Monday, October 24, 2016

A Full(ish) Ironman: A Completely Full Heart (P1)


Part One, The Swim


I want to post a few different blogs about Ironman North Carolina. The first is going to be a race report(ish) in three parts, and I will also have a thank-you reflection post.

Saturday, October 22, 3:30AM

I woke up with a happy heart, but a terrified mind. The winds were very strong - there was a small craft advisory in effect for the open water, but I wasn't sure what to expect in the channel. I knew there would be chop and perhaps waves - but I also swam 1.2 miles in Jordan Lake during a tropical storm last year, so I reminded myself I was strong. Stronger than I give myself credit.

I ate three gluten-free waffles and had a cup of coffee. Washed my face, put on deodorant, got dressed and kissed Derek goodbye. Somehow both kids slept through me getting ready.

I had my run special needs bag, my bike nutrition and bottles, water bottles, wetsuit, additional food to eat before swimming, and goggles/cap. Timing chip on.

The bus to T1 was literally a two-minute walk from our hotel (the Riverview Suites - we made a last-minute change to this hotel and it was so WORTH it. Huge thanks to Lisa Arnold for letting us take the extra room she had booked.).

Someone I know from Raleigh actually sat next to me and we chatted for a bit on the way to T1. I was weirdly calm. I had my tires filled, set-up my bike, double checked my bike gear bag, dropped off run special needs and had my body marked. Then it was time to board the trolley to the swim start. For some reason, they dropped us off about 1/2 mile or so from the actual swim start, so it was a long walk to the end of the road where the beach starts. This was one of the low moments of the race. As I walked with all of these tall and fit-looking people, I have never felt so out of place in my life. Never. I told myself I didn't belong and shouldn't be there. When I finally made it to the end, I chit-chatted with a few people, put on my wetsuit and it was time to drop off my morning clothes on the truck.

OK, ok - this is a RACE report. Fast forwarding! It's a looooong walk to the actual swim start, and I was freezing. The solution to standing around in 45-degree weather is to stand in 73-degree water! It felt like a bath compared to the air temperature. It was time to line up, and I heard Mike Reilly talking and he mentioned the cannon. The cannon! OMG - I am about to swim 2.4 miles! I am doing an Ironman(ish). Star-Spangled Banner, then... *thump*. People started filing through the swim start entrance and Eminem's "Lose Yourself" started playing. Hell yeah. I put my goggles on, walked through, remembered my "why" and stepped into the water.

It felt GREAT. I was pretty far to the left of the buoys, but I made sure I swam around the red turn buoys. A little bit of chop coming from the left, not bad. When the sun came over the houses, though, it was impossible to see to the right. I just kept following the green and pink caps in front of me. At one point I glanced at my watch, which I never do, and it said 37:00 and 1600 yards. Hmm.. I am bad at math, but this told me I was going to be alright in terms of time.

The course makes a sharp left turn and as soon we started swimming to the northwest/west - the chop. It was so strong it nearly tore my goggles off my face when I sighted. I am not kidding. The swim at Jordan Lake was like swimming in washing machine, but this was something else. Stroke-stroke-breathe, stroke-stroke-sight-BAM-spit out water-breathe. Repeat. I finally saw the dock and ladders, and it took a while to get to them. But I was PLEASED as ever to see 1:25ish on my watch! How did this happen?!? Did I take a short cut? Holy cow! THANKS, TIDES! THANKS, MOON! THANKS, GRAVITY!

Official Time: 1:26:27 (2:15/100m pace)

Nutrition Before: Three GF waffles, half of a Cliff bar, one cup of coffee, one 10oz water)

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Next blog: The Bike. :-/

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