stephen | September 12, 2007 ( 9:58 PM)

IMoo - The Swim

I moved through my morning setup fairly quickly and was able to get down to the waterfront 45 minutes before the start, avoiding the rush. Serendipitously, I ran into Amy and some of my family as they were making their way to the terrace. We weren't planning on meeting in the morning because it would have been too stressful to find each other, but I was really glad we did. It was great to be able to share their excitement. A few hugs later, I suited up to go in the water. I got in just a few minutes after we were allowed to enter the water, which gave me a full 30 minutes to warm up and then stake out my spot in the front row.

This was the perfect moment of the day for me. The water was a comfortable 76 degrees and calm. The sun was just beginning to rise. I started floating on my back, soaking it all in. Fans lined the terrace and lakefront as a steady stream of athletes entered the water. A helicopter came over the terrace and hovered over the pros who were about to start. I was within 50 meters of the pro starting area and saw them inching forward well beyond the start line as they were jockeying for position. The horn wailed and the pros took off as the terrace erupted in cheering. The whole time I was imagining my own start that I would be experiencing in just 10 more minutes.

As I prepared for the cannon I saw that my positioning was ideal. I had centered myself between the first two buoys. Each buoy had a swarm of swimmers surrounding them, but it was much more open where I was. The announcer, Mike Reilly, asked "Who wants to be an Ironman today?" and a huge roar of affirmation exploded across the lake. The excitement was palpable. "Boom", the cannon blasts, the music starts playing, and the cheers become muffled as I set out.

I went out strong, but by no means sprinting. For the first few 100 meters I noticed that I was leading my small pack out as we slowly began to merge with other lead packs towards the line of buoys. I was concerned that I would get sandwiched in as we began to compress, but I was able to get behind some feet without getting squeezed. On the way out to the first turn I began to get dropped by the lead pack. I decided to fall back because I didn't want to burn out early trying to catch up.

At the first turn buoy I was able to get behind someone else as a group of us convened to make the corner. As the swim went on, I would lose the person I was following and have to go searching for another pair. I wasn't expecting to have to leap frog as often as I did.

After I completed the first loop I had no idea what my swim time was going to be, but I felt like I was pacing it correctly. The second loop went much like the first, but I did pick it up for the last few 100 meters so I could exit strong. The swim always goes too fast and I was sad to have to leave the water. I knew that from here on out that this would be the closest I would be to the lead. I finished the swim in 59:15 in 93rd overall.

Next comes the bike...

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Stephen's 2008 Race Schedule

Date Events Location
2/10 swim meet Brighton
2/17 swim meet Grand Haven
3/2 swim meet West Bloomfield
3/16 swim meet Milford
3/30 YMCA Indoor Tri Ann Arbor
4/5 10k Martian Meteor
4/18 - 4/20 1650 free,
1000 free,
500 free,
200 free,
100 free,
200 IM,
100 IM
State meet @ EMU
5/4 10k Burns Park Run
6/1 Half Mary Dexter/A2
6/8 Sprint A2 Tri
7/13 Sprint Waterloo
8/2 Half IM Steelhead