Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Race Day - Swim

Woke up around 3.30 am by the neighbour on the phone. It was not cold, the weather was clear.. perfect Ironman day. Had coffee, three bananas, raisins, muesli bread, anti bloating tablets etc. Left just after 5am, a tad late.
Parking was well organised. Went to the registration table and all that was needed was for them to draw an alphabet on my calves (there wasn't a requirement to write our race numbers on the shoulders and thighs). Checked the bicycle was ok. Tire pressure, bike bottles, cycling shoes. The whole transition area was soft flat grass ... perfect. I kept my body moving (to the amusement of the aussies) to keep warm. Putting on the wet suit was a challenge as i am fat for an M sized wet suit. A pretty volunteer helped zipped up my suit and place my spectacles in the run bag.
My wife was dutifully waiting at the swim start. I had a yellow swim cap which meant I was seeded to start at the back. I saw 2 people that wore only swimming trunks. I moved to the middle of the pack, its not a good idea to start at the back.

The race started at 6.15am. The sun only sets after 8.30 pm. Thus if you do 14 hrs, its a daylight finish.
The normal shoving took place but nothing serious. I was very worried I would get sea sick as the wet suit is very buoyant. I remember the boat ride in Bali, the trick is to keep looking at the horizon and not look down. So thats what i did the whole way.
The wet suit felt tight but I knew it would loosen with the swim. The neck and throat was not chaffing as I had placed tons of vaseline. It was choc a bloc people. My mantra was , get to the half way turnaround then everything would be OK. Did the turnaround without mishap and I knew I was going to make it. I was day dreaming and went off course. No serious harm done.
Towards the end it was calmer and I started to look down instaed of up. It felt so easy to swim looking down and I wondered whether I had the wrong strategy in looking at the horizon. Luckily I was only groggy at the end but I did not throw up. The commentator had a good laugh when i struggled onto the beach. During training I sometimes could not even get the wet suit the right way around. 1 hr 13 mins for the swim and my longest training swim was 3.5km only once.
We ran a short distance across the beach, crossed the road, then onto the grassy transition area. My transition was slightly long at 5 mins trying to get my bearings. In the rush I couldn't hear my loved ones rooting for me. The volunteer in the tent was very helpful.

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