After resting most of yesterday and going to bed early, I'm up way earlier than I planned on and have decided to get this race report out while it's all still fresh.
Knowing my swim fears, I've been practicing some visualization techniques. I've also taken a thing from WW and anchored calmness to an item. For 2 weeks everytime I thought of the swim I'd touch the item and become calm then visualize myself doing the swim calmly and confidentely. Apparently it worked.
So the night before I got all my gear ready and packed away in my car. I had eaten well all day and hydrated. I ate a light dinner and was in bed by 8:30. Of course I couldn't sleep and spent most of the night tossing and turning. 3:00 am came way tooo early.
I got up and started the final preparations. Got my coffee, made myself something to eat, and got dressed. By 3:30 I was out the door.
I arrived at Kapiolani Park at 4:05. I got there really early for a number of reasons. They said all parking around the park would be closed so I figured get there early to get as good a spot as I could. They lied. Also, I wanted to get my area set up and have lots of time to work on my visualization and not be rushed.
I found a good parking spot, got my gear and headed over to check in. Found a prime spot in the blue cap rack. Got my spot set up and actually went through my transistions a couple of time just to make sure my set up worked. I ended up chatting with the lady racked near me and we ended up following each other all day. It was amusing.
I made the first of many trips to the bathroom (what is it about race morning???) and headed down to the beach to check out the water. I sat on the wall and just watched. Luckily the tide was receding and the water was calm. There was no wind to chop up the water so it looked like it would be a sweet swim.
Now it's only 4:50 and the race doesn't start for another hour. So I walked around. Went back to my transition area to check it out again. Got my chip. Just cruised around looking at folks and bikes. Last year Chris Lieto won this and I was scooping out the elite rack to see who was here (no one I could recognize).
Finally about 5:30 I head back down to the water and get in for my warm up swim. The water was warm and I felt good swimming. I did not feel any freaking out coming on and I thought I might be able to conquer this. After swimming around for about 15 minutes I got head to wait for the start.
Waiting on the beach I ran into a couple of friends and we stood there chatting and waiting.
The elites got into the water to wait for the gun. The gun fired and they were off, our wave was next.
At this point I switched my new Ironman Timex watch to chrono mode and I noticed that the light wouldn't go off. Hmmmm, what's up with that. I ignored it and headed out into the water.
I stayed towards the back of the pack since I'm kind of slow and I wasn't sure what would happen when the gun went off, would I freak? Would I be able to pull this off?? I still wasn't sure.
They started the countdown and I got ready to start my watch. The gun went off, I hit the start button and nothing happened. WTF?????? I hit it a couple of times, nothing. I hit other buttons, nothing. WTF????? This watch was only a week old!!!! I was pissed but it was time to swim.
I took off swimming with the pack and felt great. I did not freak out. I was able to actually swim. I got hit by folks, it didn't bother me. I swallowed water, it didn't bother me. I was focusing on my stroke because I knew the better I could do this the easier the swim would be. I was swimming and looking up every 4 strokes or so and what did I see??? I was in the pack. There I was swimming right in with the pack. WooHoo!!!! I'd never seen this before.
The big orange buoys seemed to be coming awfully fast, yeah! I passed a couple of people on the way down, who'd a thunk it??? I made the turn at the buoys and headed towards the finish. I felt so good I could not believe it.
About 1/2 way back I started visualizing T1. I was mentally going over everything I would do there so I wouldn't forget anything.
Side bar: In previous swims I have been so focused on getting out of the water I could not think of anything else. Here I was planning my next moves.
I hit the beach and was up an out. Ahead of me was a lot of people. I turned and looked back and there were still a ton of people in the water. I got out in the middle of the pack - WooHooo!!!
I read somewhere there were about 900 entrants. I came out 458 in the swim. Right smack in the middle. That is an awesome feat for me.
Since my watch wasn't working I had no idea how I'd done, but I knew I did better than ever before.
I ran in T1 and for the first time ever there were still a ton of bikes there. Usually I'm one of the last bikes left and it's pretty easy to find my bike. This time I got a little confused with all the bikes there. What a great feeling.
I did T1 just as I'd rehearsed and was off out to the bike.
I was so happy with my swim that I hit the bike whooping and yelling. I started out kind of hard and kept it up. When your riding with all these people (something else I've never done before) it's much easier to maintain a higher speed.
So the bike goes and about 1/3 of the way through I begin to think I may be hammering just a little too hard. I try to ease up but it's hard with all these folks around.
I hit Heartbreak Hill and had to stop about 1/2 way up. I finally got up and that was that. The rest was downhill and flat. I hammered it.
I got back to the corral and headed into T2.
My watch was still not working so I had no idea what time it was or how long I'd been out on the course. In a say this was good. There was no pressure to go faster or anything since I had no timing.
Rack the bike, quick shoe change and I was off.
As soon as I hit the run course I knew there was nothing left. I had left everything out on that bike course and I had 10K in front of me. It was going to be a long run.
I started slow, jogging and running. After about a mile I took 3 Cliff Shot Blox hoping those would give me a kick start. It didn't help that the first 1/3 of the course was primarily uphill.
I trudged along doing the best I could. I ended up walking probably 80% of the course. I ran on the downhills and shuffled along on the flats. Once I reached the top of Diamond Head I knew I only had 1 mile left and that gave me a boost.
As I entered Kapiolani Park this guy on a bike with a dog came along and really helped get me moving. He was with his friend, who was right behind me, and was egging him on. He got me involved to try and make a "race" out of this. It was good fun. The last 1/4 mile through the park is the longest part and he really made it fun.
I crossed the finish line and the timer said 3:40. Not as good as I'd hoped but a PR since it's my first Oly. Turns out the true time was 3:38 because I was in the 2nd wave.
Wow, I just checked the website and my results don't match the results I got on my printout yesterday.
Bottom line is I'm pleased with my performance yesterday. I learned some things I need to work on and I learned some things that work. Overall an excellent day. I can't wait for my next tri.
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