Monday, September 20, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - Your 'Grueling Ordeal' Continues (The Swim)

The plan for this post is to be less wordy. I have pictures to post and how much can I really say about a swim that was over SO FAST.

Woke up too early as is usual before a race. I seem to have an intense fear of sleeping through my alarm, which has never even come close to happening, but my nervous brain keeps me safe. I ate my breakfast and got dressed and out of the room without waking my wife.

I met CS & MS in the lobby as agreed and we drove to the Monona Terrace.

Leaving the hotel - shitting in our pants.

I found a good parking spot very near the "needs especial" bag drop and - Starbucks! I can't drink coffee race morning but everyone else can. We knew from volunteering last year that the line gets long early so the girls dropped their bags and headed to get coffee. I kept forgetting things and made three trips back to the car to get stuff. Ironman brain.

MS met up with her training group and CS and I went off to take care of ourselves. We dropped our nutrition on our bikes and got body marked, ran into MS and her training crew and walked around nervously. I ran into Ian on the way to my bike and chatted him up since we were walking the same direction. In hindsight he may have wanted me to leave him alone but he was gracious and kind when he told me, "LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!" (He didn't say anything of the sort, but he did have his "game face" on. Or it may have been his "I really have to take a dump, but I can't and it's killing me" face. Let's call it his "game face.")

CS and I went to find a bathroom, walked all over and found one with the shortest line. Well, the women's had the shortest line, the men's was a mile long (guys have a lot fewer toilets and you can't crap in a urinal. Unless of course you're a drunk college student in a bar or at a football game, then I guess anything goes.) Myself and three other guys saw a couple of guys walk out of the women's room, shot glances all around and waltzed right in. Everybody poops, right?

(At this point you should be glad that I don't have pictures.)

CS and I decided it was time to suit up. It took me a good 20 minutes of sweaty work to get my wetsuit on the one time I tried so I knew I had to allow enough time. We found a quiet area with lots of room and laughed at me as I struggled into my sausage casing.

Yes, that's a plastic bag on my hand. I needed CS to help me pull it out. Then I took the top off so I had to got through the same ordeal on the way to get in the water. I bet I could shaved minutes off my swim time if I didn't do that twice.

Finally suited up and then partially unsuited we walked up to start our "death march" down "The Helix" to the swim start. We ran into A and my mom at the main entrance.

"Oh My God! What are you doing here!?"

Me and A. I kind of look like a giant. And a bodybuilder. She's super cute, isn't she?

My mom, me and A - I like my "ladies" petite.

Me and CS - both rockin' the kick-ass TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit.

We said our goodbyes and headed to our "march of the penguines." On the way, we were picked out of the crowd.

"Yeeeesss! Can I help you?"

From there the swim was pretty straight forward. It took forever to get to the water. I knew I had to be in the front row not too far from the inside buoy. When I finally got in the water they were playing the National Anthem and in the most unpatriotic move ever, I swam over around and through the crowd of people to get the spot I wanted. I was very surprised how loosely everyone was packed. There was plenty of room to float and tread water.

When the canon went off I was out of there like shit through a goose (I paint a nice mental picture, don't I?) I think I led for, like, 15 seconds. You can see me here.

I was kind of annoyed by the other swimmers. We are at the tip of the spear and are obviously fast swimmers - can we work together and not freak out about being touched a little bit? If I touched feet once or twice they would kick like crazy so I had a hard time finding some feet to swim on. It was easier to move to the side and swim in some cleaner water. A straight up draft would have been quicker, but I I knew I was still getting a break even if I wasn't directly behind someone.

That first long leg seemed to take forever. The short leg was kind of a traffic jam and then the second long leg wasn't too bad. From there it's really a blur. The second lap flew by.

On the last turn the swim out arch seemed a million miles away. I was passing people coming up to the ramp. I'm always surprised by that. I don't really turn on the jets or anything, I just keep steady. Whatever.

Up and out with no problem.

Imagine how much faster I would have been without my hand caught in my zipper.

The wetsuit strippers did a fantastic job and I was headed up the "The Helix." Afterward, my mom commented, "You looked kind of stiff running up the ramp after the swim." "Um, I was running barefoot up a hill and I was trying to keep it to an easy jog so I didn't blow up before I even got on the bike." "You were running barefoot?" I love my mom.

I made it through transition and headed out to the the bike.

I am NOT wearing compression socks.

Here comes 112 miles on a borrowed bike.


Charisa said...

Too bad I don't live in MN - you could teach me how to swim :) (Fast at least!)

SSB said...

I don't get people who kick like crazy when their feet are tapped. Especially if it's just once or twice. It's hard not to do at the start of a race, and if you kick that hard you're likely going to 1) give a better draft and/or 2) go a little harder than planned, and that early in a 10-15 hour race is not the time to do that.

IAN said...

Definitely not my "game face". Hahaha classic.

If its pretty far into a swim and someone keeps touching my feet I might kick a little. I DEFINITELY do it when they start hitting all the way up on my calves though. That slows me down and is annoying as HELL.

Nice swim. And you are a Giant Bodybuilder