5:30 am – Alarm goes off. Press snooze.
5:38 am – Alarm goes off again. Get up. Get dressed. Legs are still super sore from half-dome.
5:45 am – Apply race number tattoos. Go over race day checklist again. Fill water bottles.
6:02 am – Make breakfast (toast with peanut butter and banana for me and oatmeal with chia seeds for Davey. Chug Plexus Slim, coffee and water… we can already hear the cicadas… it’s gonna be a HOT day.
6:15 am – Load up our gear, and head downtown. We had planned to leave the house by 6, but we’re Type B triathletes and we hit snooze, so yeah.
6:25 am – Blast pump up music (Hey Geronimo by Sheppard and Ahead of Us by Tom Swoon, Lush & Simon) and wonder why in the world there are so many cars on the road at 6:25 on a Sunday morning. Also wonder if we’re the only ones who are late. Oh, nope! There’s another car with a bike on the back… phew!
6:30 am – Davey drops me off at the transition area and goes to park the car. What a guy!
6:45 am – Set up our transition areas, slather on sunscreen, chug more water because we’re dripping sweat because it’s already almost 90° and what feels like 100% humidity.
7:00 am – Transition closes. We both head to the porta-potty line that has now looped around the block.
7:13 am – Head over to the river to watch the open water swimmers and the Olympic distance triathletes start. The race director tells us over the loud speaker that they closed the dam to slow down the current and that it will seem like we’re swimming in still water. Phew!
7:15 am – Watch the open water swimmers start their race. We’re amazed at how fast they’re swimming… and then they make a turn and seem to not be moving.
7:30 am – Our eyes are glued to the swimmers and everyone is strategizing and talking about how to compensate for the current.
8:00 am – Line up to start the swim. Davey’s #89 and I’m 90 so we’re next to each other. Davey has become an amazing swimmer so my goal is to keep up with him.
8:15 am – The lady behind me tells us that her friend who swam the sprint distance open water swim finished in 8 minutes when it normally takes her 5. As we watch the sprint swimmers jump in the river, it seems like the current is stronger than before.
8:17 am – I hate to admit this but both Davey and I think that we’re not gonna be swept away by the current because we’re strong swimmers. HA. If only we knew what we were in for!
8:30 am – Davey jumps in! Two seconds later, I jump in! We’re speeding to the first bouy and it feels great! I’m keeping up with Davey and I’m feeling good! And then we round the buoy and have to swim diagonally across the current (the swim route was a triangle).
I have no idea what time it is anymore – It feels like I’m not moving. I use the batman building to sight and it’s been in the same place for what seems like forever. I sight for the buoy ahead and it seems like I’ll never reach it. I’m getting really, really tired. I’m also drifting backwards towards the olympic distance buoys. Crap. Here’s a video of how bad the current was… use the pole as a reference:
WHY-AM-I-STILL-IN-THIS-RIVER-O’CKOCK – I cannot believe I’m still swimming and going nowhere. I think about quitting and start to wave for help. But then something comes over me and I dig deep and am determined to conquer this terrible current.
I finally make it to the turn around and start my swim back to the dock. And I start drifting again despite swimming agains the current at a 90° angle. I make it a few feet from the dock and am absolutely exhausted and simply cannot fight the current any longer. I tread water, and start yelling “I’m not even moving! This current sucks! I can’t do this… and on and on”. An angel volunteer on a paddle board comes by and tells me I can do it and if I just swim towards the bank, the current isn’t as strong. Once I’m there, they let us hold on to the dock and shimmy our way over to the ladder.
I climb up the ladder and say, “I’ve never been so glad to be on dry land!” Halleljuah! I survived! Who knows how long it took, but I made it! Then I smile and pose for the race photographer and make it look like the swim was a piece of cake.
As I run by, I hear the race directer say that they are canceling the rest of the swim and turning the race into a duathlon. I think that was a smart decision because the current was dangerous, but I’m bummed because I worked so hard to complete that swim!
My official time for 400m was 29:18. Last year I swam that in 7:10 and I did my half-Ironman swim (1.2 miles) last September in 28:42. Crazy!
At this point, I honestly want to just get to T1 and sit down and maybe quit. But then I hear my name and I look up and see that our friends surprised us and came to cheer us on! I can’t even tell you what a boost that was. It’s because of them that I didn’t give up!
T1 was a blur. I was dizzy from the swim and have no memory of transitioning. All I remember is not seeing Davey’s bike and feeling relieved that he made it out of the river. At least I remembered to put my helmet on!
I expected to feel exhausted on the bike after that hellacious swim and because my legs were still sore from half-dome, but I was surprised at how good I felt. I decided to try and hit my goal of beating my past 2 times of 50:33 and 52:53.
I pushed myself on the bike and just before the turn-around, I saw Davey and we cheered each other on. It’s SO FUN to do races together and see each other on the course!
I kept playing yo-yo with this one guy and right at mile 13, he caught up and passed me and said, “YES! I did it! I passed you!” I laughed and felt proud that a guy had a goal to beat me.
I raced down the hill into the transition area and was so happy that my bike speedometer read 49 minutes!
I felt really good after the bike and I think all that spinning loosened up my legs because they felt strong! I grabbed a margarita shot block and started running…
Shortly after leaving T2, I saw our friends and they cheered me on. Other than my first race, I’ve never had friends or family at any of my races and boy is it AMAZING!
The whole first mile is basically uphill and I was proud of myself for not stopping to walk. I was trying to keep up with this 60-year old guy and actually passed him at 1 1/2 miles. I didn’t get very far ahead of him and I’m glad I didn’t because he was so funny and kept making hysterical comments when people passed him.
The mile 2 water station was a DREAM and they gave us icy towels. It was heaven.
The good thing about the first part of the run being uphill was that the last half mile was downhill to the finish!
Despite a challenging swim, this was an amazing and fun race! I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in my energy level and endurance since using Plexus supplements and I think it showed in this race!
Our friends are the BEST and they even wore their TwoTri shirts! This race was a blast and as always, we learned a lot and were in awe at how much the same race can change from year to year.