Wingman and I woke up at 4a to get ready. Our gear was packed the night before. Not that I had much gear (wetsuit and goggles), but we ate breakfast and packed the car to begin the long drive to Oyster Bay. When we arrived it was still kinda dark and FREEZING!! I really wanted to put my wetsuit on to stay warm, but I knew once the sun came out that it would warm up and I'd be too hot. I regretted my decision to leave my sweatshirt home and only wear a long sleeve shirt. Finally when the sun came up, it warmed up.
We met up at the bike rack in transition and reviewed our race 'strategy'. OK, we had no strategy but we chatted it up until we were told to make our way down to the water. Our transition location was right near an exit so I was happy. We also grabbed the end spot so we had some room to hang out. I grabbed my wetsuit and started the walk. Daddy BAMF and Wingman came with me to the swim start. We were in the 5th wave so I had ~17 minutes to wait after the 1st wave went out. I forgot what a nightmare it is at TOBAY to actually get into the water. We have to walk down a concrete trailer ramp for launching boats. It is so chewed and beat up that you have to be careful with each foot placement so you don't twist an ankle or cut your foot. I got to the starting line and waited it out. They put 'Teddy Roosevelt' on the mic to say a few words and wish us good luck. I thought I had picked out a nice starting point. It didn't look like there were too many women in my wave. The level of testosterone was quite high. Once the gun went off, it was like the wild, wild west. The nice spot I thought I had was quickly swallowed up by the men around me. I had a lot of trouble trying to find a rhythm and get my heart rate settled. I wasn't even at the first buoy and I thought I was going to panic. I actually stopped and waited ~4 seconds for the traffic to clear up around me because I had no where to go. As I tried swimming all I could think was "am I breathing? Is air actually getting into my lungs?" because it felt like I was inhaling, but nothing was coming in. I stayed calm and just focused on one arm in front of the other. The water was very choppy from everyone thrashing around. Finally about halfway out to the turn buoy, I felt like myself again. I had some room and could swim without being kicked and punched. Seriously, I don't remember the ironman swim being so violent at the start.
As I made my way to the turn buoy, I looked around to see what room I would have and how I needed to approach. The coast was clear so I made a beeline to the buoy and made a tight turn. Normally a swim course is a triangle or rectangle shape, but this one was a super tight rectangle. So tight that the turn around was almost like a u-turn. On the way back in my goggles started to fog so I had some trouble making out the final buoy. But I had no trouble recognizing all the caps from the wave that started in front of me. I passed A LOT of white caps. Not to shabby for starting 5 minutes behind them. I followed Ian's secret swim tips for the 2nd half of the swim and it paid off.
The swim exit is always tricky for me. Last year I asked Sinead for advice as to when I should actually stand up to prepare for the exit. I usually stand too late in shallow water and my momentum carries me forward and I fall as I try to stand. Ever since she told me when to stand, I've had no trouble with the exit. As I get ready to finish the swim, I always think "What would Sinead do?"(wwsd) for guidance. As I got closer to the exit, the bottom was murky and I could not see. I did notice someone else walking so I decided to stand up. Then I noticed I was waist deep. Drat!! I got up too early. I got down and swam some more. When I finally stood up, it was a little late (not what Sinead would do). I was shallow, but I didn't fall over. I made my way up the carpet to a hero's reception from the crowd. I looked at my watch and was please with my time, until I did some math and realized the swim must have been a little short. I could see the transition area ahead and was looking forward to passing the chip to the Wingman. Where I thought I would be entering was not the case. I had to run down the entire length of the transition before I could enter it. If I go back and measure it, I believe it was 4 miles, uphill, in the snow to transition while fighting off a grizzly bear (or is that the path my dad took walking to school). I don't know, it seemed like a far run. Thank goodness they put carpet down. Once I got inside I passed the chip off and was done.
Wingman had an awesome ride and Daddy BAMF kicked some butt on the run. It's a difficult course because of the hills. But if you pace yourself right, you'll be fine. Both the bike and run course are uphill for the 1st half and downhill the 2nd half. Overall, we did well as a team. We finished 8 out of 20 in the Coed division and 26 out of 61 of all teams. Not too shabby for a trio of Bad Ass MotherF*#$kers.
Daddy BAMF, me, Wingman