Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
They don't list Ironman in the top stressful things that can happen to you but in the last three months my dad has died and I've moved. I haven't changed jobs or gotten divorced but it feels like a divorce with all the crap I've been dealing with regarding my Dad's ex-wife.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
This weekend I did a 2.4 mile swim in
The water was cold. But it really didn’t bother me at all. I was more scared and excited than anything else. I got there way too early! I was walking around talking to people and I realized that I might be the most out-of-shape person there. Jeez everybody looked fit!
Anyway, I just sat down in my car and read a book for an hour or so until it was time to go. We boarded shuttles, wetsuit in hand and went down to the boat launch. There I put on my body glide and my wetsuit (kudos to me for putting on correctly this time) and walked into the water. Everywhere people were complaining about the cold but it really didn’t bother me a bit. My feet went numb pretty quick. It’s hard to describe the feeling if you’ve never worn a wetsuit in the water. You can feel the pressure of the water against you but you don’t really feel the water.
Right away I had the same problem as last week; I couldn’t breathe in the water. My chest tightened up instantly. I guess that is to be expected since this was the second time in my life really that I’ve been in this kind of situation. I dog paddled out to the start line and did what I’ve been dreading since the first time I read about it.
When you have a deep water start, which is when everyone in the race gets in the water ahead of time, you sit there and tread water until the race starts. This can be up to 15 minutes depending on how early you get in. I don’t know about you, but treading water is very tiring for me. So, as I said, I’ve been dreading it.
Turns out I’ve been dreading it for no reason at all! Piece of cake. I can’t take credit for it though. My Bat/Wolverine Suit really is buoyant! All I need to do is move my hands or legs a little and I just sit there and float. I did a few strokes in the water and all of a sudden I seemed to relax. 7 minutes later the gun went off.
I seeded myself at the very back. This seemed like a good idea but it turns out that maybe it wasn’t. Some of the people in front of me were much slower than even I was and it turns out that it’s pretty hard to swim around people. I kept telling myself to go out easy but I think I was going too hard because I pretty much was exhausted after 3 minutes. The next 15 – 30 minutes I spent switching between freestyle, breast stroke, sweet spot, and even back floating.
The course pretty much a square with quarter to 1/3 mile sides to it. Until I reached the first turn I thought maybe that I was going to die out there. After that I figured that I’d get through the first lap and call it a day and then figure out what to do about the Ironman swim. As I approached the last leg of the first lap though a funny thing happened, I really think I started to find a groove. I found myself worrying that I was about to get lapped. I figured that the good swimmers would do this thing in 50 minutes and it was going to take me 1:45 – 2:00 so I realized that I stood a good chance of getting run over in the water. I just focused on technique and not speed or cadence. I realized as I went around the start buoy that I was starting to feel good!
That feeling lasted most of the second lap. I went to my back a couple of times to recharge and I was really doing a good job of sighting. It’s hard to know where you are going in the water so you have to keep sticking your head up. I really didn’t have a problem with it. I made the final turn for home and I was filled with a confidence that I’m not sure I’ve ever felt in water before.
That’s when the wheels came off the bus.
I sighted a little rock in front of the cove where the finish line was located, put my head down and just stroked. After a couple minutes I looked up and there was no rock, no cove, no buoy, no nothing. What the hell? I had just veered like 45 degrees off course. I looked back and saw that the people behind me were also swimming in the wrong direction. I changed direction and swam again. Must have been a few minutes later I hear this loud splashing by me. I look up and it’s one of the support people in a kayak warning me that I was WAY off course. Like 180 degrees off course. I looked back, and again, the people behind me were also veering in the wrong direction.
Now I decided to just keep sighting as I swam. I think I figured out why I was so off course. When I went through this particular stretch of water on the first lap the water was very calm. Now I could see the waves and I could feel the water pushing me around. I guess as the boat traffic increased during the morning it moved the water. The problem here is that with all the picking my head out of the water and worrying about speed and stuff my technique really went out the window. My coach Bill was careful to warn us that on the last third of the swim make sure you don’t lose focus. I lost focus. By the time I got it back I was kind of tired. I swam to the finish and stepped back onto the boat launch ramp. I talked to some people on the ramp as I made my way up and when I finally reached the top I saw the clock. It clicked to 1:19. “That can’t be right.” I thought. I must have read it wrong. It must say 2:19. I checked. It said 1:19. My official finishing time at the bottom of the ramp was 1:18:11.
So, that’s a really slow Ironman time. I know that. But it’s not the 1:45 I thought it was going to be and it’s not the 2:00 I was afraid it was going to be. That put me 167 out of 236 finishers and another 27 people didn’t finish.
I’m very happy right now.