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Ironman Lake Placid 2012: The Swim – Geek Turned Athlete

Ironman Lake Placid 2012: The Swim

I completed my second Ironman a little more than a week ago. It sounds crazy for me even to type that out. I took some chances with this one, and even though the last half of the race didn’t pan out exactly how I had hoped, I’m glad did it. I learned A LOT from this race. I shall deem Ironman Lake Placid my little experiment with getting out of my comfort zone. 😉

Goals for this race:
* Have fun and enjoy the journey. MOST IMPORTANT!
* Keep my nutrition in check. Eat, eat, eat!
* Pace myself on the bike and run.
* Survive the swim.

I was nervous the morning of, but not anywhere as nervous as I remember being for my first sprint tri about 4 years ago. My, my, how things have changed.
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In case you guys missed it, I knew Leah back from when I used to live in Germany. She suggested doing IMLP in 2012 while we were living there a few years ago. I told her I would do it with her before I even completed my first half Ironman. I think I have a screw loose or something.  And here we are, already in 2012. Anyway, this was her first Ironman, and although I knew she was nervous, she did a good job at keeping it under control.

We hung out with our family and friends until the pros started, and then we headed out to the water.

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Swim Goal: 1:25 to 1:35

Originally, I had planned on starting in the back of the pack like I always do. I hate the chaos of mass starts, and usually my goal is just to survive them. I don’t know what was with me that morning, but I was feeling feisty. I kept thinking to myself, how am I ever going to get a good swim time if I don’t throw myself into the mix? I’m sick of being too meak in the water and playing it safe. So, what did I do? I said goodbye to Leah in the far back. We wished each other good luck and I seeded myself in the middle of this floating nervous mass.

I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins. Swimming has been the hardest thing for me to overcome with triathlon. What was I thinking? I didn’t have time to talk myself out of it because the gun went off. I didn’t move. I couldn’t. For what seemed like an eternity, I waited for the people in front of me to move (they had to wait for the people in front of them to move who had to wait for the people ahead of them to move, etc.). In all actuality, I probably waited about 10 seconds.

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That was went the real chaos started. I got kicked in the chest, legs, stomach. I was punched in the head, shoulders, and arms. A couple of guys actually started to swim over me, and I kicked them off. Instead of getting scared and waiting for this hell to pass, I got angry.

I DESERVE TO BE HERE AS MUCH AS YOU DO, F*&^ERS!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry that I was cussing, but if were getting your face bashed in, you would be too.  At least it was in my head and not out loud.  I have problems with that sometimes.

This is war! I was getting nauseous from all the sloshing water, but I was actually hanging with the group. It really did feel like I was in a washing machine.

All of the sudden, people stopped swimming. A kayak cut right in front of me. All I could hear was yelling to my right. It sounded like a bunch of seals to me. I couldn’t make out any of the words, but I found out later from Leah that they were saying, “Man down!! Man down!! Man down!!” They were all pointing to someone who was unconscious in the water. As the kayak was headed over there, people were panicking and grabbing onto it. Then, people started to push on me again from behind. I couldn’t go anywhere because of all the people stopped ahead of me were all freaked out due to the man down. A guy behind me yelled, “MOVE!” I yelled back, “I can’t! Do you not see all the people in front of me?!” Looking back, he may not have been yelling at me. I was just on high alert since people (especially large groups of them) tend to be dangerous when they panic. I yelled out, “Okay, people. You can start swimming now!” And the massive ball of panic started moving again, my body back in a giant washing machine.

It didn’t really start thinning out until I got to the turn around buoy. This is not normal, but I think that extra chaos of basically having TWO mass starts instead of one complicated things.

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I made every stroke count. I sighted the way I had practiced before with my tri team. As I neared the shore the swimming area became congested again. I got punched in the nose. When I was finally able to put my feet down in the sand, I stood up and ran across the beach (all while checking my nose to see if I was bleeding– no), ran through the water again, and did a little diving jump in when I could not longer run. There were guys just wading in gingerly. I meant business. Let’s get’er done!!!!

It was two laps of chaos for 2.4 miles. Not one. Oh joy. Most of my second lap was spent swimming almost past a guy, the guy noticing a girl (the pink cap gives it away) was passing him, the guy swimming with a faster stroke cadence to not let himself be chicked, me swimming at a constant rate, the guy getting tired and finally letting me pass him. This easily went on about 10 times with different guys.

After I swam around the turn around buoy for the second time, I was finally able to see the underwater line for a little bit that everyone was so psyched about. Yay!! No sighting for a while. That was, until I swam too close to one of the buoys and swam through a rope loop that effectively wrapped itself around my right arm and head. The rope was literally holding me under the water. Instead of panicking, I calmly forced myself deeper underwater to untangle myself and continued swimming. WHO WAS THIS PERSON??? A few years ago, I probably would have freaked out so badly, that I would have drowned myself. I tried to follow the line for a little bit longer after that, but then I started getting pushed over to my right again by some aggressive swimmers. I got punched in the nose AGAIN before exiting the water. No bleeding. All good.  Looked down at watch. Even better. 😉

Swim Time: 1:19 (HOLY CRAP!!!!!!) This number might be slow to you, but to cut 13 minutes off of an IM swim in 9 months is pretty cool!! I’m so proud of this. 😉

I got my wetsuit ripped off as quickly as I could and took off. The hubs had been giving me hell for my SLOW transition times, so I ran while everyone else walked down the very long path from the lake to the madness of the muggy transition tent…

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • donna July 30, 2012, 8:07 pm

    You are super woman…all business in the swim. I love it. And I love that you are still wearing your TB tri kit. I know there will come a time when you join another team and wear their kit but right now it makes me so happy to see you wearing at your IM. Can’t wait for the next instalment. I bet you rocked the bike too!

    Reply
  • Miz July 31, 2012, 3:15 am

    so so so flipping inspiring.
    Miz recently posted..My hips dont lie…

    Reply
  • Jess July 31, 2012, 2:49 pm

    You impress the HELL outta me girl. I LOVE this. It felt like reading a suspense thriller! I can’t wait for the next installation :)
    Jess recently posted..Drop back weeks are awesome

    Reply
  • Linda July 31, 2012, 6:05 pm

    I am impressed how you kept pushing your self even after being punched in the face acouple
    of times and being kicked and punched in deferent body areas. How you have the tenacity to
    keep pushing your self after what you have gone thru, you SO ROCK, looking forward to hear
    what happens next.

    Reply
  • AmyD July 31, 2012, 6:44 pm

    This is why I’m nervous about doing any bigger race. The idea of getting punched freaks me out. I can’t wait to read more.

    Also, what kind of goggles do you wear and do they give you raccoon eyes? I’m thinking of going to Swedes, but the idea of no padding and getting kicked in the face freaks me out even more. :)
    AmyD recently posted..Tarawera Ultramarathon – Part 1

    Reply
  • Marcie August 3, 2012, 7:38 am

    Getting kicked in the nose twice??? You are a strong woman….the energizer bunny.
    Marcie recently posted..Frenemies & Spanx….a deadly combination

    Reply
  • Sheryl August 4, 2012, 10:49 am

    Congrats on Ironman#2!! You write the best race reports. I can’t wait to read the rest. You are inspiring!!! I participated in my first multisport event last wknd…a sprint duathlon. A long term goal for me is a half Ironman…have to work on my swimming!

    Reply
    • Nicole August 6, 2012, 9:26 am

      Good for you! If I can do it, trust me, you can!

      Reply
  • Brian August 16, 2012, 5:00 am

    Great job! Entertaining reading too! I can’t wait until next year. :)
    Brian recently posted..Race Report: Steelman Olympic 2012

    Reply
  • steena October 28, 2012, 6:41 pm

    1. I LOVE your wetsuit!!
    2. omg, that swim sounds terrifying, and I’m a person who is generally comfortable in the water. Way to go, keeping calm, a 19 minute swim PR is amazing!

    Reply
    • Nicole October 31, 2012, 7:07 pm

      Get a few open water swims in before your race. You will be fine! Just tell yourself that you belong there just as much as everyone else. It helped me stay calm! 😉

      Reply
  • Swimming Goggles May 2, 2013, 4:35 am

    Sounds like a real competitive swim! I am so proud you managed to finish in the time you did, hats off to you!

    Reply

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