Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ironman: The Swim

I like to think that I was pretty calm race-day morning, although when Ben came to my door at 5am I know I stared at him with a deer-in-the-headlights glance.

Greg's mom acted as Team Mom, giving us suntan lotion and lens cleaners on basically just doing Mom stuff. 90% of all stressful situations are better when Moms are around, even if they aren't your's. So go call your mother.

You may recall about two weeks ago I was worried about a half-inch hole in my wetsuit (which Mentee George fixed for me.) It was stupid of me to worry about it. Because as I was adjusting the fit of my suit, I reached behind myself and felt... the skin of my own back. It took me a few seconds to process what was going on, but basically I had a 4-inch tear in the back of my wetsuit. Apparently the other guys on the team saw it but all agreed amongst themselves: "don't tell Wedgie! He'll just freak out about it!" Well that was a good guess on their part, but honestly I think I handled it pretty well. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it so I just had to accept it. (I don't think it made any difference in my swim, but I could feel water going in and out of it.)

I didn't think I would like doing a water-start, but I actually preferred it over the land-start they had in Coeur d'Alene. It gave us a few extra minutes to stretch out a bit in the water and to even... dare I say it... relax. I assumed that everyone would be packed in nice and tight in the water for the start, but that was not the case at all. There were a bunch of people lined up at the start line, but behind them there were large patches of open water. I don't think anyone was within 20 feet of me at the start,

Of course, about 2 seconds after the canon went off I was being kicked and grabbed from every direction. In sense, the "washing machine" works to my advantage because normally I can't swim in a straight line to save my life. But by banging up against people if I veer off course it forces me to go in the right direction. It was probably my straightest open-water swim ever.

The swim came to a dead halt rounding the first two buoys which was a little frustrating, and the momentum changes made me swallow more water than I should have. (The proper amount of water to swallow being "none.") So I wasn't too happy about that, but I kept at it And I have to say I was totally thrilled with my goggles and the fact that I trimmed my eyelashes so I could wear them. I was kicked in the face - hard - three times. I felt the goggles shift each time but they never leaked, and it was only after the third kick that I stopped for 3 seconds to adjust them. Aquasphere Kaimans. Love 'em.

I knew I was having a good swim; it just felt fast to me. It took me 50 minutes to do a practice loop on Friday, and I thought I might be doing a 45-minute loop. I checked my watch after loop one and it was 43 minutes. This made me happy because a) it was a speedy time for me, and b) I was fast enough that I wasn't looped by the Pros. Yes, it would have been kind of cool to see the front guys zipping past me but psychologically it just good that they didn't.

Going into the race I was absolutely certain I would swim 1:40-1:50, so I was very excited when I got out of the water after 1:33. But the swim was not over; I had to get out of my wetsuit. On Saturday I met briefly with tri-bloggers extraordinaires Steve in a Speedo and Pharmie who were in town volunteering. And let me tell you, they just exude friendliness. Great getting a chance to see them person. Anyway, they were stationed at the swim exit in the morning and I told them I wanted them to be my exclusive wetsuit strippers. As I ran past all the other strippers, people kept yelling at me "here! over here!" and grabbing me to help me with my wetsuit. But I kept screaming "No! I'm looking for someone specific to help me! STEVE! STEVE!" I was so excited when I finally saw them way at the end of the line. And they stripped me down good. It was one of the highlights of the day for me, being able to make that connection in the middle of the race. Thanks guys!


Blogger Pharmie said...

Glad you had such a great swim! Steve and I both laughed when we saw you running up shouting, "Steve! I need Steve!" Can't wait to hear how the rest of your day went!

10:06 AM  

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