Race morning started early. My alarm went off at 3:45, and before you know it I was sitting outside at 0:dark-thirty for them to come pick me up.
|streetlights in the driveway|
|Me, coffee, Susan, Eric in front|
|the dark crowded bus|
Once we got there, it was a glorious sight. The lake was calm and beautiful, the sky was blue, the air was warm.
|In the port-a-john line|
|Swim start is laid out. Beautiful day.|
|Team 4 Cats is ready to go|
|We're all body marked but you can't see my digits|
I did hit the water eventually, and the entire swim was crowded. My goal time was to get under 32 minutes. I wore the garmin. At the start, I swam with my head up water-polo style to avoid getting kicked, and eventually settled into my stroke when I found some open water on the left side of the pack. I think the waves went off every 4 minutes, and by the time I hit the first turn I was passing people with other colored caps on.
The course was a broken rectangle. Go out, turn right, go for a long way, turn right again and get to shore. When I was on the top of the rectangle, the water was very choppy in that stretch. Don't really know why, the wind wasn't notably strong, maybe there was boat traffic. There was certainly a lot of human traffic! This stretch was really crowded. Lots of people stopping to sight even though we were still on course. Quite a few breast strokers out there. These were the slower swimmers from the earlier waves, and I noticed I was passing them like they were standing still. Plenty of people took an hour to get out of the water, more power to them, but I was grateful to the ones that stayed out of my way.
After I made the last turn the crowds opened up a bit more. Easier time finding clean water, and before I knew it I was tasting boat gas - the swim exit was in sight. Ran up the boat ramp and planted my foot in front of that Relay tent, but Eric was nowhere to be found! I called out for him, turned out that tent got really crowded and he was trapped in the back.
Eric eventually knifed his way through the other teams, grabbed the chip from my ankle and sprinted after his steed. I caught up with Susan's parents who were holding my swim bag and eventually caught my breath and got dressed again. Checking the garmin, it said I swam in 37:25, which was initially a disappointing time, but then it also said I swam 1.6 miles. Several other swimmers said the course felt long to them, and I thought my effort was good enough to get my sub-32 goal. Turns out, 37:25 for a 1.2 mile course is a 1:58 pace per hundred meters (official race split stat), but for a 1.6 mile course it's only a 1:20 pace per hundred yards (my sprint goal time in the pool during regular practice). I was the 15th relay swimmer out of the water, out of 73 teams.
|Post swim, somebody took all of these bikes out of T1|
Holy crap I can't believe I was able to actually really hold that pace for that distance! Yes I've been crushing it in swim practice lately, and really putting the work in. But that still exceeds my expectations. What an amazing day! Even my swim coach told me in practice a few months ago that I could hold that pace for a mile in open water, but I didn't believe her. Lesson learned, trust your coach.
Logistically, now we had 4 people at Vista Point and one cyclist rapidly approaching downtown. Logistically, the buses couldn't take spectators down the road (closed to traffic) until the last biker turned onto hwy 64. So there was about 2000 people standing in the hot sun waiting to get on buses until about 10 am. Then we made the drive back downtown and arrived at 11 am. Eric's goal was to hit 18 mph and get into T2 right around noon.
|Susan and I waiting in T2. She's ready to run!|
|that is one dehydrated cyclist desperately seeking shade|
Susan wrapped up our day with a 2:17 half marathon, and we finished 17th out of 73 relay teams.
|Susan finishing up|
|post race eats|
|Eric, Susan and me with our finishers medals!|