18mph winds with gusts. 55 air temp 62 water temp.
62 degree water. Looking at it, not so choppy. In the water, a different story. We watched the pros go off and stood on a boat dock. Used waterhose to put some water in my wetsuit, as it always helps me to get wet before colder races. That way I don’t jump in and panic.
My wave was the last one of the Olympic. I started getting that sick nauseous feeling while standing in line. As we got to the dock waiting our turn, I noticed a lot of people were swinging out wide instead of going straight to the buoy. I sat down on floating dock, six of us in at one time. Alarm goes off, we jump in. I immediately try to breaststroke, to get a little bit more comfortable before putting my face in the water. Well, the wind was coming straight at us, so the chop was straight at us. I tried swimming normally, backstroked, No go. All water in my face all the time. I swallowed half the harbor, and begin wheezing, sounded like maybe I had aspirated. Then, I panicked. I never stopped moving, just slowed and took a few breaths. “FORWARD PROGRESS.” Always Always on my mind. I heard people yelling help, I saw a couple people being taken in by jet ski. And I wanted on that damn jet ski. I wanted out of the water, because I knew I would be in the water forever. FOREVER. I considered it, I looked at kayak, they came over. By then I had figured the only way for me to even get close to that first turn buoy, I had to side stroke. She asked if I was doing okay and I said THIS SUCKS. She told me to keep moving , I was doing great. So, I kept moving. It took forever to get to that first buoy, but in the meantime I passed 4 people. WOOPWOOP. Let me say this, I use side stroking in my cool downs and some of my “nonfree” swim workouts. It’s a good damn thing. I used a lot of breaststroking, too, just tried to get my head out of the water high enough. So, I’m still thinking I want to quit. Had enough. BUT my pride wouldn’t let me. After thinking about this today, that swim portion was HUGE in my mind. I didn’t quit. I couldn’t quit! I was able to swim normally once I turned around buoy, as the wind was coming from behind now. Out of all the area to swim ( cause there was NOT MANY people left in the water) a girl runs into me from behind, no worries though, I’m finally used to being grabbed, but able to keep going. Get to second buoy, and there’s a girl hanging on to the back of it. I just yelled FORWARD PROGRESS. Im not sure what she was doing, if she was having second thoughts , because I was having them again. Reason: My body started having a very strange feeling. Started feeling heavy, and my arms were acting kinda funny. I wondered about hypothermia, and stared ahead of me while treading water, cause I guess I forgot what the hell I was doing. Kayaker behind me yelled. GO TO THE YELLOW BUOY. Phew! Glad someone knows what we were doing out there. By then, I was able to swim a little better, so I just swam. Slowly. Way slower than normal, but my goal now was to get out of the damn water. I’d had enough. Last turn buoy to the right, straight to the stairs. Got to stairs, couldn’t get legs up. COULDN’T feel them! Of course I always take the opportunity to bring attention to myself at times like that, so I told everyone how choppy it was.
Finally get into transistion and watch a lady basically body color ashen (nurse in me cant help it), and she was shaking like CRAZY. Not seizure crazy, but cold. I think she had a wetsuit. She was taken care of, so I was able to go ahead and carry on. Yes. I took FOREVER in transition. I don’t know why, but I did.
Get on bike. YAY.
Or so I thought. Tailwind the first 2 miles and to help us over the bridge. At the bottom of the bridge, there was sharp curve that turned into an S curve. BAM. Crosswind. I spent a lot of times locked in so much, my neck hurts. Couldn’t get a gel in, was too afraid to let go….Carry on down New Orleans Roads and more bridges. Had a decent split on the way out. Turn around point came quick. I turn. O M G the Wind. Nothing new, I’ve dealt with this on every weekend ride. But the swim had taken so much out of me, I just didn’t feel like I could do much more. I started to kinda “ sight see.” What else was I going to do with my time. SOOO LONG on the bike. TWO LOOPS. The last bridge was against the headwind, and my only goal was to not get off the bike and walk. NOT GONNA DO IT….Well I didn’t. I finished that up and finally got to my second long break of the day---transition. Couldn’t feel my feet to get in my shoes so I didn’t cramp----took me a bit, but finished….
run course was out and back x2. Those first few run intervals off bike were bad. I loosened up on the 2nd loop and started getting a blister. Blister pain finally went away. Pretty sure that wasn’t going to be good. ( it ended up NOT being, but what the hell. It stopped hurting in the race) The run was a high point for me because I was talking to everyone. I didn’t care who it was. One of the key things of being a back of packer: AIDE STATIONS THAT ARE YOUR OWN WAITERS. I told them that LOL.
On the second loop I spotted a guy about ¾ mile ahead of me. I wanted to pick him off. I tried for THREE MILES. His long leg intervals were just too much. He turned around to see who was behind him and I said IM COMING FOR YOUUUUU. I finally got to him and we started another interval. I told him I was going to run all the way in, and looks like he decided to also. We were on the back stretch of the run and he was still moving. I could see him slowing down and I yelled KEEP MOVING. I WONT STOP IF YOU WONT. He ran all the way to the finish line with me behind him. Bad news…he had lost his timing chip!
1) Safety pin your timing chip strap…it’s always worked for me.
2) Adjust your plan and go with it if you need.
3) Have fun. I did. I hated every second of that race until I got to the run.
4) Forward Progress. One foot in front of the other.
I asked the pro that rode with us to and from the race what her advice was for Ironman. She said to keep the mental part in it and just remember that “ You gotta get back.” AMEN.
So I didn’t race. I had planned on it, but I didn’t. Ended up 3rd in Athena, and damn proud of that s*&t.
I ended up being out there WAY longer than i should have been, but HEY, I got my money's worth.