As part of the swim-smart initiative, they grouped us in corrals, in groups from sub-60, 1:00-1:15, 1:15-1:30 etc. I was shooting for somewhere sub-1:15 so I put myself in the 1:00-1:15 group and then put myself somewhere in the center of that pack. I have no idea if this was a smart idea, but it's what I did.
|I was only able to find myself in this picture because I was standing next to |
my friend Dimity. And Dimity is crazy-tall. Just trust me, we're both in there.
Compared to the IMTX mass start in 2011, this was very anti-climatic. The cannon went off and people started moving forward, like cattle. I think I crossed the timing mat somewhere around 6:37(?), I hit my watch and then went into the water, which was a balmy (for CDA) 62 degrees.
At the athlete meeting, they said that the yellow and orange buoys were numbered 1 through 9. Not so much for us as for rescue operations ("rescue at yellow buoy 8"). I thought I would manage to look at the buoys and see the numbers, to tell where I was, but I didn't really manage to do that. Instead I just kept looking for feet and swimming.
|swim start, ala "swim safe initiative"|
On the way back, I found some feet and just kept looking down and swimming. Then I realized I was inside the orange buoys. Oops. Well, I decided to keep my feet and hang just inside them. Besides, the water was cleaner here with less people. And I had good feet!
We were nearing the shore and things were getting more crowded, but still ok. My hand hit sand and I stood up, got out of the water, and ran over the timing mat. I glanced at my watch. Loop #1 (1.2 miles) was ~35 minutes. A potental PR. Sweet! And on target for a fast swim.
People were taking their sweet time on the beach, rounding the curve and getting back in the water. I decided to jog (it was a race) and my left foot decided to smack right into some guy's heel. Or that's what I'm assuming happened.
I got back into the water, knee-deep and I dolphin dove in and went to work finding feet again. I had a bit of a harder time finding good feet this time around. They kept disappearing on me (too fast) or people would cut me off and I'd loose the feet. And my left foot was a bit sore. I remember thinking "hmm, I think I did something back there on the beach... good thing this water is cold.... oh hey, my foot is numb, sweet!".
The sun also decided to come out (it was foggy and cloudy at the start), so I had to be selective with what side I breathed on so I didn't get too blinded. Again, the second loop was no big deal. I found feet, I lost feet, I sped up to try and keep feet, and I just swam. I don't think my effort was high - I was on cruise - but I did play with speed a bit out of boredom or to keep my feet. The turn was again a breeze for me, and then it was time to head home.
|not very crowded at all at the start|
I could hear announcers and music, I could see the big red Swim Exit arch and I just focused on heading that way. Pretty soon, my hand hit sand, and I was on my feet. I looked at my watch and saw 1:13. Holy wow, I just cut 7 min off my Ironman swim time. And I was really close to my "awesome" time goal of 1:12. This whole thing of finding feet and swimming must really work for me, I swim much faster when I do that.
Then it was a quick run up the beach, where I saw my friend Cristin and crew, where I think I suprised them with my speed. I yelled I was happy with my time as I passed her. Funny sidenote, Will and Jose (my sherpas) were really confused over my fast swim time and were trying hard to figure out how I did that. I'm not sure to be upset in their lack of faith in my swimming or happy that I gave them something to ponder.
After the beach, I grabbed my blue bike bag from the long rows of transitions and trotted to the change tent (again, people were walking. ugh). I was lucky and I got a whole human to myself in the change tent. She emptied my bag and offered me my options. Sort of like a buffet, but with my stuff. I opted to wear only my Cool Wings (which SUCK to put on when you're wet). And I wanted sunscreen on my face. My human was so awesome, she dried my face with a towel before I applied the sunscreen, to ensure that the sunscreen would stick. How awesome is that? Then I was ready to go. She had me leave my stuff for her to pack and stow away. I love the change tent volunteers. So. Much.
Then it was time to find Merlin and go on a little 112 hilly ride.
1.2 mi - 35:41, 1:50/100 m pace
2.4 mi - 37:53, 1:57/100 m pace
Swim overall time - 1:13:34, 1:54/100 m pace
AG: 25 / 112 (SWEET)
OA: 1605 / 2318