Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm an Ironman!!! Installment #1 - The Swim

The Swim Start - Mad Chaos (do you see me - I'm the one in the orange cap!)

It doesn't get old. I just keep saying it and I don't even care.

I'm going to do this in three blogs. Do you know why? I'll tell you why - because I am long winded...because Kyle says I always write too long and because it will hopefully keep you coming back for more! So, here we go.. my Ironman experience/Race Report.

I can't believe it. Even though the day is one of the longest days of your life, I can see why people come back again and again for another IM.

Where to start! I didn't put any pressure on myself for this race. I said to myself the night before - it's all about finishing, that's it. I think it really helped me because I slept like an absolute champ (which never happens for me)! I woke up at 4am refreshed and a bit scared and nervous, but feeling ready none the less.

We headed to transition and before we even arrived I could feel the buzz of activity and hear the upbeat music leading each athlete to body marking. Let me just say, the volunteers in this race are like no volunteers I have ever experienced. From start to finish, they were the most encouraging, most helpful, most amazing (not afraid to touch even the nastiest of people - including me!!) that I have ever seen!! Seriously, they are awesome and it would never happen (any of it) without them.

The time in transition went quickly and THANK THE LORD something told me to put on one coat of sunscreen just in case pre-race. Later, in T1, I would forget to put ANY sunscreen on and without that pre-coat I would have DIED out there in the sun.

As we waited for the swim start there were natives drumming loudly right beside us at the pier, the sound echoed in your chest and I thought "I can't believe I am about to race 140.6 miles!!" Before we knew it it was time to get in the water and line up for the swim. My coach specifically told me to stay left to try and avoid the madness that happens next to the line. We were supposed to stay between the Ford Ironman blow up sign and the end of the pier but people kept pushing (we were so close, I was getting kicked constantly and HATING this part). They eventually slid over farther than the "official" starting line past the Ford sign and I figured I had better get over there too, despite the fact that we would have to swim over a ROPE which marked the actual swim course at some point. That time before the start was not fun, but once we were starting I found out the real meaning of not fun. It was utter chaos. I was kicked and hit the entire way. I don't even know if I would call what I was doing swimming for about 150 yards. I was just trying to SURVIVE! Somehow I moved too far in and then I tried to make my way to the outside the best I could to follow orders.

Once I did, things got a little better and I even found a couple of feet to draft off for short periods. Just when you thought things were going a bit smoother, something would happen (you would get run into, kicked etc.) and you would get off your groove again. The sailboat turn around came sooner than I thought and I was tempted to look at my watch but I decided I didn't want to know, and really it didn't matter..finish the swim Kim, finish the swim.

OUCH - I got sung by a jelly fish on the leg, ten minutes later, I got sung again on the shoulder! The way back was rough and I swallowed more salt water than I care to admit. It was definitely slower than the way out and seemed to take forever, but I just tried to keep moving when I could. Finally, we approached the pier and I saw people were starting to stand as the sand came up under our feet. I stood and looked at my watch just as I stood up 1:08 (and I started it before the gun - I mean cannon because I was afraid I might forget)!! Yes!! I was happy with the respectable time, and ran up only to get stuck in my swimskin and not be able to get it off!! T1 was a blurr that concluded with NO SUNSCREEN (I never even saw the dang people in the tent). I ran out to start the bike!

Look for installment #2 tomorrow!!

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