Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ironman Canada 2010 – The Swim

2 am.  I roll over and peek at my watch to see the time.  I still have just over an hour until my alarm is supposed to go off.  All of a sudden my brain says, “I’m doing Ironman today!”  And that is it.  My brain starts whirring and there is no going back to sleep now.  Instead I lie in bed until the alarm goes, then I jump out and get in the shower.  I realize the shower is a bit of a moot point, but I like to start my races fresh and clean.  I put on the clothes I plan to wear for the first two segments of the day – my Zoot cycling shorts and my Team Tri Life top.  I throw on some warm clothes that will eventually go into my dry clothes bag, grab my stuff and go.  My friend Tara was staying with me at my parents’ place in Kelowna so we head off in the car together, with the Boyfriend driving us to the start.  My parents will arrive a bit later.  The roads are dark and quiet and the drive goes by quickly.  I manage to eat my peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich along the way and drink some coffee.  Boy the coffee tastes good!

We find a parking spot along a residential street, fairly close to transition but away from the road closures.  We arrived at Main Street pretty quickly and I had to say goodbye to the Boyfriend as we entered the athlete only area.  I expected it to be harder, but we just said goodbye and perhaps “I’ll see you soon.”  As I walked away I realized I could still see clearly and I had forgotten to give him my glasses!  Oops!  Luckily he wasn’t too far away and I passed them off to him.  I’d mostly need my prescription sunglasses during the day and I didn’t want to risk losing my regular glasses.  Luckily I can see well enough without them that I can make do.

We dropped off our special needs bike and run bags into the appropriate cardboard boxes, then made our way to transition.  I found my bike and started loading nutrition on it – one bottle of regular strength Infinit in my aero bottle, one four hour bottle of concentrate in a bottle cage.  Peanut butter wraps and pretzels in the bento box.  I gave the tires a squeeze and they felt fine so I didn’t bother taking them over to bike support to have them pumped.  Tara’s tires hadn’t lost any pressure overnight so I was sure that mine were fine too.  After that it was time to start the porta-potty dance!  I kept finding friends and teammates in transition.  I also ate a banana and sipped on a bit of Infinit to make sure I would be properly fuelled.  After all, it would be a long time between my peanut butter sandwich and when I’d first be able to eat on the bike.  Pretty soon it was 6:15 and it was time to get the wetsuit on.  My friend Kelly and I made our way onto the beach together and right away I spotted the Boyfriend, right up by the railing.  I ran over and gave him a hug and then I was almost ready to cry.  I got in the water, got wet, checked the goggles were working and then the pros were off at 6:45.  The final 15 minutes until the age groupers were to go flew by.  All of sudden it was 7 am and it was go time!!IMGP0460I walked through the water and underneath the flags signalling the start line.  A lot of people were still walking so I followed suit as I didn’t want to swim into a bunch of legs.  Finally more and more people ahead were swimming so I started swimming too.IMGP0468IMGP0472I quickly found a rhythm, bilateral breathing.  I kept repeating in my head, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” over and over again.  I just needed to focus on swimming and nothing else.  I started around the middle of beach and I wound up swimming quite close to the buoys.  Inevitably folks would reach the buoys, pop their heads up and start breast stroking.  I had to be careful not to get kicked in the face.  A couple people were a bit aggressive out there, pulling arms and legs, but as we spaced out it got better.  The buoys were all numbered…13 out to the first house boat I think?  At the house boat there were all kinds of folks on board cheering and it was awesome!!  I turned the corner and swam to the second house boat with more people cheering.  It went by so quickly.  It looked like the folks on the house boat were having a BBQ?  I bet it was yummy.  As I turned the corner I spotted a diver below.  I tried to wave at him or her but I don’t think they saw me.  At this point I decided to take a peak at my watch.  I was floored, it was way earlier than I anticipated.  On the way back I was having trouble sighting and found myself veering of course a bit.  Luckily it wasn’t too bad, I’d just notice from time to time that there wasn’t anyone beside me.  Finally I was past the last few buoys and the water was getting shallow.  I could touch the bottom, but the bottom consisted of big huge rocks.  People around me were walking but I didn’t want to walk over big, uncomfortable rocks so I just kept swimming until the last possible moment.  I stood up, stumbled over the rocky bottom and made my way up the beach.  As I walked out of the water I unzipped my suit and had it down over my arms and at my waist to make things easier on the wetsuit strippers ahead.  The crowd was amazing!  People were standing in the water, cheering us on and it was so loud.  Steve King said my name as I crossed over the timing mat.  Ironman swim done – check!

3800 m swim – 1:33:56 – a good 10 minutes faster than I figured it would take!

I had checked my prescription sunglasses in at the table right at the swim exit.  They had marked my left cheek with green zinc sunscreen and as soon as the volunteers saw me they had my glasses out and handed to me.  I pointed at two wetsuit strippers and they had my wetsuit off quickly.  They helped me up, handed me back my suit and I ran to find my bag.  Luckily I was very near the front of my row for bags so I grabbed it quickly and ran into the change tent.  A volunteer came over right away, told me where to sit and proceeded to go through all of the gear in my bag.  Helmet, socks, bike shoes, Garmin.  I had a wet washcloth in a Ziploc bag to rub my face with (and to make sure I could rub that green zinc off).  I had a small towel in there to dry my feet and get rid of any grass before I put my socks on.  I decided to forgo my arm warmers.  I sprayed my face and shoulders with a small bottle of sunscreen, then I was outta there!  Luckily my bike was super easy to find as it was at the very end of its rack (and well, let’s not kid, a lot of the bikes around mine were already gone).  I turned my Garmin on, grabbed the bike and walked out.  Overall a pretty efficient transition I think!

T1 – 5:37

19 comments:

aron said...

ahhhh love it so far :) IM swims are so intense!! you did amazing and i love all the details of the report... cant wait for the next part!

Wes said...

an auspicious start! don't you love it when all the taper tension somes out in a great swim! Ten minutes better is awesome! I believe mine was about the same :-D MORE PLEASE!!

Heather said...

So exciting!

Marlene said...

I am tearing up reading this! It must have been such a thrilling day all around. So much support!!!

Way to rock the swim and transition - what a super start to your big day!!!

Alisa said...

Great start to a great day!

It's always nice to see a faster than anticipated time.

Can't wait to hear more.

Beth said...

Woo-hoo! Off to a great start - can't wait to read the next installment! ;)

Petraruns said...

OMG This is great! I am loving this! Get the next instalment out there soon!

Marci said...

Lovin' your series of reports Leana! Great work on the swim - sounds like you executed it perfectly.

lilmeg said...

EEEK! Sounds awesome! Love that you waived to the diver!

Nikki said...

So far so good Leana! Even though it's the shortest segment, I've always thought the swim would be the hardest part for me.

Bob Almighty said...

Good report can't wait to hear about the bike and the run.

lindsay said...

soo exciting:) i felt your pre-race nerves too! great job on the swim. that's pretty cool about how they even organize prescription glasses, although then again it does make sense as plenty of people don't have perfect vision (myself included!)

Julie said...

I hope I didn't creep you out TOO much race morning when I kept hugging you every time I saw you! LOL!!!

You did amazing, Leana!!

Running~Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Running~Jordan said...

spelled your name wrong!

Leana! Stop keeping us hanging!! I tracked you all day, very happy to read about your race... so hurry up get writing the rest :)

innovatel said...

WOW! The first step is fantastic ... now I'm going to read the second :)

Sassy Molassy said...

Great recap of the swim! Can't wait to hear the rest. Good work on finishing!

Tea said...

AMAZING swim time! (Those strippers are the best aren't they?)

Badgergirl said...

Sounds like a great swim!