i wasn't sure how to set the hotel alarm clock, so i requested a 4 am wake up call. when the call came, i was in the middle of some weird non-race related dream and was seriously disoriented. it literally took a few minutes for me to realize where i was and more importantly why and what i was doing there.
i jumped into the shower to wake up, quickly changed and hauled myself and gear down to the lobby in search of coffee. other team mates were milling around and after securing my star bucks and instant oatmeal, before i knew it we were headed out into the dark misty morning to ride the 3 mile path to the transition area.
i picked up my race packet the day before and listened to a few pointers on the swim from 2 pro athletes and went for a swim with a few team mates. the water was calm, much like it had been a few weeks earlier when we came down to practice. the race buoys weren't set up yet and there was much debate on the actual course. the uncertainty of the course stressed me out a bit, i just needed a visual. the buoys i could see were way the hell out there and i started to get uneasy. peter, one of the mentors took it all in stride and led the small ban of swimmers in a 30 minute swim. despite the uncertainty of the course, i grew less anxious, in the water i felt comfortable, the familiarity gained from previous practice and swimming in my Lake Anza assured me i was going to be fine.
The Big Bad Swim
arriving at the transition area at 6am, we were greeted with entirely different swim conditions. the tide was coming in, the water was anything but flat and calm. the swells were HUGE. i really really started having doubts about whether or not i would get in. watching the first few waves go out, bodies were bobbing up and down. my wave didn't go out until 9:15 and fortunately things had calmed down a little by then but the conditions were nothing like what they had been during practice and while the water wasn't churning like earlier, the swells were still really really BIG.
coach seth asked me what my strategy was and i too quickly replied, "get it done", he then suggested i take it easy until the second half of the bike. ....5,4,3,2,1 the gun goes off and it seemed that my fear gave way to adrenalin and before i knew i was rounding the first buoy, each buoy 225 yds apart. i made a mental note of coach seths advice to slow down and when i completed the first loop (the first of many on this loopy course) i was surprised to feel good and totally confident that i could complete the second loop of this infernal swim. i swam a mile for the first time only a few weeks ago and it took me an hour and a half, so i was really pleased when i got out of the water in 00:50:30.
T1 5 plus mins, my transition area was right near the bike out so that was cool,once my fingers regained some feeling i managed to get out of the wetsuit, grabbed a dry shirt...helped a girl get into her wet tangled singlet an then took off.
i really fell in love with my bike this summer and the ride was pure bliss. i had a smile on my face the entire course which consisted of (4) 6 mile loops. i averaged 24 min loops and finished in 01:37:56 boo ya! i managed to forget my sun glasses but the overcast never burned off so it was all good.
T2 4mins pulling off my bike shoe, i noticed blood on my left big toe. i then decided NOT to change socks and crammed my running shoes on for fear of making something out of nothing...turned out to be a good call, later when i did take a look it was a teeny tiny blood blister ...it didn't bother me on the run...not that the run was pleasant by any means but the blister was not the culprit...just my lack of running in general.
off all 3 disciplines, running was most neglected this season and it showed. The (3) 2 mile loops were monotonous and i just wanted it to be over. i took a few walk breaks so i could finish with some semblance of dignity, run done! 01:12:12
i met my goal for under 4 hours by 10 minutes. i'm most proud of my swim, i really can't believe i did it. i free styled the whole time, not needing to roll over or back float once. not that there's any shame in that at all! hell, you do what gotta do but i've struggled for so long to get comfortable with swimming and i am still a stunned at the conditions i found myself in on saturday. i think i will be for a long time.