit that it did bring tears to my eyes of being so grateful for so many things in my life! It was a special moment before I was about to embark on a new challenge.
I had been looking forward to doing my first open water swim event and was excited that the day was finally here. Swimming 5km in open water is like a half-marathon running, yet with a bit more danger (and jelleyfish!). Getting into the water with over 300 swimmers felt somehow different than previous triathlon starts because I knew I had much longer to swim. My goal for the race was simply to complete the 5K distance and to enjoy myself. Of course I was going to give it my best and swim as strong as I could however the more important thing was to enjoying taking part.
It was quite moving when, before the start of the race, we took a moment of silence to remember the victims and those affected by the events that took place on the Prom on 16th July. For me to be living in Nice is a dream come true and I know many people who have been affected by that event. Taking the minute silence made me appreciate that I was there, that I was able to do the race (as many events in Nice had been cancelled) and that I was grateful to be alive.
The race itself went smoothly as people found their own pace. Sometimes I found myself with others while other times I was on my own. I was aware of the many kayaks around for safety cover and when I stopped to take a gel at the mid-way point, one quickly came over to me thinking I was in trouble. Seeing the Prom from such a different perspective than simply walking and being able to spot some of the many key points such as the Negresso building and the ‘rusty sticks’ statue was truly a unique experience!
Before and during the race, I most certainly was putting into practice all the mental strategies I help others with. The fact that I had just received the proof copy of my new Winning Strategies Workbook (here I am with Catherine Hollingworth, the graphic designer who did the design and layout), all the strategies were fresh in my mind! As I looked over the Workbook before I approved it for publication, it reminded me of getting clear on my goal and my motivation, visualizing my race and using anchors to boost my confidence and calm my nerves. I had done the physical training and with my mental skills sharpened up, I was ready. The fact that I played a few mental tricks along the way helped me to stay present rather than overwhelmed by the distance also helped!
As I came out of the water, I felt elated and satisfied. I had achieved what I set out to achieve and had done it! It was much to my surprise that I then found out I had come 3rd place in my age category and was on the podium with a trophy!! So, all my Winning Strategies obviously made a difference!
Overall, the race organisation was slick and efficient. Special thanks to Loic Branda, Swim the Riviera, for having the initial idea of getting more people out doing open water swimming and Olympic Nice Natation for their organization.
Just thinking … where do I sign up for next year!