So, with and hour to go, time to try and relax. So, I break out the iPod, drink some more water, stretch a bit...pass the time. Sun comes up. The day is turning into a spectacular day to go for a swim, a bike ride and a run...with some wardrobe changes in between.
I decide it is time to go check out the lake....
As I approach the lake, there are several young kids who will be doing the race, seemingly a bit anxious about the swim "you can't see the bottom", " wait, there are fish in there"...I calmly reassure them that the sharks sleep in on Sundays..nice of me - no?
So - unlike the previous Tri - which was a pool swim - they send the swimmers off in waves. On this day, it is men, in two groups alphabetically (A-L then M-Z) , then women in two groups, alphabetically, then the mens and womens "master" categories, which are racers 40 years and older, then relay teams.
Wave one goes off at 6:30 AM, wearing white swim caps...they're the white caps and they're churning up the water, appropriate. I missed this little tid bit but heard about it from another blog, apparently there was a water snake sliding through the water - right behind the first wave of swimmers. Nice.
I am in wave two - John is right there beside me - always friendly and making jokes, nervous energy or just who he is? It's just who he is..he's not nervous.
So at 6:34 - the horn sounds and off we go.
So - my impromptu, self designed open water swim (OWS)the other day was a good idea. The water is murky, warm, and I probably would have had a harder time settling in if I hadn't done it - and yet...I still have this dysfunction about OWS...I swear my legs are dragging behind me, not kicking...I didn't try and breathe with my face in the water this time, but still...sheesh.
So we head outwards, out towards the turn buoy (regular marker buoys are usually orange cylinders, turn buoys are usually a different shape, such as a triangle/cone, or a different color) and I notice - guys from the first wave are headed right towards me.
See when you swim in open water, there are no lane markers to tell you your going straight-ish...so you're supposed to "sight" every couple of strokes to make sure you're headed in the right direction. Sighting is when you pop your head up and look forward to find the next buoy and adjust accordingly.
It appeared that the first few guys in the first wave were sighting off the wrong buoy and headed back the way we came, or were going - depending on where you were in the swim. And - one wrong turn, and a little follow the leader, and you have a half dozen guys off course.
I try to wave them in the right direction but they blow past me...someone will get them turned around as there are course marshalls on the swim - in kayaks and motor boats in the event of a missed turn, or swimmer in trouble...
I make it to the turn and head back in towards shore - five words I love to say to myself as I am swimming...head back in towards shore... pass one buoy, then the next, then the last one. I almost get run over by some guy going hell bent for leather directly across my "bow" headed out towards the open lake - parallel towards shore - try to tell him "You're going the wrong way"...but a face full of foot and some lake water and it's lost...All I can think of at this point is of course, Planes, Trains and Automobiles...maybe his response was "How does he know where I'm going, yeah, right - ahh he's drunk"...but in fact I did know where he wanted to go...
Make it out of the swim - to the cheers of our coaches, friends, other spectators and head up the hill to transition quick smile for the camera and I get to the bike.
Now - one adage we are told time and again, and one I live by is "nothing new on race day" that means, don't wear brand new shoes, don't eat food you haven't eaten while training, don't decide to not wear socks while riding...and don't try to use different gadgets on your watch that you've not used previously on race day..
I violated this rule...why do I DO these things??!