Triathletesworld.co.uk Editor Alice Palmer prepares to take on the waters of the Serpentine - and all the other swimmers.
I started training for my 750m swim leg with a dangerous level of confidence. I had weekly swimming lessons throughout my childhood, topped off with lifesaving training (mostly swimming around in pyjamas staging elaborate 'rescues' of my clubmates). The legacy of this is that I have confidence in the water (including open water) and the remnants of a proper front crawl technique. Breathing bilaterally is the only way I've ever known, I don't kick from the knees and I genuinely enjoy being underwater.
However, what lies behind this bragging is the hard fact that I took weekly swimming lessons for ten years and yet was never picked for any sort of competitive team. I may look beautiful in the water, but I am SLOW. A manatee rather than a shark, if you will.
What this also means is that where many beginner triathletes can make huge strides by finessing their technique, I have to face facts: if I want more speed, I'll have to work for it.
Not only that, I've got work to do on my fitness in general. After running the Turin Marathon in November, I took some time off... and then Christmas off... and then went skiing and injured my knee when I landed a jump badly. I was limping for weeks and only started running again last month. Six months of near-total inactivity means I've piled on the weight and am embarrassingly unfit. I'm hoping that the Hyde Park race will be the impetus for me to kickstart my fitness routine and ditch the extra stone I'm carrying. If nothing else, I've seen how competitive James is, and he sits right next to me - it's in my own interest not to let him down!
So where do I go from here? I've got motivation, a solid swim foundation, advice from a top coach (which I'll be telling you all about in my next post), and a beautiful Speedo wetsuit (the same one actual proper triathlete Helen Jenkins wears, no less. It's got gold neoprene and fin bits on the arms and everything).
Now all I can do is put in the lengths in the pool. Since we decided to race at Hyde Park this summer, I've been back in the pool searching for the vaguest remnants of my swimming muscle memory. I've drawn up a plan with 3-4 sessions a week, regular swims of 1000-1500m interspersed with shorter sprints and drills.
Deep breath - it's going to be a busy couple of months!