“Just keep swimming.”-Dory
Leg one of an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim. If you are in the Ironman World Championship, the swim start looks like the photo above. It looks pretty scary to me, a couple of thousand people all trying to swim in the same direction at once, battling ocean waves, kicking legs, and stroking arms to try to find their own space in the water where they can swim unencumbered. Ironman Texas will not look like that. The Texas race has what is called a “rolling start”, similar to if you were starting a running race where you seed yourself based on your pace and your clock starts when you cross the timing mat. It will look more like the photo below, so instead of swimming with 2500 people at once, we’ll be swimming with more like the 50-100 people closest to us entering the water.
Will that make it easier to find a space to swim? I have no idea. I can only hope. The reason I am writing about it this week is because it is February in Oregon. Currently, it is snowing outside which will last a few hours, then melt. There will be no opportunity for Aimee and I to get into a lake around here for open water swimming before we go to Texas. We’ll have one practice swim in Lake of The Woodlands the day before the race. While we are both doing well at swimming and will both be able to finish well under the 2 hour 20 minute cutoff time, practicing in open water with other swimmers close by, sloshing about has been difficult. At least it was, until last week when we went to the local public pool because the gym pool was closed. Turns out, they have a whole section of the pool without divider lanes and you can swim laps all you want. It’s about as close to open water swimming as we’ll get until Texas and there were plenty of people also swimming laps close by to give us the sense of what it will be to have water splash in our faces just at the moment we turned to breathe, reminding us how to skip a breath and not end up choking. It was great. I did 3000 yards, no stopping on Friday(1.7 miles). For me, that takes about an hour. There was a man on my left and one on my right and they really made the waves for me. I appreciated every minute.
The last half mile or so of the Texas swim will be down a canal. It’s narrow and it is my understanding that it will be like a washing machine with all the waves from swimmers bouncing off the walls and back into us. The good thing is, it isn’t deep, so if I get my goggles knocked askew, I can just swim to the edge and stand up to fix them. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Often there are some battle stories about bloody noses, split lips, broken teeth, being kicked and dragged down, but I am hoping that lies with the people in the front who are racing for a Kona slot, not with the rest of us who are trying to do our best swim, yet be aware of those around us.
The rest of week fourteen was pretty much the same old stuff, biking, running, strength work. We added watching some of the Olympics too. One of the best things to happen this week was receiving a package from a friend that contained two pairs of (used) Tri Bike shoes, and a brand new pair of running shoes. This is a much appreciated gift and I am so grateful. Tri Bike shoes have been on my list for awhile. The running shoes were a surprise bonus.
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