When I did this race in 2016 I had a great swim (1:25) A not so great bike (7:55) & an amazing run.(5:59)
That was not to be this time around.
You put your face into murky lake water.
It is violent. Arms & legs are all around you.
This is not the calm of your lap pool. This is war.
This is the beach landings in Saving Private Ryan when the soldiers go over the side of the landing craft into the water.
One minute your ears are filled with the percussive sounds of water that reverberates like a bomb blast.
Next, you turn to breathe and the air is calm. I was repeatedly switching back and forth between two worlds.
Last year I had more room. It is a rolling start, so you line up behind the pace holder who is holding a sign.
(1 hr 11 mins - 1 hr 20 mins)
I was boxed in on the swim by people who were all clawing for the front, like the Army of the Dead in Game of Thrones.
The people in front of me were too slow & the people behind me were in such a rush that I got kicked three times. I got punched in the eye six times.
The last hit caused water to leak into the goggle. I rolled on my side, let water out & continued swimming.
It wasn’t jarring or disorienting to be hit. I kept my wits about me, but I did break form to move away from the windmill swimming next to me.
I was two minutes late on the first lap (I was hoping for last year’s 40 minute pace). So I picked it up on the second lap.
My shoulders were getting sore, but this was the place to go all out. As the pack thinned out, I was able to find other swimmers to draft off.
400 meters from the beach, I could hear the crowd. I switched into overdrive & began to pass people.
I exited the water grinning. After 1:26:54 in the water, the sand in my toes felt good. I looked immediately to get help getting out of the wetsuit.
The “strippers” were there. That is what they call the volunteers that peel your suit off like a banana.
And ran down the carpet towards “transition.”
Last year I was too winded to run, so this was an improvement.
My wife was waiting at the entrance to t1, to give me a kiss. That meant a lot. I passed more cheering people to grab my blue t1 bag from the rack. Then I entered the chaos of the changing tent.
Hot, smelly and nowhere to sit.
Methodically I emptied the bag, got dressed standing up and shoved the wetsuit back in the bag.
To be continued next week…
By David Roher