The morning began well. I was up at 3:15 a.m. and ready to go before 4 a.m. Kelli dropped me at T2 so I could put out my run gear and catch a shuttle to the lake. I was on one of the first buses to leave the shuttle area and arrived at T1 by 5 a.m. Body marking was very efficient and I went to my bike to set up my transition area. My tires were fine. There was a lot of chatter on the Facebook page about tires blowing up yesterday. I didn’t see many people having to change tires.
One person I really wanted to meet here was Elaine Dowden aka lastwaveelaine. She is 70
years old and still racing. I spotted her and her husband on Friday and met them. Here we are together this morning. It was so nice to meet her. I can only hope that I am still racing at 70!
I had a good nutrition plan in place for today. I was able to follow everything thing this morning except for a bagel. The hotel said they would have bagels but they had muffins in the bags they prepared for us instead. I did have my protein shake before I left the room and had two bananas in addition to drinking Heed, Osmo and water starting when I got up.
The race was called for wetsuit legal by one tenth of a degree. Many people did not have their wetsuits because yesterday the water temperature was three degrees over the cut off. I didn’t have mine but I think I would have been too hot in it anyway. Maybe it would have helped though. It is hard to tell. This was an age group wave start. When I looked at the list and number in the wave I thought it would be large but it really wasn’t. The women in my age group were 50+. They were a really nice group of women and we were all basically congratulating one another for being out there at our age and all admiring Elaine and a few other women who were near or over 70. We want to be them. We began in the water about waist deep and suddenly heard a scream from a woman near the front of the group. A snake wrapped around her leg and then swam off. I don’t know what kind of snake. I found my spot near the back in my little Meme box, the gun went off, and we began. I was in the back, heading out for the first 600. It was a slow start for me, which seems normal. For some reason I have a hard time getting going. This was my first open water swim since last fall. I was not nervous though, just slower than I wanted to be. I had to rest at a kayak and reset myself and then went on. I finally rounded the first turn. The water really was not bad temperature wise. I hit a few cold spots but not many. There were kayaks, paddle boards and boats everywhere. I also knew that there were 20 scuba divers in the water from my conversation with the head of the swimming set up on Friday. I was certainly safe. Once I was around the first turn the water got rougher. I didn’t really realize that until later. It was very choppy and pretty windy. Before the swim it appeared like it might rain for a while but it didn’t. I was taking the swim 100 at a time. Around the third buoy, or 900 yards, my left calf cramped. I got to a kayak for a few minutes and worked it out. It cramped again. Got to a kayak again. Then both legs cramped and I was at a kayak once again. By this time I was just about to the fifth buoy, or 1100 yards. The kayaker gave me water and a life preserver. I rested and tried to work out the kinks. I tried to swim again but the cramps were just too bad this time. I had to call it a day. It took some time to actually get on a boat to get in but when I did, I got a ‘Roll Tide’ from the people on board because they were Alabama grads and their son, who was with them, wants to go to UA.
This was not the day I planned but I am ok with it. I have added to my checklist of things I need to do. Go buy myself a bagel. Eat right the day before. I probably need to rest more. I did rest but yesterday was busier than I anticipated with running around getting things done.
I appreciate the support I have had along the way.There are so many people that I am afraid I would miss someone if I started naming people. I repeated many of your names as I swam though – it is one of the thing that helps keep me going in a race. I really want to thank Kelli for coming along and being my tri sherpa. It has been wonderful to have her here. Sam and I texted immediately. There will be more swimming. I’ll get this. Next Saturday is Buster Britton, take 3. I’m not giving up. I will complete a half Ironman. The reasons I race are too important to me not to do so.
I will probably write a few more things about Raleigh. It has been a great experience and I have learned quite a bit. On to Buster Britton though.