The morning of October 9th finally arrived! We were up and out of the house at 3:45am. Michelle was volunteering at the body marking area. Troy and my dad wanted good spots on the seawall and I just assumed I would go with all of them to the race start. I was pretty much the first athlete to arrive at the race area, but it just meant I had lots of time to get things done. I was really nervous, trying to talk myself down and to stay calm, but it was tough to get down my 2 Mix1s and toast with Justin's Almond Butter and a banana. My Aunt Grace with her GoSonja shirt on!
It took awhile for me to find body marking which is odd because I should have asked PIC, since once I finally found it she was there body marking away. It was behind the King Kam hotel. Each number range was assigned 4 volunteers and my range just so happened to be manned (womaned) by the ladies that sat behind us on the airplane. What's the odds? They were super duper excited and did a fantastic job stamping my arms with the official numbers. I've never had the cool number stamps before and it made it feel like this was a big deal, which just added to the nerves!!
From there I headed over to transition to check on my bike. There was a volunteer every 5 feet telling me which way to go and within 20 seconds of arriving at my bike a lady appeared with a pump for me to use. The volunteer support at this race felt like 5X the amount I have ever seen at any other race (that is once you "found" body marking). I pumped the tires, adjusted the shoes (we got to put our shoes on our bikes, that's unique to the World Championships).
I got into my run bag (led by a volunteer) and deposited some Benadryl just in case I had another allergic reaction at the energy lab. I wanted to make sure I was self sufficient, especially since I knew it was a potential "issue".
Then I was done and had like 90 minutes to wait. I found Troy and said hi, I ambled around. Finally I found Chuckie and Angela and sat down with them. That was great because Chuckie really talked me through my race and reminded me of all the little details we had been over.
When it was finally time to start the getting in the water I felt ready for the day and ready to dig deep. I was nervous, but I knew that once we got going the nerves would go away and I would feel better. Everyone had nerves, everyone. I didn't see one person that looked totally calm and chill. I think it's inevitable. I'm not in this first picture, but look at everyones face, intense!
The pros got off and going and then we age groupers started descending onto the beach. I got in the water right away and found my friend Julia. We had a little nervous chat and then I got swimming out to the start line. First I waved to my two dads who were ready with cameras.
I was getting really excited as I hung onto a boat near the starting line. There was a Ford car floating in the water, there were thousands of people on the seawall. The pier was lined with VIPs and cameras and volunteers. They started giving us a countdown and yelling at us to stop hanging on the floating car. I lined up way left and way in the back.
I was hoping for a stress free start, I guess that's always the hope isn't it? The cannon went off and I hit "go" on my watch and started swimming. PIC got a great shot since she just happened to be standing next to the cannon. You can see the car in the water too.
The contact was minimal, people were swimming nicely and I seemed to mesh with the swimmers around me rather quickly. The water is super clear and the tropical fish are swimming below you, but you can't get caught up looking at all those beautiful fish, you must swim. I didn't have too much trouble ignoring the fish but every once in awhile you would swim over something that would catch your eye, like a tire...or a lunchbox, or a paper plate.
The other great thing about the clear water is that it's so easy to find feet to swim on. The bubbles are obvious, even the feet that are 5 meters ahead are obvious. A guy went past me swimming a good clip so I jumped on his feet. He was swimming faster than me so I really fought hard to stay on his feet. I followed those feet all the way to the turn around where I lost them to the cluster of people trying to turn around a boat, get their bearings and get going in the right direction again.
Then I played a game. I would sit on some feet, then I would pass that person and swim really hard to the next set of feet ahead of them. Then I would sit on those feet before I did it again. I felt like I was swimming really strong, and really fast. I was telling myself "This is going to be a great swim". I felt it. I was hanging on to feet that were barely within my reach. The way back took forever as I played my game of hopscotch. Finally I could see the pier, and then the Ford car, and then the final buoy.
I had lots of contact the last 50 meters or so. We were funneling into the swim exit, there were about 5 of us around and we just pummeled each other those last yards. Kinda silly but it was what it was.
I pulled myself up the stairs and ran up them, just in time to see the clock say 1:10. My first thought was "seriously"? I was a little shocked, I swam really well, really straight, and quite hard. To see the 1:10 was a little alarming because it just didn't match my perceived exertion.
I didn't have any time to think about it though. I was through the showers, grabbing my bag and finding a seat in the changing tent. There were actually seats for me and about 4 volunteers waiting to cater to my every need. They ripped off my swimskin immediately and helped me with my stuff. Again lots of volunteers. I ran out of the tents just in time to see one of my competitors eat it on the run out. I felt bad for her, I would not have wanted to fall down in transition.
I found my bike likity split, threw on the helmet, grabbed my bike and got the shanizzle out of there. More volunteers were helping guide my way and before I knew it I was on my bike, getting my feet into my shoes and biking down Palani Road.