"Next up we have our 18-24 year old wave. How many of you this is your first time? Good! You will remember this day for the rest of your life! We'll go at the sound of the air horn." Those were the last words I heard before running into Lake Michigan. My heart was pounding and I was starting to regret ever thinking I could do this. I positioned myself on the outer left side, near the back. My lovely coach gave me the helpful hint to assume this position because it would give me the best chance of not getting kicked in the face. It would have me swim an extra quarter of a mile but it was worth not getting a face lift. I glanced over at the clock. About a minute left until I was about to take on 70.3 miles. In my head I knew that I could do it but at this moment every doubt in the world crossed my mind. Probably because there was no backing out now, now I wait.
"Everyone have a good race!" One of the guys at the front of the pack yells back at everyone. This theme of empathy would follow suit through the rest of the race.....because triathletes are amazing people :) A few seconds left, I saw the official raise the horn. My goggles are on my face and instantly the surroundings become a dark shade of blue. I was ready. But waiting for that horn was kind of like that game you would play in grade school, we called it brownies and elves, where you had to sneak up on the elves while they're backs are turned and you're waiting anxiously for the gym teach to say "GO!" so you can run like hell to the other side of the gym before that person in front of you whips around and grabs you. Ok that sounded really dramatic for a game that a 3rd grader would play but I was pretty anxious. And just as I tapped into that anxiety it was turned into adrenaline because the horn had come off.
Because I don't half-ass much of anything, my crazy self, along with everyone else, did high knees into the water. There wasn't really a point where it became "too deep" where you'd NEED to start swimming but as soon as I saw the people in front of me go in I decided to follow. The course for this swim went about straight out for a short while (maybe 0.1) and then hooked a left. I was more nervous in the 0.1 part of the mile than I was for the duration of the race. For someone who has swam most of her life I was instantly struck by both the person ahead of me's foot and the thought of "what if I drown!?" Well that wasn't going to be the case because I actually did a pretty good job on the swim. As I hooked my left around the bouy I found a comfortable spot and went at it. The only real problem that began to develop was my ability to stay within the bouys. I kept going outside of them so I would occasionally take my face out of the water to see where I was and then end up having to swim a sharp right to put myself back within them. Before long I had worked myself into the wave before me. This made me feel really good, except that it was comprised of older women, something like 50-56 haha. I can say that I never got hit in the face but that I may or may not have kicked someone behind me....my bad yo!
Seeing the bouy color go from white to red was a good sign, half way done!!! Soon enough I could even see the beach, YES! As it became too shallow to swim I stood up and started to unzip my wet suit as I half walked/ran towards the beach. I will admit that I was pretty proud of myself at this point and was even more motivated to hustle my ass out of the water because the outrageously handsome guy in my age group that I saw before the take off was right in front of me :P I didn't see him any more for the race but you bet I chased him out of that water! Anyways, I ran from the beach into transition, passing a few people on the way and hoping in-and-out of a kiddie pool to get some of the sand off. I did a little self check in, I was feeling pretty good and ready to ride for 56 miles!