I placed myself to the left of the crowd out by the TYR Buoy. The course bouys looked very far to the right but as they went further out to the ocean they veered left, potentially giving me a straighter shot.The cannon went off and I started swimming. The first thing I noticed was that everyone could...well...swim! It seemed I was placed pretty well in the group I was attached to as I got pulled along with 400 other women around the first part of the course. I actually for the first time that I remember, was able to draft off faster swimmers in front of me for much of the first half of the swim. It was amazing! I had my Speedsuit on, (Hawaii waters wetsuits not allowed-water is too warm per rules). I felt really fast though and settled into a good pace for me. My swim watch battery was dying right before the swim so I gave it to H and had to trust my gut on swim speed. As I turned my arms over and over, I thought ok, this isn't bad and I am in IM KONA! I felt so grateful for all the swims I had done in Melbourne earlier in the year because the swells I was feeling as we headed out to the turnaround seemed to get larger. I couldn't tell if I was swimming with the current or against. It didn't matter because I was pretty comfortable. It really seemed like the swim to the turnaround was forever..then I remembered..oh yea this is what an Ironman swim feels like! I got kicked a couple of times, once in the face but the lack of all the male swimmer made the whole thing so much more enjoyable (sorry boys didn't miss getting run over, kicked and elbows that were much larger than mine in my face), I thought of H and the fam and wondered what they were doing. I was grateful for all the swimming lap after lap I had done over these past 11 months. My mask was good this time. I had the USA logo on my mask and it was cool. The only real issue I had was hunger. Before the swim, I realized I was getting super hungry. I had forgotten to bring a gel down to the water. After asking a couple of official people if they had any gels to no avail, I started looking on the ground for gel packets that may have been dropped-nothing. So the whole swim I had this gnawing hungry pain..just suck it up and don't think about! That's what I told myself. It was hard to ingore at times. Stoopid rooky mistake!
Finally I saw the big boat and knew we were close to the turnaround. I swam around the boat, which was rather large and hard to miss! Also the course was lined with kayaks and paddle boards so it was very difficult to get off course at any time during the long swim. This was nice, since I guess at some places it would have been easy to be pulled off course by the tide. I started swimming back and couldn't figure out if I had the current with me or against as I bobbed up and down with the swell of the current. It was trying to pull me to the right I think. Afterwards, folks said definitely we were swimming against the current on the way back. The land still looked VERY far away, geez am I ever going to finish? However, it was still fun, I was still swimming in Kona IM. I wasn't tired, however was ready to get out as I finally saw the cell tower I was trying to sight. I started running into some of the men who were slower swimmers. They had started 10 minutes before us. Only these guys were not so great swimmers. Swimming backstroke, breaststroke, sometimes four abreast. This got a little frustrating as I tried to swim around them. I know this slowed me down, I could feel it. Finally I was looking up and seeing the dock at Kona and said YES, I am here!! I was a little unsteady getting up the stairs, someone helped me eventually get upright. I pulled my speedsuit off and on to Transition 1 I went!
Swim Time: 1:31:15- Slow for me in an Ironman swim....really slow but my friend Ted reminded me that a wetsuit can increase your speed in the swim by 10 minutes..but all those other ladies didn't have wetsuits either! My swim time was the only thing I was really disappointed time wise in the race..:/ especially since I thought I was going so fast!
T-1: As I passed through the showers to rinse myself off, I asked someone what time it was, I think they said 9:24. Whaaa? I knew I had not swam 2 hrs and 24 min. So was confused but oh well, I was out and getting on the bike! T-1 went smoothly. They handed me my bag, I had my own personal assistant who helped spread my things out nicely and I was able to don all my bike gear on without issues. Yay!! I decided to run to my bike in my socks, someone said people were slipping with their bike shoes. It actually was a tip that was given to me by my bike check in guy the day before, good tip-thanks! Got to my bike and many of bikes were gone around me. Dang! It meant I didn't swim as fast as I thought.l.oh well..I was still in Kona Ironman..
T-1 time: 7:38
I will stop here for now. There is a Hurricane/Tropical Storm heading towards the Big Island for tomorrow and Saturday. I have an upper respiratory infection brewing. Not exactly how I envisioned the rest of the vacation going but going with the flow. Some of the fam are leaving early because of storm. We did however get a boat dolphin tour today with the the whole clan. Everyone got to snorkel and on the way back we followed about a dozen dolphins for awhile. The kids (big and little) were thrilled.
And to add, on the Dolphin Tour, we were on the boat for about 15 minutes. We were all the way out from land following the Coast. The Captain says this is the turnaround for the IM Swim. I was amazed and turned to my son-in-law and said how the heck did I swim that? Ha!