OMG I’m such a tease! I had to interrupt race report mayhem to take a quick trip out to Chicago to give a talk at the awards banquet for the Multisport Madness Youth Triathlon Team. Talk about inspiring! These kids are the future of our sport…and I can’t wait to see where they head. Okay…onto the KONA SWIM!
I was first in the water. I was standing by the entrance when the pro men went off and I was in that water as soon as the Ironman volunteers would let me. I started swimming along the sea wall, looking for Troy. They were way down far this year, due to a later arrival. Usually Troy is there at 4am, but everyone was much more relaxed this year. A nice man named Terry let them encroach on his spot and I found them. I did my waves, and blew my kisses. Everyone was so excited and Mikki, Mo and Mom were there too. Ann and Annie had big smiles and dad was there of course with his big camera lens. Even Mary from IM Brazil and our Amazon trip was there, and it was great to see her huge smile.
I lined up left of the big orange buoy. This year the outrigger canoes did not come into the athlete section, so there was nothing to hold onto. Some women had found a paddle boarder and there were like 15 people hanging onto that. There was a lot of energy around that board so I just decided I would hang back behind the swimmers and float on my back. That’s what I did, I just floated on my back and looked at the sky, it was very low energy and kept me calm. Before the start, it’s just a painful waiting game, so however you can make it the least painful, the better.
We all lined up eventually, trying to keep our space, everyone drifted forward despite being yelled at to get back, and boom, off went the cannon.
The start for me was good. I got in my rhythm pretty quickly. I actually ended up swimming behind a guy with no legs for quite awhile. I noticed that people were more respectful around him after they noticed he didn’t have legs. So he was nice to swim behind because people gave him more berth.
About half way to the turn I had lost the legless guy and was getting pummeled by a rather big guy. No matter which way I would go he was always the one running back into me. He was really manhandling his way through the crowd and swimming quite strong. After trying to beat on him back a little, I finally realized that I should just swim on his feet and let him blast a path through the crowd. That’s exactly what he did.
I hit the turn around feeling good, at the second turn buoy I looked at my watch and it said 31. Unfortunately the way back is always slower. Much slower. I swam right of the buoys and spent the whole way back getting yelled at by volunteers on boards. I just held my line. Right is the way to go.
I felt strong on the way back and swam quite hard the final 7-8 minutes. I hopped up the stairs and saw the clock switch over to 1:07. I was good with this. I haven’t felt great in the water these last few weeks, so this was good and I felt strong the whole way.
I ran through the hoses and tried to shower off and then ran to get my bag. They have all these hooks they hang your bag on and when I got to my hook, it was empty. No T2 bag. I checked my wrist bracelet to check that I had remembered the right number, and yup, my hook was empty. I told the volunteer “My bag isn’t here”, in response I just got a wide eyed blank look! “MY BAG ISN’T HERE”…. blank look! What can you do???
But then my problem solving kicked in. Go without, it’s just sunglasses. So I bypassed the change tent, found a nice looking lady volunteer and gave her my swim skin, goggles and cap, explained that my bag got taken, told her my number, and off I went.
Running to my bike my brain was like “What if your bike isn’t there?” Isn’t the brain funny?! Of course my bike was there. I put on my helmet and off I went. It was so crowded I had to walk to the mount line. Too little space on that pier for 2,100 athletes. Onto the bike and I was off!