Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BEACH-2-BATTLESHIP FULL 140.6 - SWIM/T1


Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

- Eminem, Lose Yourself

RACE-DAY: THE SWIM
2.4 mile SWIM: 1:24:50 / T1: 12:63

Up at 3:40, I turned off the alarm so I wouldn't wake anybody and slipped into the bathroom where I sat on the side of the tub and ate my Peanutbutter and Fluff sandwhich, a bannana and drank some chocolate milk. Then I got dressed and gathered up my bags and Jim walked me down to the lobby to catch the Shuttle Bus to T1. I checked in and we walk outside where my husband of 8 months (he's also my partner of 9 years...) kissed me sweetly and wished me "a great race".
"I''ll see you at T1 and again at T2...You are ready." he said. I nearly lost it then but I knew he was right, I was ready and I kissed him one more time and got on the Shuttle Bus.

The bus was pretty quiet, with not alot of chatter at 4:45am. Lots of athletes chilling with their IPODS, getting into their own head-space. I just sat quietly and enjoyed the 15-minute ride, going over my plan for T1. When got there and I just went through my personal check list. First I dropped off my Special Needs Bags for the BIKE and RUN. Then I went and got Body-Marked (# 506) and then I dropped off my waterbottles on my bike, checked and pumped my tires and got in line for the Shuttle Trolley for the Beach. I wanted to get to the Beach Start as soon as I could so that I had time to wriggle into my wetsuit without feeling rushed.
I got on the first Trolley and ate my PowerBar - second mini breakfast of the day and in less than 10 minutes, the trolley pulled up to the beach 2.4 miles from T2 just as the sun was beginning to rise. It was a gorgeous sunrise and I made one last porto-potty stop and then moved to a group of benches where a bunch of us sat, talking and laughing as we waited for somebody to start the "wetsuit" wiggle.

At 6AM, as I had planned in my head, I pulled out my wetsuit and began to wiggle. As I put it on, I struck up a conversation with the woman next to me, Laura, who was doing the SWIM as part of an Ironman RELAY team. She had come all the way from Chicago to do the race and this was going to be her first time doing 2.4 miles, although she was an experienced open-water swimmer.

We had a great time talking and wiggling into our wetsuits and it was about that time that I saw Linae and called out to her. She came over to join us and we all just chattered away and helped each other into our suits. I took a GU at 6:40 and drank one last sip of Gatorade and then check with Linae to make sure that dumping Gatoraid into a sand-dune would not impact the environment. She said I was in the clear and then we wandered down to drop off our PRE/POST DRY BAGS. Linae and I gave each other one last HUG and wished each other "Good Luck" and headed for the BEACH and the water's edge.

I took about 5 minutes to actually get in the water, PRE-START, to get my face wet and get over the initial shock of cold water. It was surreal after being with the masses of IM USA back in July to be in a small group of about 600 triathletes, waiting for the start on the sandy beach. I stood with David, a fellow triathlete from MD, as they played the national anthem and then they started playing Eminen's "Lose Yourself" and as the music crested, we were OFF and on our way.

The "hype" of the BEACH2BATTLESHIP race is the "incoming tide/current assited swim" - it makes for some of the fastest swim times in any North American Ironman-distance race and it was incredible. I am not a "fast swimmer" at all. I am always in the back of the pack and it was no different in this race. Very quickly, the mass of swimmers was away and I was left to clear water with maybe 6-10 other swimmers in my sight. I just focused on counting strokes and moving forward and trying to find the "current". I never really felt like I found it but i did feel like I got to the TURN BOAT in a reasonable amount of time.

I remembered Ron's suggestion the day early that I should stay to the left and look for the green 18 marker, while keeping the TURN BOAT on my left shoulder as instructed for everybody. I hit that spot perfectly and WHOOSH! It was like a "water slide"...when I lifted my head to sight after about 50 strokes, I was already at the second turn and could actually see the FINISH LINE WIGGLY MAN just off in the distance. HOLY COW! I giggled, put my head down and counted another 50 strokes and looked up to see MR. WIGGLY now less than 200 yards away and I dared to do something that I try to NEVER DO during triathlon swims. I looked at my race watch.... 1:15 was the time on my watch! OH MY GOD! I was about to finish a 2.4 mile Ironman-distance swim in under 1:30. At that point I laughed out loud in delight, put my head down and made my way towards the docks and the ladders.

The funny part was that there was a bit of cross current before the ladders. As i swam for the closest ladder, I watched it slip away so I kick harder and pulled harder and eventually ended up at Ladder #4 of 6. That is how strong the current was...

I stumbled up the ladder with the help of volunteers and slowly jogged the long way to transition. It was at least another 400 yards to T1 from the docks and on my way I was pleasantly surprised to get cheered by name by some TEAM Z folks! That was a GREAT SURPRISE since there were very few of us at B2B since most of the team was racing IMFL down in Panama City.


Out of the water and heading to T1!

I chose to leave my wetsuit on until I got to the Transition tent and I think that helped keep me warmer in the cool air. Once in the tent, I got out of my wetsuit and changed into my Team FIGHT jersey, leg warmers and arm warmers and then just pulled on my shoes and helmet and went off to get my bike *Sunshine* and get on the road.

As usually, even with the fastest swim in my triathlon career, my bike was one of the last bikes on the rack but I didn't care - I was thrilled to be heading out on the BIKE. Jim and Cathy were right at the BIKE exit, camera and cow bell in hand to cheer me on and that made the smile on my face that much bigger!



Starting the Bike...

I was officially on the BIKE leg, my strongest sport of the three.

2 comments:

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

...and then check with Linae to make sure that dumping Gatoraid into a sand-dune would not impact the environment...


hahaha you are so cute!

Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point said...

im thinking of doing B2B Half this November and the race recap got me really excited!