I woke up Saturday morning feeling incredibly well rested. Given that I normally don’t sleep well in hotels, this was a nice change. Hubby and I got ourselves up and around, and decided to go in search of some breakfast, and find some food to bring back for race day morning. About a mile’s walk and we found a Subway serving breakfast sandwiches (not bad) and wonder of wonders a market. I picked up some bagels, cream cheese and bananas for race day and happily headed back to the Hotel.
We were supposed to meet at the race start at 9:00AM for a lecture by a famous Ironman guy, but I figured 20 minutes was plenty of time to walk back to the hotel, change, and walk to the race start. After all, I had been told that the race start was ‘right by the hotel’. Uh yeah. The race start was actually ‘right by’ the shopping center we had been at. I was a little shocked when I had been expecting everyone to be up at the hotel and instead I started seeing them walking and riding toward and past me! I called to one of my teammates, “where are you guys going?” and was told “We have a swim workout at 9:00”
Whaaaaaaaa!?!? I thought the practice was at 10:00!! And why are you riding past me!? You mean the start is behind me!?
The stress that I managed to shake off during the night came roaring back to full force! I was going to be at least 20 minutes late for our workout!
The walk back to the hotel, to the room and then back to the swim start was not a pleasant one. All I could seem to focus on was how everything about this race seemed to be going wrong, from my various aches, pains and injuries, to my bike breakdown and now timing and scheduling. It felt like the universe was trying to tell me “Don’t do this race!”
“But,” I kept telling the universe, “I don’t have a choice! I can’t quit now! People gave money, they expect me to be here, to finish this thing!”
When I found the start area I dropped my bike with everyone else’s, and looked for my team. A short search found them not in the water, but gathered around listening to a lecture. Whew! At least I had one thing correct, the practice swim wasn’t until 10:00, I hadn’t missed it! I had missed the first half of the lecture though. I was a little bummed about that because what I did catch was really good. Dave Scott is a fantastic speaker and had excellent advice for everyone.
Once he was finished we got ready for our first swim in Hawaii. I think everyone felt pretty good about it. All the practice swims in the SF Aquatic park when it was 50 degrees and lake Del Valle when it was just at 60 had made us pretty confident in the water. The announcement that the water temp in Hawaii was a ‘cold’ 77 made us all laugh. And even from the shore we could see how clear the water was.
We hit the water joyfully after a few ‘new tips from Coach about sighting in clear water (much easier than the 0’ foot visibility in the Aquatic Park) me, armed with my Hawaii celebration swim cap.
It’s ok, you can say it, I’m a dork. What can I say, I used to be a synchronized swimmer and I just couldn’t pass up this retro cap when I found it. What better place to wear it then Hawaii!? Although, later I would regret my little flight of fancy.
The swim coarse was still set up for the kids lavaman from earlier that day so coach told us jut to follow it - a simple out and back, swim out 7.5 minutes and back 7.5.
And so we were off. First thing off the bat, I turned my head to take a breath and got a full face full of water. ICK! Nothing like swimming with salt water lodged in the back of your throat. Luckily, I'm a strong enough swimmer that a little 'spray' in the face didn't bother me mentally, but physically it was a new challenge to overcome. I soon found a good head position that managed to block most of spray and let me get clean breathes. I took coaches advice and sited landmarks along the bottom of the ocean so I didn't have to waste time and energy looking forward as often and just swam. Ok - swam and did some sight seeing. I stopped twice on the way out to check out sea turtles swimming below me.
Finally I focused on my swimming, put my head down and pushed a little. I was a little surprised as how much I got out of myself. All my open water swims before had been in a wetsuit, something I hate. Without the wetsuit I found open water swimming a joy. I didn't want to stop! I was a little disappointed and suprised to look up and find myself facing a wall a swimmers. Apparently the lead swimmers had waited for everyone before turning around and heading back to shore - it was one of the best 'team' moments of the year so far.
It was great pracrice because when we all looked at the 'real' course the next morning the swim that we had done on this day was almost exactly the second part of the course, it helped alot when rounding the corner to swim back out, to know that "Hey, I did this swim yesterday, piece of cake!"