3.8km swim/2.4 miles: 1:14:41
After waking up super early (3:37) and trying to eat, we met my parents to walk down to the race site. Although we had taken most of our gear down the day before (bike and T1 and T2 bags) we still had our morning clothes bag with our swim gear, fuel and water bottles for the day, and under the bike bags. Thankfully my parents carried mine for me!
Once we arrived at the race site, my nerves kicked into full gear! We got body marked and then headed into the athlete zone to set up our bikes and check on our transition bags.
We had a couple hours, but we used probably an hour setting up my bike and then Kelly’s, checking on our gear bags, and checking on our bikes one last time. Again, it was so great to have Kelly with me!
Although I was wearing two sweaters and thick sweats I was pretty chilly, so I put my wetsuit on and then a sweater back on top. I sat around for a while, listening to the voice of Ironman Canada, Steve King, talk. There was pump-up music playing and athletes milling around. The energy was incredible!!
Pretty soon the pros were starting 15 minutes ahead and we were allowed on to the beach. Kelly and I went there right away and saw my parents had snagged an awesome spot right where we’d exit the lake through to the transitions.
The views from the lake are gorgeous—dessert like mountains and beautiful blue water. Kelly went in the water and I stayed on the beach but was freezing. The temperature at the start was 13C/55F. I went into the water waist deep and warmed right up!
Just over 2,591 people started the race, with 998 Iron virgins! There were also a ton of spotters in the lake on kayaks, boats, and surfboards. The entire fencing was lined with spectators cheering.
I don’t remember much else about the start other than music playing, people cheering, and then the flags being raised for the start. I love having Kelly beside me at the start of a race. It really helps calm my nerves! Kelly and I started beside each other but were quickly separated by the masses.
The water was perfectly clear at the start and you could see the bottom, including a couple fish. I remember looking at my watch at 500m and thinking how much further I had to go! Then, in the next breath, I looked over and saw Kelly breathing right beside me!! We swam together for nearly 500m. He made me laugh so hard that I had to tell myself to stop or I’d choke. When we approached the first turn, he yelled Chaos Corner, oh yeah. We watched a funny video of the 2011 swim beforehand and the guy taping keeps saying that. Around 1:22 and 2:07 it’s really funny!
I was shocked that throughout the whole swim I never got punched or kicked. I expected it at the turns but was ok! The other thing I was surprised with was how many people were around me at all times. For the entire swim, people were constantly touching me, and I had to try and manoeuvre around people. I don’t remember that from AZ.
The last stretch is the longest at 1,800m and it felt great to head down. It was also really easy to sight this leg with two tower hotels right by where we exit.
The water gets pretty shallow for a while, and I knew that but still stood up too early. I was going to swim again but instead took my swim cap and goggles off! I stumbled on slippery rocks for a bit before hitting the beach. I waved to my parents and walked up to the wetsuit strippers after taking my arms out.
They quickly stripped me, I found my transition bag, and I headed to the female change tent. A volunteer accompanied me and was so helpful! She dumped my bag and started stuffing my wet stuff in. In my excitement I forgot to put on one sock so had to take my shoe back off and slow down! On my way out another volunteer rubbed sunscreen on me and then I went to grab my bike. I was nice and warm but decided to put on my jacket knowing how easily I get cold!
Again, too excited, I started going to the other bike area. Thankfully a kind volunteer steered me back on course.
At this point, I didn’t know where Kelly was but thankfully he had an awesome swim too! He finished it in 1:18:24 and had ZERO cramps!!
According to my Garmin I swam 4.18km. I’m not sure if I swam nearly 400m more, but I definitely know I swam really wide to avoid chaos at the corners!
Up next…the challenging but stunning bike course.