I don't even remember if it was a cannon, or a horn, or just someone yelling to GO in Portugese, but all of a sudden the race was on. I took off wading right right right of the barricades. I kept wading right until I got open water and then I started swimming. I was all by myself. I got a little nervous half way to the buoy thinking “What if the swim current is the other direction, then I’m screwed.” But the kayakers in the morning were dragged left, and if it was, then the mass of people would be running into me as I was right. Then I wondered, what if I am too right. I definitely felt really unsure since I was swimming so differently than the rest of the participants. I hit the turn buoy literally 10 meters to the right of it, swam wide around it to keep my open water and a short while later was at the next turn buoy. I headed into shore.
Now I was with the masses after that second buoy and getting the typical Ironman beating. I found some feet, but then I passed them. Found another set, passed them. I starting passing lots of people. This was really freaking me out. I thought, oh no, I swam slow to the first buoy because I went too wide and I’m around all these people that are slower than me. I tried to get past as many as I could and at one point there was about 15 meters of open water ahead of me, and yet I was swimming shoulder to shoulder with about 10 people. It was strange. We were like a front. But then I pulled ahead and into the open water.
I hit the beach perfect and now it was time for the short run through the deep sand. I grabbed some water and looked at the swimmers on the second half of the course. I really took a good hard honest look at the masses. They were all being dragged left so I went with the same tactic as the first half. Way to the right, clear water, not a soul out there. Got in my groove and was able to actually swim hard. I felt less conflicted with my decision to stay right and just focused on swimming strong. I hit the turn buoy just a tad right of it, made a wide turn and then swam with the group back. Same thing as lap 1, I passed a lot of people in the final 800 meters, but this time I felt like it was just because I was swimming strong.
The masses swam the solid line, and I swam the dashed line...all by myself:
No clock on the exit ramp, but I was guessing 1:20. Seriously, I thought I was out there for an hour and twenty minutes. I thought I was slow, thought the swim was slow. No big, it is what it is, I did the best I could. I used the wetsuit strippers and ran into transition. On the run in I got passed by like 6 people. These Brazilians were literally HAULING ass through transition. 2 of them were women and I was like “WTF, it’s a long day, why are they sprinting like it’s a 200 meter race?”
The women's change area was a hallway. I kid you not, there are no women in this race (less than 10%) and we had like 20 chairs in a little hallway, if that. I took pictures of the men and women's areas because it was shocking.
You have to take care of yourself 100% in this race. No volunteer help. There was one lady in the hallway and she just watched me. I'm not sure if they were told not to help, but we were told not to expect any help, so I was ready for that. I went through the motions, packed up my bag and was out of there. At the bikes I saw that Troys was still there, grabbed my beautiful QR Illicito and ran out.
Swim Time: 1:02:05
Swim Placing: 4th in Age Group (super happy with this), 38th woman, 366th out of the water. Top 18%, this is the best I've ever swam I think.
I want to send a huge thank you to my swim coach Nick Levine. He has really had a good plan for getting me faster over the last few months and it's really cool to see that speed I gained in the pool actually start to cross over into the open water. I still have no idea if I swam the right line, but I'm really happy with the result! Thanks Nick!