Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report- Part 2

Time to Swim:

I'm a swimmer at heart. I started swimming competitively at age 8. I know the water. I love the water. I have total comfort there. During the pre-race craziness, I went for a 20 minute warm up swim. It was so peaceful. My face was under the water and all sounds were blocked. All sights were blocked. I was alone with my thoughts. Swimming is my strongest piece of the race I believe, and I was ready to go for it.

I crossed over the timing mat onto the beach. The lake area was remarkably quiet given what was happening. Maybe it was just that my brain was numb. I was in my own moment. I had dreamed of this moment. Visualized it. I remembered watching IMLP '08. I cried at the start of that swim...just imagining what they were all feeling. And how I would feel. Now, it was my turn. I worked so so hard all year in the water. I felt strong and ready to pull out a good first leg. Jeff (my little bro) had asked me only 30 minutes before..." Are you going to go fast here or ssave your energy?" I told him I was going for it. I'd go as hard as I could hold for an hour. That was the plan.

So I crossed the mat..beep.... a sound I grew to love during the day. Crossing the mats. It meant I was there. No turning back. I'm on the other side. Mary and I hugged, barely uttered a word to each other and headed to opposite sides of the lake. We had our own individual plans.

I swam out towards the line. I was going to get far left and in front. Kind of pushy of me and kind of brave. I thought I could hold my own.
Well, I held onto the dock that stuck out. Many others were already holding on so I joined them. The plan was simply to save energy for 10 more minutes. Sort of a funny thought. We were in a lke with wetsuits. I really could have just floated. Would have been muuuuuch better.

So the sounds of Ironman are swirling around me. Music is blasting. Don't STop Believing by Journey is in the air. Love that song. My sons love that song and sure enough, they noticed it and were all excited for me. I was getting really nervous. Excited. And then,
OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! What???
My foot rubbed something underwater ever so slightly. I pulled my left foot above water to find a 3 Inch piece of METAL stuck in my toe!?? OH NO! I yanked that rigth out but the worst part was the bunches of little shards still stuck in the side of my foot...little shards. I was Freaked! Paniced really. 5 minutes to Ironman. Never mind the partially torn tendon in my ankle....I had Metal in my foot!!! Men around me held me up while I dug and dug with my fingers. You see, there was a cable running down from the dock to the ground. It looked like a rope. Small pieces of it tore off and into me. Lots of muttering behind me took place, "She got it in her Foot! look out. I just got some in my hand....blah blah blah." All I knew was I had to get it OUT! This could kill my race. I was desperate. 3 minutes to go. A guy on the dock handed me his jackknife. I had a big knife in my hand, digging at my foot, under the flags of an Ironman, 2400 people behind me, with minutes to go. Those tears I expected at the start....were for a different reason. The knife wasn't working. I thanked the guys for helping me and pushed off the dock. And prayed. Time would tell. It didn't hurt...and that was a good sign.

Men behind me were cool. "OK everyone. Easy at the start. Easy with your kicks. We'll all get out of here. No pushing." They were saying stuff like that. I was directly under the flags. Some were trying to get ahead...the kayakers were shoving them back to the line. A referee threatened to take numbers. I couldn't believe's an Ironman. Why are they trying to get an extra 5 seconds by pushign ahead of the line. I floated and floated and prayed and prayed that that metal wouldn't come back to haunt me. And ruin me. It couldn't. I worked too hard all year long to have something like that take away my dream.

BANG! All of a sudden the gunshot! I screamed. More of disbelief that it was starting. I did hit my watch...glad I was in my right mind enough to do that.

Ok...reality. I thought I'd be ok out in front. NOPE!!! I WAS KILLED! I was clobbered. It's hard to desribe this part! Within 2 minutes I think I almost quit. I almost swam to the side and escaped. People attacked me. My goggles were gone. I choked and swallowed TONS of water. I gagged. I was honestly really scared. There's not much more to say. I wondered if it would improve and figured it wouldn't. I was face out of paddling....stroke paddle...cry...panic..... for a while. Finally I got off to the side a bit and could sort of swim. After a little more time, I was ok. I was swimming. I had "clean" water. As much as I could hope for anyway.

After that....just go. go go go go go. I swam hard and felt great. No soreness. No fatigue. I hadn't felt that in a while! it was great.
As I got close to shore and ready to exit and make the quick jaunt on the beach for lap 2, I heard the crowd. I saw the swim arches. I love that. I live for it. The hoopla of it all really fires me up. I swam in far, stood up, and checked my watch.
27 minutes. Awesome. I was shocked! How did I go that fast after dog paddling and nearly dying? Whatever, I'll take it. I'm pretty sure I heard my name and cheers from friends. I knew they were there. That's all I needed.

Back in for lap 2. My eye hurt. My goggle was too tight. I hadn't put it on well after getting hit early on. I was stroke for stroke with another girl and a guy. I had to stop and fix it though. I knew I was ok. I caugth right back up and swam and swam. For a few minutes, as I headed back towards the beach, I found myself spacing out a bit. I wasn't focused. I felt sort of lightheaded. I had a little chat with myself and gathered myself together.

From there it was uneventful. I pushed hard to shore. I heard the crowd. I was a little sad the swim was ending. The rest of the day would be much harder. I was ready down , two to go.

I climbed onto the beach and checked my watch: 57 min. Perfect.

I heard my name hollered and smiled. AFter getting my wetsuit stripped, I picked it up and started the loooooooong loong run to T1. Down a long long hallway of people...across a road and into the tent. The aisle was 10-15 people deep. Smiling, energetic, enthusiastic, supportive people. I Loved that moment and felt myself smiling too. I was going to have fun today. I was going to savor my moment I worked so hard for. This was party time.

down the long row of bags, grab the one with the pretty party ribbon, and into the tent.


Zach said...

You killed that swim! Way to focus after getting the metal in your foot, getting your goggles knocked off, and getting swamped by the psycho swimmers! Looking forward to the next part of your report.

Kim said...

holy cow - i was totally holding my breath reading the part about the metal in your foot! way to overcome that obstacle AND being clobbered at the swim start. goes to show you how much of strong strong swimmer you are!

MaineSport said...

Yikso! Nice start.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

NICE WORK!!! Way to get out there and deal with the adversity of the day. I felt just about THE SAME for the first few minutes of my IM swim as well - nothing can really prepare you for that, I'm convinced.

Nice work on the ribbons on your T1 bag - SMART! :)

Swimming for ME said...

ugh. that is so infuriating to have a start like that! way to hang in there and not get pushed aside. I want to hear the rest!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Yes! I am loving these RRs and details from you and Mary! And, the whole metal thing..when you told me that after the race, oh ick! Ok, this is fun! GLAD you are enjoying some R&R! YOU must!

Mama Simmons said...

Oh yeah, the start of IM swims suck. Just wait until Kona! There are so may people who swim under an hour there that you *never* get clear water- you get kicked the whole time. Niiiice.

IronMatron said...

Yes, I concur about the start. Dog paddle, panting, panic. I think I swam 3 miles instead of the 2.4 just to get away from the crowds! But I wouldn't go the back or even the middle. I bet it's just as bad back there. I'm so glad I was warned about the glass and metal. That is so terrifying. I think I would have fallen apart~

Jennifer Cunnane said...

So much fun to experience the ironman first hand.... keep the stories coming!

BreeWee said...

OH how awesome! Ange your race reports are so inspiring, you did it! One down and more to go-ha ha...
Im really happy for you, made me wish I was there racing too.

Marni said...

Holy cow!! I can't believe you had metal in your foot! Keep checking your foot so it doesn't get infected!! I guess the swim was a relief compared to that mess!!

Melissa said...

Only you.. good grief.. how freaky for that to happen.. I would have wanted to cry..