<span style=”font-family: Helvetica;”><p>Today I went for my first swim at altitude. Okay, so maybe it wasn't that high at 1000m, but it was the toughest 2km swim I have ever completed. Having swam in many pools whilst training for my half Ironman; from London to San Francisco, Ghana to Mauritius, I was not prepared for the behemoth size of an olympic swimming pool in Beirut.</p><p>Swimming is part muscle and skill and part maths: 4 x 100m at a moderate pace with fins and a pull buoy. Wait, that's 100m in a 20m pool, that means it's 5 lengths per 100m. Or is this a 33m meter pool meaning 3 lengths per 100m? And how many do i have to do in total? 12 lengths? 6 laps? How fast with a rest for how long in between each set? Go on when the red hand hits 0 on the clock? Urgh!</p><p>With an olympic pool coming in at 50m, there's none of that. It's just you, your technique and your thoughts. No confusion when you're on the 7th length and you need to figure out how many you have left.</p><p>I set off with my usual 400m warm up, nice and easy. Done. Now into 400m of technique, fins on (I have strong legs and a weak upper body) with the pull buoy and my legs crossed at the ankles to avoid me kicking. Tough. There's no maths to distract you, all you have going through your head is the throbbing heat going through your triceps and the desperate countdown to your finale. Now for the main set, 800m alternating between cruising and fast. Ouch. For the first time since I began swimming a year ago, I was sweating underwater.</p><p>Ending with a 400m cool down bringing in back strokes, I managed to get my heart rate down again and ready for a nice rest in the steam room. Can't wait to go back in a few days.</p><p></p><p></p></span>