For those of you who have done an Ironman before... you probably know me and know that I am a pretty comfortable swimmer. I never worry about that part. So you will know how surprised I was to find the swim so difficult.
For those of you who haven't done an Ironman... yes it was as scary as it looks.
The water temperature on race day was 54 degrees - aka "bootie legal". Almost all of the racers wore neoprene sock booties (wetsuits for your feet), neoprene swim caps, and full sleeved wetsuits.
Normally before any race I like to get in the water and warm up a bit. I like to adjust my body to the temperature of the water so that I'm not surprised when I get in for the race. They didn't let us really get in further than knee deep. So I kept squatting down and sticking my face in the water.
For the start Pete wanted me to start out in the front so that I could avoid the pack of crazies that were all aggressive but really in honesty can't swim. Mary kept reminding me of that. Andy sounded game for it. So I thought ok I'll go out in the front and start kind of on the side. But the more people kept piling in to the beach, the more Andy and I started to become near the center.
So the gun goes off and I start to swim and there is a massive amount of people around me. And its cold. Each time I try to stroke I run into someone slower. Each time I try to slow down for the person in front of me to actually swim, I get bumped from behind. I start to panic a little but really I just want to get a good breath. I keep getting knocked around. So then I try to swim but I haven't caught my breath. And the cycle continues for the first 3/4 of the first lap. I seriously think to myself that maybe I can't do this. Maybe I need to turn around and forget this whole thing. VERY UNLIKE ME!
(If I had thought more clearly I would have realized that since 4/19/12 I have been having panic attacks in large crowds. I don't know why or where it is stemming from. Maybe I should have started out in the back or on the very edge of the pack. Should, coulda, woulda. Oh well.)
The second loop goes much smoother for me because I'm taking it wide. My 2nd swim lap split is 2 minutes slower than my first lap. That surprises me a little bit.
My friend Niki had her family come out to the race to watch me. These people have never met me. So Niki said raise your hand up when you come out of the water so that my parents will know who you are. Isn't that the sweetest thing? This is the photo that they grabbed of me.
I think my face was red mostly from the cold but I can't be sure.
Swim time was 1:10:08. It could have been better. And it could have been worse. 80 people were dragged out of the water for hypothermia. One guy had a stroke during the swim. But the contact part of the sport was done.
Oh did I mention that Andy and I made it into the Coeur D'Alene newspaper? We did. Its not a very flattering photo though so I'm not sharing. ;)