A couple of minutes after my near panic attack, the big cannon went off and the next thing I new I was in the middle of the craziest, wildest water experience of my life. No one seemed to be swimming. Everyone seemed to be flopping around like fish out of water. I was one of them. There was absolutely no rhythm to my stroke. No form. No technique or calm breathing. It was complete and utter chaos. At one point a kayak had gotten caught in the middle of my race pack. We were all kind of just stuck until it could move. Some people were yelling at the poor gal, but I just patiently waited. It’s not like I was having a super speedy swim anyway……
When I got to the first buoy, I looked at my watch. It was about 17 mins. The other day it was 21.5 mins, so at least I was moving faster. Still not as fast as I had hoped for. It didn ’t really matter at that point though, the water conditions were crazy. The wind, waves and the non-existent ability for anyway to site where they were going had already thrown my swim game face off and my 1:06 top goal out the door. I was just going to be happy with whatever I ended up with.
The next big buoy turn was difficult. The current was taking you into shore, but you had to go about 200yards parallel to the beach first. A bunch of us had missed it and had to swim back out to go around the buoy. Of course I only realized this once I was on my way into shore and heard a couple of girls yell, “It’s THAT way,” as they pointed back out to the lake… Once we hit that it got quite a bit easier. If you could time it right, and hit the wave right you could get a good push back in. If you were off however, the water would come over your head and impede your breathing rhythm and almost make you feel sea sick.
Eventually I made it out of the water for the first loop in 37 mins. I figured I could do that again and it would be a 1:14-1:15swim. Unfortunately for me I felt like the second loop was harder. Even though their was more room to swim, you were fighting the waves with less help. My neck and arms started to cramp up from having such slopping form, so all I could think of was getting out of the water.
Finally…. I’m out of the water and on to T1 – Swim time: 1:18:30
T1 – 10:26
I don’t think I’ ve ever had 10+ mins go by so quickly. I actually had no idea how long I was in there. Now that I think about it, I’m thinking that my potty break was probably took just as long as my actually transition/changing time. We all know how fun it is to try to pull up and down SPANDEX when you are wet…..
I think was also in awe of my surroundings in the changing tent. Naked Wet people EVERYWHERE. Some people were shivering, struggling to regain their composure after that swim. The person next to me had a volunteer helping her. I was laughing internally at her requests or demands rather. I need help with my Bra. I need help pulling this over my head. I need… I need… She wasn ’t even very courteous. I actually wanted to slap some sense into the girl, but decided to refrain.
Leaving T1 I spotted my # 1 fan Carrie. I screamed to her and she must have yelled at the rest of our cheerleaders, because the cheering suddenly got louder and I was FIRED UP!
The first part of the bike was pretty fast. It was about a 12 mile loop. My focus was just to get my HR down from the swim and cold and try to get into a rhythm. I let a LOT of people pass me at this point, but I expected it. I was able to see Troy & Shane. I figured Troy would be out of the water before me, but I have to admit, once again I was pretty annoyed to see Shane. The little bastard swims faster than me in EVERY SINGLE RACE…..
I finally got my HR under control and was really feeling good. The air was cool and there was some wind, but I was pretty comfortable for the most part. My neck and shoulders were a lot more stiff from the swim than I expected, but nothing that I could not handle.
The best part was coming back through downtown CDA, near transition. The crowd support was phenomenal. Our group of fans were by far the best! They were decked out in BRIGHT orange EVERYTHING. The best part – my friend Carrie had a HUGE poster with my baby boy Baxter plastered on it. It was SO stinking cute….. It was my inspiration as I headed up into the hills of Hayden.
The first loop of the bike went by pretty quickly. I was definitely conservative with my speed and effort. I dropped to my easy gear on the hills, and didn ’t crank away on the downs. My focus was my nutrition. I was really really hungry, but I was afraid of over an under eating, so I stuck to my plan of eating every :40 mins. I wanted more food, but I was too nervous to screw anything up.
A really cool thing about this course is that you have a chance to see those ahead of you and behind you because of a few out and back portions. By mile 30ish I had seen everyone in our group: Troy, then Shane.... then Ric, then Momo, then Sara then Heather... Ric, Momo and Sara were very close to each other.
About 20miles into the ride I had to go potty. Every time I passed an aid station there was a line. I had hoped that I would be able to hold it until the halfway point, but at mile 45 I could no longer stay aero and was starting to lose time. So, I pulled over and waiting in line for about 3 mins before getting into a porta potty. I actually expected some of my group to catch up to me once I stopped for a potty break......, but I never saw them...
The aids at this stop were amazing. They held my bike, asked me how I was doing, if I needed anything… Thanked me for coming out there… then, even yelled to the oncoming bikes to move out of the way when it was my turn to head out.
They weren ’t the only great support. The entire community was full of inspiration. Nothing but good vibes and thank yous and loud cheers and clapping and singing…. The city of Coeur d’Alene and Hayden embraced us athletes with such encouragement and charisma that you felt like you were a celebrity. It was the most surreal feeling to be in such an incredible community of people.
After the first loop I was really feeling good. My legs were still 100% and I even with the hills the ride felt almost easy….. As I turned into town and saw my cheerleaders again, I embraced the experience, the momentum from the crowd. The energy from all the people that were spending their Sunday afternoon out there for US. I took that energy and brought it with me for the next 56miles…..
I kept waiting for the moment when I would be dying to get off of my bike. So many others had told me about it, and I just kept on waiting, but it never really happened. I was ready for a change, ready to get my bike shorts off, ready to get away from the GIRLS I’d been around that were peeing right in front of me on the bike…. So, I guess I was ready to start running, but not nearly as much as I imagined.
Maybe it was all the hills I had trained on. Maybe it was the bright yellow signs that my race support crew Stacey, Dave & Carrie spent the evening posting all over Hayden. Whatever it was, I got off my bike feeling fabulous. My only regret now would have been to give it a little more out there and improved my time some. I couldn ’t change anything about my potty breaks, but I think I could have put a little more effort out there on the road…. Live and learn though, right? It was my first Ironman, what the heck did I know? :-)