SwimRunMan île de Vassivière - France - 2022 - 2nd

I enjoyed my first SwimRun race tremendously and I was keen to do more of these races in 2022. However, I wasn't sure when I would be able to fit another race into my plans for the summer and it looked like I may have to wait until after the trail running season to give the sport another go. Fortunately I managed to reschedule a trip which meant I could take on the second leg of the SwimRunMan France series at île de Vassivière.

The format of the race at île de Vassivière was similar to the previous race at Gorges du Verdon as I entered the Classic Solo category again. The total distances were almost the same yet there were more swims and runs and the running sections didn't have any significant climbs. I knew the race would be faster and that I would need to improve my transitions from swim to run and run to swim to race well. The good news was that the water would be 19C which was much better than the 14C in Verdon. I was excited to do another race and with some differences to what I had done before there would be ample opportunity to learn more about the sport and to find areas to improve.

The race went very well. I felt stronger in the swims, I was able to run at a strong pace throughout the run sections, and my transitions were greatly improved from my last race. I enjoyed having more swims and runs and the constant changes from one sport to the other meant plenty of chances to practice transitions. The swims were easier because of the warmer water, but at the same time a low fog often meant I couldn't see the other side of the swim when I started it. The runs were fast and winding through forests which was a lot of fun. Overall I was pleased with my performance and I felt like I improved from last time while also learning more aspects of my game to improve.

Lac de Vassiviere - a wonderful venue for a SwimRun race.
Early in the race and between some short (100m-200m) swim and run sections.
After the longest swim which was a change on the day; because of the weather we swam past an island instead of running across it. 
My swimming still needs some work, but at least this stroke looks good!
Finishing the last swim and 100m running to the finish.
There was a lot of fog throughout the race making the swim sections particularly difficult.
Arriving at the finish.
I was very happy to finish 2nd.

Lessons learned

First, I'll check my progress against the areas of improvement that I highlighted from my race at Gorges du Verdon:

  1. Improve swim speed to keep up with the faster swimmers - better, but still work to do.
  2. Improve sighting in the open water to make sure I swim in the right direction - achieved.
  3. Improve transitions to save time over the race - achieved.
  4. Use better goggles to stop my goggles from fogging - new goggles worked well.
  5. Figure out how best to carry water to stay hydrated - still a work in progress.
  6. Train for "SwimRun" events and not just train swimming and running separately - still a work in progress.

Next, my lessons from this race in particular are:

  1. I had one equipment malfunction when my buoy came off the leash. I need to remedy that.
  2. I was putting my used gel packs in my wetsuit which caused some chafing so I need a better solution for that.
  3. My soft flask for hydration was shifting around inside my wetsuit during the swim so I need a better way to carry it.

Race result

5 June 2022
23.1km (4.3km swim, 18.8km run)

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