Thursday, July 5, 2012

Coeur D'Alene Race Report- Swim

Yes, I needed to give two views of the swim to demonstrate completely what I am about to describe. 

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.)
By the time I reach the second red buoy I just take it wide and avoid all the slow aggressive guys.  If you watch the videos there are a massive amount of green caps - those are men.  You don't see many pink caps - girls - there are only 27% women in the race.  I end up losing a neoprene booty that Pete's aunt's sister let me borrow when I try to come out of the water to re-enter for my second loop (I'm still getting knocked around just not as much.)

 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.  ;) 

Getting Back into Training for Ironman CDA

I took a long break from blogging because I wasn't sure if all my triathlon speak was great for my readers.  I wish that I had kept writing more.  I'm still a wreck.  I lost the love of my life on April 19th.  We were training for Ironman Coeur D'Alene together with his best friend.  His best friend and I decided on May 3rd or so to continue on with the race.  Although I probably didn't really start to train again until May 19th. 

My first days back were very efforted.  It felt like I was dying also.  I wasn't eating or sleeping.  I kept having panic attacks.  I had shortness of breath even going up stairs so trying to get back into running was tough.  Swimming was a chore although I never admitted it to anyone.  And I'm a pretty natural swimmer.  But... evenutally I just kept plugging away and things eventually got better. 

With the support of Pete's best friends, his big brother, his parents, and my friends and family- it got easier.  It is pretty unbelievable how much love was shown.  I just wish that all the love in the world could bring him back to us. 

People came out in big ways.  Sending packages all the way from NC.  Coming out in groups to help us train on our long rides.  More people than normal showing up for the runs.  Providing financial support.  Tons of cards and flowers.  A lovely chicken noodle soup package.  Candles.  A friend who I hadn't seen much of took me to the spa.  Baskin Robbins gift card- I happen to live right next door to one.  Lots of dinners.  Taking time off of school and stopping work to come and take care of me - helping me plant things in the back yard.  Journals. Great self help books.   Borrowed artwork.  Family letting us stay in there house for the big events.   Welcoming my mom into their home with lots of love.  Children making me artwork. People letting me stay at their house when I was afraid to sleep at home.   House help since my Mr. Fix It is gone.  Work was wonderful about giving me time off.  A friend's family who I had never met drove to the race to support me for the swim.  Lots of advice/ mantras on how to complete the race.  I simply cannot think of everything but you can see how overwhelmed it is to try and make sure that you thank everyone appropriately.  I don't have everyone's addresses.

Thank you. I am eternally grateful.