Chapter 1. hocus pocus keeps you warm and positive self-talk
i rode the bus down to T1 with katya and we were so proud of ourselves for acutally being on time. we sat in the little schoolbus seat, finishing our breakfast and kept it pretty mellow. we attempted to plug our ears at the people around talking about hypothermia and other horror stories. really, do you have to go there right before we plunge into the 54 degree abyss?
at the reservoir, i got my tires pumped up by the mechanics (thank you!), met some fine folks from blog-land, and put on my wetsuit with liz and whitney from breakway training. now, i already had decided to triple-cap it (silicone cap, neoprene cap, then race cap) but whit and liz offered a little extra last minute hocus pocus that i jumped on. "rub vaseline all over your face to keep warm". uh, "OK!" so there i was with an inch of grease on my face trotting down to the reservoir. i always feel more nervous inside before the swim than others around me look. i found Monique and chatted with her. she was cool and mellow as always and i felt like a freak show, with mounting anxiety about the cold and my longest swim ever. but, there was no turning back.
i was going to do this. the pros had gone off and i kept checking my watch. very few people were getting in the water, choosing instead to stand on shore and savor the last few minutes of dry, warmer land. with 5 minutes to spare, i hopped in and swam to front and center like i owned the place. it wasn't hard. there were only a few hundred folks in the water. i think this probably set me up for a nice swim. i treaded for a minute and unexpectedly heard a canon. nobody was prepared. i saw a ton of surprised faces look left then right the bolt towards the first buoy. game on!
i swam in huge packs the entire race. it was super claustrophobic and i was dying for some clear water by the second half but i am a professional swim drafter and just went with the flow. i pretended i was a salmon in the babbling brook and being taken downstream. no, i'm not kidding. the ironman folks are brutal. i was elbowed, kicked, pushed, and most alarmingly, grabbed around the waist and pulled under like i was being dunked. WTF?!?! i actually convinced myself that this could be some scary mass murderer sicko out there and tried to swim away. haha. ironman hallucinations early on, i guess! anyway, the swim is a huge rectangle, the longest section of which is 1600. when i reached that section i told myself, "you can do it. it's just like the broken miles coach Tom makes us do seemingly everywednesday morning (and i make fun of him every wednesday with the whole, "hmmm...let me guess, Tom, broken miles?) well, i have Tom to thank because in those broken miles we get hardly any rest and i just pretended i was at swim practice. after the 1600 section, we made a turn which i thought was the second to last turn (guess i need a geometry lesson). i thought i had about 1200 to go. so i told myself, "6X200 on base. got it. no problem". then all of a sudden i start hearing people and i stopped looking at the bubbles in front of me, popped my head up and we were 300 yds from shore! heck yes! i had no clue. great surprise. i ran out, saw 1:04 on the clock and was beaming. for me, i expected 1:05-1:10 and was pleasantly surprised. turns out second in my age group as well. so about that hocus pocus and the laughs i got for 3 swim caps. i may have been smeared in petroleum jelly and triple-capped- but i wasn't cold! hearing afterwards that near 50 people were pulled for hypothermia and many people didnt warm up for the first hour on the bike, i think the hocus pocus was a fabulous call.
Chapter 2. how not to T1
ran into the tent and stripped down. my bag had tons of stuff that the volunteer tried to help me with, but i was fumbling all over the place with frozen fingers. i threw on my bike kit, arm warmers, socks, gloves in my pockets, tried to put on my vest but it broke so i took it off...this all took a while because i couldnt make the fingers work. finally strapped on my helmet and glasses and ran outside of the tent. i was very confused. i saw a bunch of kid volunteers but no bikes. WTF? i start the chicken with head cut off dance, running in circles, nicely yelling, "ummm...where the bikes?" eventually i figure out that people are trying to usher (herd?) me back in the tent. yeah. guess i ran out the wrong side...bikes were on the other side of the tent. so i run to my bike and try to grab my garmin but the stupid strap is broken. ergh. since i want to race with my heart rate, this is a bummer, but i know that ironman is all about adapting, so i shove it in my sports bra and head out of T1 to the mount line. after i got on my bike, i pulled out the garmin (to check and see if it was still broken? who knows, maybe i thought i could jimmy it or something). anyhow. i dropped it. rode 10 yds. and realized i needed to go back and get it. stopped my bike in the middle of the road (sorry!) and ran back for garmin. smooth. very smooth. between the vest breaking, garmin breaking, dropping garmin, running out the tent the wrong way, i was glad to be out of the cluster and on to the open road. or so i thought....