Friday, April 18, 2008
Things are finally settling down after a hectic week of travel and getting back to work so I thought I should fill you in on the details of the race.
After a relatively sleepless night I finally got out of bed at 4:30 AM on race day. Despite the lack of sleep I was charged and ready to go.
After a quick shower, I had a 20 ounce bottle of carbo pro and a plain bagel. I never eat too heavy and I just wanted to have something in my stomach to start the day. Then I packed up the remainder of my equipment. I only had to get together my swim stuff and dry clothes for after the race as everything else was packed up and delivered to the transition zones the previous day. Then it was off to the race site which was about a 10 minute drive away.
Once at the race site, I put my nutrition requirements on the bike and added a few other items to my transition bags. Then I got through the body marking section. By now it is only 5:30 AM so I still have a lot of time to kill until start time which is 7:00 AM. The transition zones are filled with nervous racers checking and re-checking their equipment as well as the panic striken folks who realize they have forgotten something important. The volunteers are incredible and are great about getting people help and settling them down.
For the next little while I just laid on the grass in a quiet spot and relaxed. Amazingly the time went by quickly and before long they are making the call for the pro's to get into the water for their start at 6:45 AM. It doesn't seem that long, and then they are calling the age grouper's into the water. So it's time to get into my wet suit and head to the water.
IMAZ is a water start, which means there is no mad run from the beach into the water. We will all be in the water when the gun goes off. It feels great to jump in the water as it finally feels like things are going to start happening. We have about a 100 metres to swim from where we get in to where the race actually begins. I am one of the first in the water and I swim easily up to the front of the line. There is a great place underneath the bridge to wait so I climb up there and just watch the huge numbers of people splashing around making their way to the start line.
When the gun goes off I am determined to swim a little more aggressively and fight for my space. Because I started up closer to the front I am surprised at how quickly I find a decent place to swim and I settle in very quickly. Lake Tempe is man made and is built more like a canal than a lake. It has a concrete edge around and that made swimming in a straight line a whole lot easier. With this a a boundary I just had to ensure I was keeping the same distance from the edge at all times. Also you couldn't miss the turnaround because it was after you passed the second bridge so all those things eliminated the need for a lot of spotting and I could just focus on smooth swimming. Right from the start I settled into a good pace and my stroke was very even and efficient. I was staying with a pack of swimmers who were just in front of me so I was able to draft. At the turn I still felt great and after a kick in the head from a girl in front of me and then a whack in the side of the head from another one, we were on the way back. I knew that I was putting together a good swim because I just seemed to be staying in a great rhythm. I was not tiring at all so I was feeling quite confident that this was going to be a good swim as it was I ended up 10:19 faster than the previous year.
So that was the swim portion. Up next is the 112 mile tour of the desert.
Have a great day!