I sipped on aminos + electrolytes in a small bottle of water and a mug of coffee w/ milk and grabbed my T2 gear (in a drawstring bag that I brought) which included: running shoes, my dad's Corvette hat, race belt, number (safety pinned), Nathan hydration belt + flasks (with extra nutrition in my belt pocket: margarita Clif blocks, salt tube and Clif Bar Gel) and a small towel and headed 10 minutes down the road to T2. I parked and made the 10-15 minute walk to transition.
I decided the night before the race that I would go to T2 first thing in the morning (it opened at 4:30am) to drop off my run gear by myself. Since my mom was driving us to the beach (T1/race start) we did not need to board the bus shuttles. Our athletes ended up on the shuttle buses and they all said it was very easy and not waiting involved.
When I got back to the hotel room, my mom and Karel (and Campy) were up and I ate my typical pre-race meal of banana (consumed in car) a rice cake dressed up with lots of maple syrup, raisins, cinnamon and peanut butter. I brought everything with me from home and laid it all out the night before so it was easy to make and consume.
Karel drove us to T2 and we parked in the spectator parking lot (cars had to be out by 9:30, athletes who drove could park in a different lot but no shuttles back to T1 after the race) across from the transition area.
I laid out my helmet, shoes, Oakley Women RPM shades and compression socks. Since calf sleeves were not allowed in the water with it being non-wet suit legal, I decided to wear my CEP socks instead of putting on socks and calf sleeves. I also had a towel to wipe off my feet and my T1 bag which I was to put all my swim gear in after the swim to be transported to T2 by the volunteers.
We were given a dry clothes bag but we put our clothing, transition bag and pump in our car.
Campy came to greet me after we left transition area and it was very nice to have his great energy around us. He makes every situation less stressful.
I had my pre race drink in a plastic bottle so I tossed it in a garbage can as we were walking to the swim start.
I chatted with Amy before the start and we talked about the best strategy with the shallow water and we both decided that swimming or dolphin diving would move us more than walking (and I don't think either of us considered walking in the swim portion).
At 6:50am we all corralled behind the timing line on the beach and then made our way into the water. It was an in the water start although we could all touch the bottom. The water was extremely warm and the sun was rising as we were waiting for our 6:55am start.
I had heard from previous years about the current in the water and I can say that I never felt as if we had it easy as if the current was in our favor. I felt like the entire 1.2 miles, I was fighting hard to not swim off course because the current was constantly changing.
My main focus was to feel myself catching the water and moving through the water but never losing sight of the buoys. I spotted a lot, probably every 4-6 strokes.
When I made my way around the 2 buoy, I noticed that despite trying to swim a bit harder than I did at Knoxville, I wasn't as tired. I felt strong in the water but for some reason, it just didn't feel fast. As I start swimming toward the shore before one last right hand turn around a buoy to head toward the finish (there was one more turn buoy to go around near the finish), I felt as if my sub 5 hour time goal was not in reach for I feared a very slow swim just because of the difficulty I was experiencing trying to stay on course. As I was swimming to the last buoy by the finish, I noticed that several athletes were walking. I could not feel the bottom with my hands (maybe because I am only 5 feet "tall") but I never considered walking as I was swimming. We kept the buoys on our right the entire swim (except the last buoy to swim around toward the finish) and the buoys were very well marked so you could see which was a turn buoy (candy corn colors) and the red buoys were for spotting. Challenge did a great job marking the swim course.
Nearing the shore, I saw many athletes walking. I stood up but I was not walking very fast. I dolphined dived back into the water and swam some more. I kept doing this until I could stand and run out of the water.
1.2 mile swim: 31:56
1.2 mile swim: 33:40
If you have any questions that you'd like me to cover in my race recap, just send me an email.