As you all know, Ironstar Half Ironman is coming up and this is my first race at this distance (70.3). While I'm very comfortable with swimming the 1.2 miles required, a swim clinic was being held on Saturday and we would have the opportunity to get out on the actual course. I couldn't have been more excited to get up at 6am and get on the road by 7am to be there with plenty of time to spare. A good crowd showed up and all seemed as eager! Before I go further, let me just say that I really do look like a whale in my wetsuit. I was caught in a couple pictures and it took all I had not to cry. That's a problem for another day though. Back to the story at hand.
We heard some helpful tips from Sandra Sutherland about open water swimming but I was anxious to swim the course. We learned that we wouldn't be swimming the entire course though. While we would get the distance, we would be swimming from swim exit vs swim start. This was a major bummer for yours truly. I attended Ironstar last year to cheer on friends who were racing as a relay team (Go Jill Gellatly & Jeff Gardner and...I can't remember the other guys name). Anyway, having attended, I knew the beginning of the swim was a little funky as you started on the beach and had to navigate out of a somewhat narrow cove into the lake. This was something I wanted to practice but nope! No biggie I guess.
We got our wetsuits on and headed towards swim exit to enter. Make sense? Lots of sTRIvers were in attendance and we all got in around the same time. As we get in, I glance up and notice there are a lot of people far out standing up. Hmm, did all the swim challenged show up today. I don't think so. I got in & swam a bit and then something strange happened, my fingertips got stuck in the mud. Huh? What is going on? I stood up and much to my surprise, I found myself in not even knee deep water. I thought maybe the margarita from the night before was playing tricks on me...not so much. I looked up and there was Misty, standing up. Michelle, Stewart, Val, everyone...standing up. As we looked ahead, a sea of zombie like creatures waded through the water. We walked a bit and moved to "deeper" water as Michelle LeBlanc of OutRival directed us from shore. That helped but only for a bit. We soon found ourselves touching the muddy bottom again. This cycle repeated the entire swim course. I may have gotten in 100-200yds of uninterrupted swimming but definitely not more. I'm not going to lie, I was very frustrated at first...everyone was. After a few minutes though, I just had to laugh. This truly was a comical experience and I was getting to experience it with my friends & teammates. We were all in the same boat. "Worry about what you can control" went through my head a few times. While I was disappointed I missed the chance of having a solid swim for this clinic, I had a really fun time bonding with those around me. A fair trade-off I would say.
Misty, Lynn & I headed out for a run after the aqua jog (along w/ countless others). The morning was absolutely beautiful...perfect running weather. Lynn is preparing for IMFL (Ironman Florida to the uneducated) and was running strong. Misty & I welcomed the opportunity to check out a portion of the run course and experimented with what we plan to do race day. A successful run following a not so successful swim = a good day.
Yesterday was our last long ride prior to the race. 40ish miles with some race day pick ups. After my cluster of a ride last weekend, I really REALLY wanted to have a decent ride. Hell, half way decent. Either way, I knew I had to get on the bike with a good attitude if there was any chance of me being happy with this ride. Well, the good attitude worked b/c I really felt like I rode well. Lynn, Misty & I stayed together and I think we all enjoyed the "easy" ride. Most people laugh when I say 40 miles are easy but you triathletes know what it's like! Following a great ride, Starbucks with teammates was in order. It was so good to see some of the folks who would be traveling to IMFL later this week. Everyone had that pre-race excitement!
I anticipate I'll be blogging a lot this week as my emotions run from one extreme to the other. Today I am just plain excited. I trust my coach, my training, my teammates and ME. I know I can conquer this distance. I know it's not going to be easy but I know I will finish. Now that I've been on all 3 event courses, my visualization exercises will really be helpful. I am so ready to get out there!! I can't wait to cross the finish and hug whoever I can find. I don't have to know them either.
Happy Monday! I'm sure you'll be hearing more very soon! :)