Now, lets get to the nitty gritty. I've been training for this. Mostly working on my swim technique, but Jason and I also would train on the bike or trainer and run.I was actually pretty proud of where I was when I started swimming and where I was the last training swim before race day. I had my stroke down... was getting stronger and was finally getting my breathing down. I went into the race fairly confident...but still nervous because it was an open water swim. (yes, my first OWS was my first triathlon - FAIL!) My friend and IRONMAN mentor, Angela was there too. She gave me some of the best advice...that saved my swim today. She said "if you start to panic, swim on your back and catch your breath..." <----- advice="" div="" golden="">----->
It was a combination of not being 100% used to my wetsuit and my inexperience in open water, but 5 seconds into my swim I was in panic mode. I could not breathe. I could not see my hand in front of my face under water and my goggles were already starting to fog up. I wasn't even half way to the first buoy and I was already floating on my back trying to gain my composure. I kept trying to adjust my wetsuit around my neck because I felt like it was strangling me. It's meant to be a second skin...but I literally felt like it was sprayed onto me. I felt like my chest was closing in on me and I honestly thought I was going to just call it quits right there. I tried to swim with my stroke again, only to realize everything that I have been training for in the pool was out the door at this point. (note to self.... swim in the open water BEFORE your triathlon....)
I made it to the first buoy, mostly either with a backstroke, breaststroke or old school doggie paddle..... first turn complete! Half-way there! I went from buoy 1 to buoy 2 mostly on my back... by now, I was more toward the back of the crowd...which is where I started anyway, and there were at least 3 other "panicers" there with me. Made the last turn and and I was home free. Halfway down the final stretch I was desperately searching for solid (or mushy) ground beneath my feet. The lake and I were not friends. I got to where the water was about waist deep and I tore off my wetsuit. I felt like that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and Miranda were trying on wedding dresses and Carrie was hyperventilating and tore her wedding dress off and...then she broke out in hives only to rip the dress completely off.... It was a bit like that...but in a lake.....and I didn't breakout in hives.
My outlook on this..? I should have practiced in the lake beforehand....and I WILL try it again. I am SO very discouraged right now and completely and utterly in fear of swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean. BUT, I'm going to train my butt off and work towards this like nothing I've ever worked for before.
The bike and the run were great and somewhat uneventful. There was a giant hill about midway through the bike... but my amazing and awesome husband was there to encourage me up it. The bike and run felt like a cinch after that swim....
I'll tell you what though... finishing was like nothing else. Better than any run I've done. I conquered one of my biggest fears with that swim and I intend to kick some butt doing it again. I'm not doing this for my own fulfillment... I am doing it for Denver.... there's not quitting there.
Donate to TEAM DENVER - Ironman Florida