After breakfast, we headed to transition to get body marked, weigh-in and to put my nutrition on my bike. Then it was back to the room for one last opportunity to sit on porcelain for the day before heading out to the swim start. It was also a bit chilly out, so it was nice to be waiting for the race start in the comfort and warmth of our room. The swim start was directly outside of our room so we could watch the sunrise and countdown to the race start without worrying about missing something.
After applying my Trislide, I put on my wetsuit and headed to the beach to join the other racers. The race start was delayed by 10 minutes because (I think) it was not quite light enough out to start the pro waves. Before I knew it they were corralling us at the swim start (where I ran into Trakkers teammate Laura!) and I was giving Douglas one last kiss before the shotgun indicating the start of the race.
No nerves here ...
A short 10 second countdown later and the gun went off and we were on our way into the water. The forecast was correct, the wind did change directions, and Lake Erie was much calmer than the day before. I knew from the day before that I would have to dolphin my way in for quite a bit because the water was shallow. The swim was 2 rectangles next to each other, so we were to do one 1.2 mile loop and then run a short way down the beach to do a second 1.2 mile loop.
Most of the racers near me were walking their way in and I turned to someone next to me and said, “I guess we are going to walk our way out to the first buoy” only to realize that it was my Trakkers teammate Jaime. A quick hug later and we were both on our way.
I settled into my swim much more quickly than I expected and was surprised at how much clear water I had around me. I caught myself several times thinking about the bike or the run and I quickly got myself to refocus on swimming. One buoy at a time. The further I swam away from shore, the choppier the water became and when I made the first turn to swim parallel to the shore, I could really feel the chop. Around this time I got kicked in the face which made me bite my tongue, but I just shook it off and kept swimming.
I was pretty happy with my sighting as I was doing a decent job of swimming on the buoy line. When I made the second turn to head back towards shore to finish the first loop I had a much harder time sighting because I could see the buoys for the second loop. At that point, I stopped sighting the buoys and started sighting the roller coasters on the shoreline instead.
I finished up the first loop and immediately saw Douglas as I was exiting the water. I love seeing Douglas along the course because it gives me a real pick me up. I exchanged a few words with a fellow racer and then started dolphining in again. I don’t know why, but the first loop always seems to fly by and the second loop seems to drag on, even when my splits are basically even (the same was true at IMFL).
Finishing 1st Loop
I did my best just to focus buoy to buoy and enjoy the water. I reminded myself during the second loop to be thankful to even have the opportunity and athleticism to be competing in an iron distance race.
As I was finishing up the last lap I got kicked in the face one last time and my goggles came off my eyes, so I had to stop momentarily to put them back on securely. I swam and dolphined as long as I could before walking in towards shore. I pulled down the top half of my wetsuit as I was running out of the water and into transition.
It was not my fastest swim (but faster than IMFL!), but it was within my desired range, so we’ll call it a success!
Loop 1 -- 42:34 (2:12 min pace)
Loop 2 – 42:55 (2:13 min pace)
Total Swim Time: 1:25:30 (2:13 pace)
41/67 Overall Women (including pros)
I exited that water and pulled my wetsuit down to my waist and then ran to the transition area. Thankfully, Rev3 had bins of water to step in to remove the sand from our feet. After a quick step in the water, it was off to the pegs to pick up my swim to bike transition bag. Of course, Douglas was there waiting for me which made the smile on my face from being finished with the swim that much bigger!
Side note: This is just one of the many things I thought Rev3 did that was more user friendly than Ironman branded races. Rather than having your bag “generally grouped” with a lot of other bags by number, you actually have two pegs from which to hang your transition bags so that you can quickly and easily retrieve them. Also, the transition area was set up much more very efficiently than IMFL, saving precious minutes in transition!
Peg Board with Transition Bags
Tip: My bags are the ones with the pink tape. Definiely do someting to make your bags stand out. This will especially help when retrieving your special need bags because they are not sorted by number!
I decided to take my wetsuit off next to the pegs before entering the changing tent because there was more room. My Trislide worked like a charm and my wetsuit slid right off with no problems.
With my wetsuit on my arm and my transition bag in my hand, I entered the changing tent to put on my cycling socks, shoes, bolero (arm warmers that are connected in the back), sunglasses and helmet while a great volunteer packed up all my swim gear. before retrieving my bike from my bike spot (which were labeled with the coolest labels that made me feel like a pro!).
How cool is this?
After one last wave to Douglas (who had dutifully run from the pegs to the bike out), I was off for a short little bike ride …
T1 Time: 4:24
As I started the bike portion of the race I was 6:01 ahead of my IMFL time.