Friday, September 3, 2010

Ironman - The Swim

Standing knee high in water as we all sang O Canada together I teared up in my googles just as I was told I would. I wasn't thinking about strategy or about anything else that would come my way in the hours ahead. Instead, I stuck true to my only Ironman goal - be present. The target was to finish, but the goal was to stay present and experience every moment of the day. I deserved that.

The cannon shot and away we went. I stayed back and took my time, I figured that it was going to be messy anywhere I went (left, right or middle) so I just hung back. I got into the mess of things and a mess it was. Arms, legs, bodies flailing, this could have very easily been panic inducing and again I found myself thanking whatever swimming god it was that gave me calm nerves in water. I never seem to panic in the chaos of race starts and I was particularly thankful for that again on this morning. It took a while to actually start swimming, and when we did, it was very, very slow. There were just too many people to get around. Eventually though, I was able to find some sort of rhythm. I looked a few different places for a good draft but every pair of feet I found were moving entirely too slow (even for me). I did eventually find a nice pair of feet moving at a perfect pace. He was cruising along and cutting a path, dodging and weaving through swimmers so that I didn't have to. I affectionately dubbed him "Captain Okanagan" and as long as I stayed on those toes, it was easy sailing for the Captain and I.

I lost the Captain at the first buoy and right turn (the buoys are actually houseboats - no way you can miss these suckers). We got caught up in the bottle neck and I was all by myself on the other side. Oh well - it was nice while it lasted. I did a quick time check just after the turn and the clock read 33 min, or maybe 36min, I don't remember. All I remember was feeling stoked that I was still feeling great and that the pace was perfect.

The next 400m I swam almost alone. Just chillin', swimmin', staying calm and carrying on.

Rounding the next buoy pointed us in the direction of home and the final 1800m. Things started to get fairly rough here again. I think at this point people start to get a little tired and start to swim a little less straight and a little more curvy and swruvey. I know I do when I'm tired, so maybe it was just me bumping into more people… Anyhow, I couldn't find another good draft again, I looked in a few different places, but I was either getting bumped off by someone else or we just weren't jiving in pace. I decided to just stay focused on my own swim and stopped wasting mental energy looking around for a draft. It almost felt unnecessary anyway because the entire body of water was moving in one direction. If you've ever swam in a lake or ocean and let the waves take you into shore, it was like constantly swimming in that kind of moving water. I think if I stopped swimming, I'd probably keep moving anyway :)

I was happily swimming by myself watching the two tall condos on the beach get closer and closer with every sighting. It never did get calmer and in fact, I took a big thump to the abdomen when I got too close to another guy. I must have zigged when he zagged and somehow I was over his feet and took a nice hard kick in the guts. I wasn't shaken, it just kept me happier to be swimming alone and not fight for a draft or positioning. The end was near anyhow.

Coming out of the water I stood up and walked in through knee high water with a big stupid smile on my face and announced to the entire crowd "that was AWWESOMMME!" They must have liked it cause it got them cheering. Standing on sand again I heard Rudy (my Mom's good friend) yell too me from the side lines. So good to see faces you know cheering you on.

SWIM: 1:21min

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