First Let’s Talk About Saturday…
So I normally wouldn’t talk about racking my bike but something kind of crazy happened.
I racked my bike and carried my bike and run bags over to the racks and walked away. I was almost out of the transition area when the random thought came to me – I should probably tighten up my cleats on my bike shoes just to be sure.
So I go in my bag and grab my bike shoes and…my right cleat is broken clean off. I must have done it walking back to my room after my test ride.
Crap. Good freaking thing I checked.
I took my shoes out of the bag, and got my butt over to High Peaks Cyclery. I kind of figured I was screwed, it is the day before Ironman, the place is swarmed with athletes in varying stages of panic who have mechanical problems the day before the race.
I walked in and was immediately helped by someone. They had 1 set of my cleats left in the store. I asked for a screwdriver and he sent me to the back where the guys took my stinky bike shoes from me and put the new cleats on.
Thanks guys, you are the best.
I ran back to transition – first to my bike, to test that my cleats work (they did) and then to the racks to put my shoes in the bag.
Basically I then headed back to the hotel and sat on my butt for the rest of the day.
I was met there by my awesome, amazing, wonderful friends Adam and Shelby who drove 10 freaking hours to come see me race.
10 FREAKING HOURS!!! To watch ME!?!
You guys are the freaking best. Thank you so much! It totally made my night to see them.
Lucky, lucky me!! I went to bed thinking about how grateful I am to have so many awesome people in my life as I fell asleep that night.
Well, who really sleeps the night before an Ironman?
The alarm went off at 3:30 am. The swim start was between 6:30 and 7:00 and I wanted to get some food in me about 3 hours before the start.
I laid back down, wide awake.
Transition opened at 4:30am and while I thought it was kind of crazy to get there that early, I couldn’t get back to sleep so Mom and I drove down.
Thanks Mom for getting up stupid early to drop me off and wait, cheer, and wait for me for the rest of the day. YOU are the BEST!
I got body marked, pumped up my bike tires, checked my bags, and walked approximately 2oo miles to drop off my bike and run special needs bags.
By then I could see everyone making their way over to the beach, so I followed them over.
I noted the bomb sniffing dogs around and thought it was kind of sad that it is a necessity at big events these days.
I chatted with people on the beach, eventually pulled on my wetsuit and put myself into the corral marked 1:30-1:45. I worked my way to the outside of the crowd, I like to be on the outside instead of boxed in.
Everyone was chatting nervously about what this rolling start was going to be like. I have fond memories of my 2011 swim, I had a beautiful swim, pretty much zero contact, and it was just…perfect.
I guess I thought this would be similar.
The pros went, but you couldn’t see them from the corral. I remember in 2011 you could see them and it was pretty fun to watch them get around the loop so fast.
We waited, I was blinded by the sea of people taller than me.
Then a gun went off!!!
And we just stood there.
I think it took about 15 minutes for my corral to be allowed to “roll” into the water. It was torturous.
I got in and started stroking, and immediately was punched in the head. I looked up and got elbowed in the eye. People were grabbing my legs, swimming over my back, pinching me off, and the dude breast stroking kicked me in the leg.
One person grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back. He got an elbow to his ribs.
I have done 2 IM mass swim starts, and never had one as rough as this.
I was getting pissed.
It was ridiculous. When I wasn’t getting punched, kicked, or getting my feet grabbed, I would get stopped dead by a line of feet zigzagging back and forth making it nearly impossible to pass.
I finally started forcefully making my own space, which is something I have never done before. I would Tarzan a few strokes to look, find an opening and put my head down and go for it, keeping my clean water until someone started punching or kicking me again. Then I would do it again.
I figured that after that first turn buoy, it would get better.
So then I figured it would all shake out after the first loop.
It got a little better. I still did a lot of sighting to get around people, I got hit a few more times.
I was pretty annoyed. But you know, you just put your head down and keep working at it.
I finished my second loop, ran out of the water, ripping off my swim cap and goggles as I ran. I pulled my suit down to my hips as I ran to the wetsuit strippers. I picked the biggest guy there and said, “I want you! Strip me!” and I threw my feet up in the air. He said, “Sure thing honey!” and stripped my wetsuit off and handed it to me.
I felt good, I looked at my watch – it said 1:24 – after stripping.
Holy crap. I seeded myself in the wrong wave! I didn’t know I could swim like that.
I ran towards transition and my bike, smiling and waving at the crowd as I went.
Coming next! Ironman Lake Placid – The Bike!