Friday, August 14, 2015

IMLP Race Report - The Swim

Alarm went off at 4:00. I slammed down my first cup of coffee and got dressed, my kit carefully laid out the day before, of course. Because of all my OCD prep work, it didn't take long to be ready to head out the door, special needs bags, pump, swim gear, and breakfast in hand.

First stop was body marking. Just like 2012 I ate while the dude got busy with a Sharpie. I may or may not have spilled more than a few grains of rice on his head. 


Next stop was transition. This took approximately 234,029 times longer than it should have because that short valve on my rear tube was just not cooperating. After multiple tries that resulted in deflating it entirely, I finally got it up to 90 PSI and was good to go.

After that, I met my good friend Wes near the beach. We started together in 2012 and although he would be seeding himself further up than me in the new "streaming" start, it was good to see him before the race. He does the race every year and his calmness definitely helped me.

Pre-race is always better with a friend.
After kicking around and chatting for awhile, it was time to get in the water and then line up. I took one last photo with Dr. Z., gave him a kiss, and dove into the sea of people massed around the beach.

This IS his happy face.

I waded into the water and while the temperature was just fine, I got an inkling of the first major issue of the day. The water was completely contaminated from the fire the night before. They had tested the water that morning, but it was brown and had a scary chemical taste. I went right into troubleshooting mode but the only things I could come up with were "Rinse out your mouth with Skratch the second you get on the bike" and "Try to swallow as little water as possible." I was unhappy, but didn't freak out, which is a big step for me.

My massage therapist Tim managed to find me in line (I have no idea how he did that), and I got one last friendly hug before the wait began. The cannon boomed and...

,...nothing.

I had seeded myself near the front of the 1:45-2:00 group, and we didn't even move for the first five minutes or so, which seems an eternity when you're waiting to start an Ironman. After 15 minutes we finally hit the water, and it was the most insane battering I have ever taken in a race. I was also having trouble getting into the right mindset. I was totally over swimming before we even hit the first turnaround. Yes, I was near the buoy but I just couldn't find a good way to get around or away from people.

One thing I love about the IMLP swim is that you can slowly hear Mike Reilly's voice get louder and louder as you get closer to shore. I was so happy to finish my first loop but also not looking forward to having to do a second one. I wasn't tired or anything, just mentally not in "GRRRRR" mode and sick of all the contact, not to mention the disgusting water.

The second loop I tried to put a little more "Oomph" into my stroke and find feet, all part of my race plan, but while I "dated around" I never did find any feet that really worked for me.

When I finally hit land again and saw 2:03 or so on the race clock, I was horrified and pissed. Although it turns out I had PRed by a few seconds, I had misjudged when I got in the water and thought I had swam a 1:50.  Swimming about the same as 2012 was still very disappointing giving my open water times in training.

Matters weren't helped when my wetsuit got stuck and even the peelers had trouble, which used up more time. In fact, the band of my lap watch (which I was using for race time) got messed up, and since it was no longer displaying the race clock properly anyways, I handed it off to Dr. Z. as I ran towards T1.

I look pissed off (I am) and 50 (I'm not).

Swim: 1:46:18, 96 AG, 593 Women, 2208 OA. (Yes, I know. One of the last out of the water.

So grabbed my bag and ran into the change tent. This year I decided take the time to wear the Magic Bike Shorts and use chamois cream in hopes of being more comfortable and minimizing damage to the undercarriage. It made for a very slow (for me) transition, but my helper was awesome and got me out of there as quickly as she could. Unfortunately I did have to wait for my bike a bit, but soon enough I was rolling. Quickly rinsed out my mouth as planned and on my way for a little 112 mile spin.

T1: 7:53 (The only split I DIDN'T PR.)

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