I did NOT get a good night sleep before the race, luckily the night before that was good so I wasn’t too worried about it, but I was a ball of nerves. Our wakeup call came at 3:30 am, I downed some coffee, ate a bagel with Nutella and started hydrating even though I wasn’t hungry at all. We grabbed our special needs bags and headed down to city park. Transition opened at 5:30so we got there with plenty of time to park and walk over. I took the garbage bags off my bike and turned in the special needs bags. Next on the list was body marking, normally at triathlons there is a long line but at Ironman there were so many volunteers that there was no wait. I felt fine and nerves were low while I was busy doing tasks. Soon it was time for the pro start, I wanted to watch but couldn’t make my way from transition to the beach there were so many people there to cheer on the athletes. Instead I put on my wetsuit and thought about heading to the beach to acclimate to the water.
Unfortunately they weren’t letting the age group athletes on the beach so we stood in a group of athletes standing and waiting for about 20 minutes, that didn’t do good things for my nerves BUT I tried to breath slowly and calm down, I didn’t want to waste precious energy on being nervous. I was happy that the swim was a two loop course, it really felt like that broke things up and gave me a break in the middle.
Soon enough we were funneled unto the beach, heard Mike Reilly tell us to have a “perfect” day and that he couldn’t wait to call us all ironmen. The gun went off and I made my way down the beach to the water I wasn’t in a hurry because I wanted to avoid the more aggressive swimmers and to give myself a chance to get used to the water. I waded in to my waist and wasn’t too cold so I decided to go for it and start swimming. Thanks to adrenaline I wasn’t feeling too bad and didn’t get too much body contact until I rounded the first turn buoy.
I expected this area to be slow and congested so I took my time and made my way around slowly until I was headed back to shore. For some reason this was the worst part of the swim for me. I had a lot of contact during this part. One particular participant kept swimming over me and once punched me in the temple really hard, I saw stars for a few seconds and had to shake it off before really moving forward again.
Also at this point I was getting some pretty intense cramps in both legs, it made me nervous to be cramping SO badly so early in the race but I kept moving forward and soon enough I am standing up out of the water to run across the mat and start my second loop.
I glance at the clock and see 1 hr 20 something minutes and panic a little. The swim cut off is 2 hrs and 20 minutes if it took me and hour and twenty minutes to do one loop I was screwed! I didn’t think it had taken me that long but I wasn’t sure, A volunteer standing on the beach yelled that the time on the clock was the Pro’s time and we were at 40 something minutes. I felt good about that number and headed back out for my second loop. The swim out wasn’t too bad at first but then a storm rolled in, it got really windy and cold, there seemed to be huge waves to battle against and I couldn’t see the buoys easily. I made it to the turn where I really struggled to get around the first buoy because of a bad calf cramp, I pushed through and started my way back to shore. I was happy to be headed back to finish up the swim leg, I was cold and ready to be out of the water. I came out of the water at 1:39:25, it took me almost an hour to do the second loop, but I didn’t care I was happy to be out of the water before the cut off!