"O My child, give Me your heart, for out of it issues life. My hand is upon you, and I will keep you in all places wherever you go. I am your God, and I am your Father, and I will care for you and provide for you according to all that you need. I will be at your side, ready to help you whenever you call on Me. I am not unmindful of your needs, and My concern is for you."
Thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All things come from you. Thank you to all of my friends, family, and the church body for praying and supporting me. My wife Liz, you are such an incredible woman taking such good care of me and supporting me throughout this entire Ironman journey. I'm so blessed to have you. Thierry, your words of encouragement and excitement touched my heart.
My alarm woke me up from a deep sleep at 4:15AM. It was time to get out of bed and try to pour down as many calories as I could stand before race start. I would be burning around 1,100 calories in the swim alone (based on my swim time) so I needed to eat as much as possible in the morning knowing I will never be able to make up the calorie deficit during Ironman.
Breakfast consisted of:
1 Bowl of oatmeal 260
1 toasted wheat bagel 280
1 bowl of cottage cheese with blueberries mixed in. 275
1 bottle of Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem. 270 (to drink during the drive to the race and in transition)
We left our Hotel at 5:30AM and had zero traffic or parking problems which was a relief. I just had to drop off my special needs bags and put on my wetsuit. (My bike and other gear was dropped off Saturday)
I arrived at transition to find my front tire flat sending me in to a little panic. Fortunately the race support crew from Landis Cyclery fixed it in 5 minutes and I was good to go.
The longest swim I had ever done in training was 1.5 miles so I really did not know what to expect. Race morning water temperature was 60 degrees. I had talked to so many people and read so many blogs about suggested ways to start the IMAZ swim that it was now 30 minutes from race start and I still was not sure what I was going to do. IMAZ is a deep water start meaning you have to swim 100 yards to the start line and tread water until the cannon goes of at 7AM. Some told me wait as long as possible to get in the water otherwise you will freeze and waste energy before the race starts. Others said swim to the start early and sit on the bank of the lake, out of the water until the start. Others still said stay as far away from the bank as you can, its too crowded and you will swim a longer distance. If you've been reading my blog you know I hate the swim and struggle with it, especially in cold water. After a short prayer I put on my neoprene cap, my goggles and then my swim cap (to hold my goggles on if I get hit.). I decided to go in the water at 6:50AM that would give me 10 minutes to swim easy to the start and find a place to tread water. I figured 10 minutes wouldn't hurt me.
At 6:45 I started slowly to the dock with hundreds of other athletes. I've never seen so many grown ups walk to the edge of the water like little kids and just stare, not willing to jump in. I was one. Finally a guy with a bull horn yells "Your going to miss your start! If you don't start jumping in I'm going to start pushing you in!" He looked like a man of his word so I jumped in. It hit me...the cold...I couldn't put my face in the water and swim normal because I was still
trying to catch my breath so I back stroked and clumsily thrashed my arms looking for a place to start. To my surprise I found it. A nice green kayak to hold on to. I was now positioned less than halfway back in the pack and toward the center of the lake. I had a good line to swim and I was resting my legs. Perfect! It also gave me a chance to take off my wool socks I wore in to the lake to keep my feet warm. With one minute to start, the Kayak had to go and I miraculously found a 12 foot open space of water with no one in it. The cannon fired and my swim started! I received some great advice from a veteran the day before the race. "Your going to be so amped up! When the race starts, swim slow, and then when you've done 2,000 meters swim even slower!" I started a nice easy pace and got hit and kicked while I hit and kicked others. After 500 meters it seemed calm and I was moving forward in the wake of nearly 2,300 swimmers. I was used to the water at this point and experienced none of the panic I've had in previous races. I developed a nice steady pace. The turn was a little further past the Rural Road bridge than I thought which surprised me. It started getting congested again as swimmers aimed for the turn buoy. I got hit a few times and decided to take a wider turn to avoid people. I turned left again and started swimming back toward the Mill street bridges, glanced at my watch again and saw that with only a few hundred meters to go I was on pace to beat my goal time, something I've never done before in a triathlon. I pushed my pace and when I did my right calf cramped severely. I was in agony and could not swim. I flipped on my back and tried to back stroke while I stretched my leg out. It finally felt better and I was able to swim to the stairs to get pulled out of the water. As I stood up on the stairs the cramp hit me again and I had to just stand there and stretch it out. Finally I walked up the stairs and over the timing mat. My swim was officially over.
GOAL TIME 1:44:00
ACTUAL TIME 1:38:39
I walked up to a wetsuit stripper and he had my suit down past my waste in no time. I sat on the ground and as he pulled my suit off of my legs my right calf cramped again. He tried to help me up but I could not move. Another volunteer came over and asked me where the cramp was and started kneading and massaging my calf to work it out. I'm not sure how much time elapsed but after some time I told him that I thought I could stand now. They both helped me up and I limped gingerly to get my bike bag. Despite my cramp it was an amazing swim for me and I felt strong and confident the entire time.
1Peter 5:7 - Thanks Pastor Matt Davis for the mini sermon you e-mailed to me.