For some reason, I had it in my head that transition opened at 4:30am, so I was antsy to get my bottles and water on my bike and tires pumped, etc. Shelley and Anna kindly walked Sharon and I down at 4:45 only to find out that transition didn't open until 5. Waiting was hard, I wasn't even out my PJs and hadn't eaten yet. Anna had volunteered in transition so she put her shirt back on when the transition opened and found us a tire pump and our T-bags. We were very lucky in our bag and bike placements, on end rows and near Porta-potties.
Back up to the condo for breakfast, and I managed to eat a good one: 2 frozen waffles, 2 eggs, applesauce, a banana and coffee. Fully fed, I laid back down and dozed for a few minutes until it was time to get my swim and wet suit on. MyKaren was a peeler, so she left a few mintues before we did.
The walk down the beach to the start area was pretty intense, I think it really hit me at that point that I was going to be in an IronMan race very soon! We met up with KateO and Patty and all of us slowly walked to the start corral. The whole scene was surreal; tons of wet suited people wandering around, some excited, some obviously very nervous, the energy was crazy and the crowd was everywhere. We met up with the remainder of the group inside, as we hugged the rear of the corral. We saw the TriGirls and boys (Jill, Grandison, Jackie, Cyndi, Derick, Sarah, Tim and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head--sorry!) Jill was the best, she was beside herself with excitement for us--a camera man filmed her hugging Sharon and then he gave Jill a hug as well...it was very cool. The gun for the pros went off, and then we waited for our turn, which came much sooner than I thought it would.
We had agreed to wait on the beach, but that plan fell apart very shortly. We all waded in as the masses surged into the water after the start gun. It wasn't but 30 second or so, when Sharon looked at me and said lets go. So off we went. I have to say, I loved the swim. I lost sight of Sharon at the first wall of people who were still walking and bouncing out further; I figured if the water was deep enough to swim, that was what I was going to do. I passed a crap load of people in the first hundred meters, lots of people were bobbing around; doing the breast-stroke to sight, and just kind of thrashing around. Thank god for ProKaren; I could SWIM! I would characterize the swim as aggressively defensive; I kept looking ahead in the water for feet and managed not to get kicked or punched. I just looked for openings between people and kicked like hell when I needed to break free from packs of people. It became a game for me to find the open water pockets and before I knew it I was nearly done with the first lap. As I exited the water, the timer said 50 minutes, so I was freaked out since I thought my first lap had sucked. However, I did see Som just yards ahead of me, so I thought I must be doing ok. After grabbing a mouthful of water, I waded back in for the second lap.
I swam as directly as I could to the corner turn bouy and was alone for much of that leg. At the turn bouy all hell was breaking loose as everyone was trying to be as close to it as possible. Again, I thought it was kind of fun to try to squiggle around people and find the smallest openings to try to squirt through before they closed. At one point, I almost got squeezed between two swimmers so I did a cheating catch-up and pushed them off of me without breaking my stroke! I was quite proud of that move, and actually laughed underwater at myself.
Sighting is something that I tend to do fairly well, and I had a good swim back to shore for swim end. I followed ProKaren's advice which is to sight something on shore; the huge arch is a good one for IMFL, and the hell with the bouys. I was again alone for most of the final leg and finally got to shore and waded out. As I was wading I could see part of the clock: 1:2xxx, so I was happy thinking I was like a 1:28 or 9, so I was VERY happy when I was 1:23! I peeled my wetsuit as I ran up the sand to the peeler station, and then began to call for MyKaren much like Rocky did Adrienne---KAAARREN. I saw Shelley and then Karen at the end of the peeler station, and ran to them for peeling. Both looked at their watches in amazement!
Peeled and showered, I entered the changing tent and came to a dead stop. Never have I seen such chaos and skin. I found a chair and began to dry off and get dressed when I hear my name being called by Sharon! Yeah! We were going to be able to ride together! TriLynn found me and helped me get changed the rest of the way and Sharon and I left the tent together. Tomorrow: the BIKE!