Rear View B2B 2014 - The Swim


It was over too soon! It was a truly fantastic swim. Years ago (2009), I volunteered for my first B2B event. I was assigned the changing tent in T1 and I remember a woman rushing in and letting a big Woo Hoo! That was the fastest swim EVER! She was shaking from cold and excitement. That's how this swim felt. From the get-go I was relaxed and happy. Ace, Erica, Jen and I hit the south end cul-de-sac in the dark. I got to hug Lori Drake and catch up with Mike Worley. We donned our wetsuits under a street light and then shuffled out to the south end - just like we'd done all summer.  We got in the water, we danced at the start line, I hummed the national anthem and we were on our way. 



Two things went right and one went left. The first thing is that I warmed up. I've learned that getting in the water before the horn blasts is essential for me. I was able to get in the water. I got the horrible part over - that cold shiver of water that creeps in through the wetsuit zipper at the small of my back. I put my face in the water. I swam 100 yards easy and then did a few sprint efforts back. I floated on my back and watched the sun rise. 

The second thing that went right was the current. Compared to last year, the tide was rippin'!  It felt like I took three strokes and was past the coast guard station. Three more strokes and I could hear Tim Bomba at the 1.2 mile mark (start of the half iron). The thing that went left? Me. I have the advantage of knowing that channel. My unofficial mantra for the two weeks leading up to the race was I own this channel. I had swum the course and knew the tides. I knew not to go right and swim close to the piers. I know that I tend to veer right so I made sure I stayed left. When we hit the first left turn at Harbor Island, I knew to stay left. At some points I felt all alone - there's a lot of water out in my channel! -  but could tell I was flying past swimmers nearer to the pier. 

Nothing went wrong, but I had a few obstacles to overcome. My biggest challenge was sighting, There are not a lot of buoys on the course and even though I know the channel, there were a few moments when I felt all alone. I sighted for a while on a coast guard vessel until I realized that it was escorting the faster swimmers and it quickly faded from view. At the halfway point, I was able to see my favorite landmark on Harbor Island and sight on it until I reached the turn buoy. Plus, no matter how new or well-fitting or fog resistant your goggles are, there are always goggle frustrations.

The only other issue I had was someone on my feet for at least 500 yards. At first I didn't care, but five minutes of someone tickling-my-toes-slash-grabbing-my-ankles was too much. I don't mind a drafter at my hip or my toes - just please don't touch me. I mean, didn't I mention that we have all this water out here? I don't really kick much in the first part of the race, I usually save my legs a little while. I picked up my kick and still couldn't lose him. I ddid about fifteen hard kicks and suddenly he was gone. [I assumed he was a he only because I wanted to chick someone that day.]

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