Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cone to Cone!

Phase I

Well, my race has come and gone! It was everything I expected and more! I was pretty nervous because it was my first race of the year, I hadn't ran as much as I'd liked, and my back was still the x-factor. How would it hold up??

Then I got a chance to check out the competition the day before at the pre-race registration and they looked amazingly fit. 

I also found out the swim would be staggered into 22 waves, 3 minutes apart. I was in the 11th wave at 6:51am. That meant I'd have a lot of fast swimmers in waves starting after me literally nipping at my heels:

There were 2000 competitors in the race, which meant 1000 people were starting behind me.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep well the night before the race! Lol 

The morning of the race I woke up feeling pretty relaxed. I was still nervous, but I had to remind myself I wasn't racing anybody but myself. The key for me was to race MY race and finish! 

My wife took some really cool pics. Here's pics of me getting bodymarked and chilling before the swim start:

After getting checked in I'm feeling pretty relaxed and ready to race!

There were quite a few spectators out there cheering the athletes on:

The big crowds really help get you pumped up! After hearing the crowd cheer and the announcer get everybody going I was ready!

My swim started out with no problems. I prefer to start in the back because I don't want to get swam over by the faster swimmers. It took maybe 15 minutes to get comfortable in the water. 

I simply pretended I was still in the pool at Seaworld and swam at my relaxed, leisurly pace.  I was swimming with a group of people in my wave and was feeling good! 

20 minutes later, I was still swimming at my own pace and then I started to get caught from behind. It is AMAZING to me how fast some people can swim! They were literally passing me like I was standing still!

It was kinda nerve-wracking at the same time, because even though some of them passed by me no problem, others would bump into me by hitting my feet, legs, and arms! Now mind you, I have on contact lenses, so I'm PRAYING nobody hits my goggles and knocks them off!!

Then we're swimming in the middle of a lake, so it's not like I could stop and regroup. I had to just keep swimming! 

Ecen though I was getting caught by faster swimmers,  to my surprise I  started catching people from the waves before me. There were all types of swimmers out there.  If I'm the Black Turtle, i saw plenty sharks who devoured everybody in their path, marlins who swam effortlessly thru the water at top speed, baby manatees that swim slower than turtles lol and crabs thst are the slowest of all! Lol

Halfway into the swim, I saw a lady have to get rescued by a lifeguard. She was hanging onto the raft and looked really tired. The swim is no joke! It's not like running or riding a bike where you can stop if you get tired. If you stop while swimming in 20 feet of water you're in big trouble!
With people catching me from behind every couple minutes it was hard to keep a rythm, but I stayed calm and swim at my own pace.  To keep cool I started to think about 1 of my all time favorite songs: James Brown's Funky Good Time! Lol

"We're gonna have a funky good time;
Gonna have a funky good time;
Gotta take it hiiiigher!"

I try to do whatever it takes to keep ne motivated in open water swims. If you look at the sheer distance of the swim it can be intimidating, so I focus on getting from 1 cone to another.

They may not look that far apart when on land, but when swimming it can take forever to reach the next cone!

About 40 minutes into the swim I'm still feeling good, but I'm ready to get outta the water! I'm still swimming with a group and we're getting close to the Swim Finish. I can see it in the distance and even hear the announcer over the microphone so I start to do a spot check: 

My back, shoulders, and everything feels good and I'm not tired at all, but I'm ready to get out the water! I start to focus on the finish, but it doesn't seem like I'm getting any closer! I try to swim faster, but I'm not going any faster.

Ever hear 1 of those souped up Honda Accords with the big muffler? They make all that noise, but don't seem to go any faster? That's how I feel when I try swim faster. I'm doing a whole lotta splashing, but going the same speed! Lol So I resume my original pace and just keep swimming! Lol 

I wanted to finish the swim in 45 minutes and finished in 50. Not as fast as I wanted, but I didn't use much energy! Phase 2 was the bike, and I was ready! 

I'll post the bike portion of the race tomorrow! Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!        

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