The swim almost didn’t happen. The race was to start at 7 AM but it was super foggy. The Race Director made the call to postpone the start until 7:45 AM. That only gave us more time to be nervous and moan and groan about everything.
We rented a cabin to stay in at the race site for Friday night and Saturday night. We were literally RIGHT by the finish line. It was awesome to have a Home Base and to be able to relax. I tried to stay calm during the delay by resting….
Luckily, the fog began to lift and they decided to start the race at 7:40. I was in the third wave. I had butterflies fluttering around my stomach like no other, almost to the point of tears.
Once I was in the water the reality of the situation set in. This was BIG TIME. The horn sounded and I was on my way….
I had to reign it in and remember I had to swim 1.2 miles. This was no joke. I was anxious and excited and my breathing was all over the place. I couldn’t get into a comfortable rhythm and my breathing was off. I was breathing every second stroke, which is not how I practiced and not how I am comfortable. My kicking was sporadic. I was just flailing, or so it felt. Flailing along with the crowd. There was a bright orange buoy every 100m. So I just started counting buoys. Before I knew it I was at the turn. I can’t remember how many meters out it was but I felt good to have made the first turn.
The lake was 70 degrees, perfect swimming temperature. I was ok without my shorty, I forgot it at home anyway. It was so clear that I caught a glimpse of something shiny on the bottom. For half a second I contemplated diving down to get it. I thought better of it and continued on my way. I started to concentrate more on my kicking and my stroke and at one point I fell into a nice groove with a guy swimming next to me. It was kind of like running next to someone, only not really. There was no conversation, just stroke, stroke, stroke, breath, stroke, stroke, stroke, breath….That was the turning point for my swim. Being in rhythm with him helped me get my kick under control and my breathing more consistent. We swam maybe for 100 meters before he kind of started angling off course. Maybe he was tired of me or maybe he just got off course…that happens. A lot.
At one point I had to stop almost completely when a dude just cruised right on by, in front of me, going perpendicular to the race course. It is kind of funny sometimes, it is like trying to run a straight line with a blind fold on. Just doesn’t work out most of the time. I let him go on by and then got going again.
This swim was pretty calm compared to a few I have done. I only recall one kick in the head, one punch in the head and a punch in the back. It didn’t hurt it but the punch in the back was kind of random. Usually all this happens in the beginning, the first few hundred meters when everyone is swimming in a huge gaggle. But this punch was out of nowhere around the 1000 meter mark. I can’t really complain though because it was around this point where I punched someone in the bootie. Awkward…..Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….
Once I was on the home stretch the distance and time just kind of flew by. I saw the 1 mile buoy and realized I was so close. Oh so close to being done…I swam a little faster and don’t really remember much of this part at all. I do remember seeing the ladder. Yes. We had to swim to a ladder (there were two of them) and climb out. Once I got to the ladder I looked at my watch: 43 minutes!! Wooo whoo!!!!! Official Time 44.16 after climbing out of the water and crossing the mat.
My ambitious, I wish goal had been 45 min swim. I thought it was possible but I wasn’t sure. I had really hoped to be out by 50 min!! I was so happy and excited! I couldn’t believe it really!! Swim was done, I was thrilled!! AND I wasn’t really out of breath or tired. I know I could have swam a bit faster…but this was my first open water swim at this distance and I had no idea what to expect. But now I know and next time….(wait, I am getting ahead of myself here).
I came out of the water and ran down the dock. Everyone was there! Cheering for me like mad! It was awesome!! The Hubs was there cheering and yelling!! Jessica was in the water snapping pictures and cheering, LB was there, Breaking Pace’s husband and J-Ninja’s husband were there too, all just cheering like no other!
I made my way to T1 and was still elated about my swim, but it was bike time.
Oh 56 miles on that bike……Part II to come!