getting ready to go for a practice swim
feels cold at this point
I really enjoyed the swim and could have stayed in for a long time. The water was very clear for the east coast north of central FL. I could see the bottom the entire time and thought I was shallow, but when I went to go stand I realized I was still very deep and needed to swim another 100 meters before I could stand up.
After the swim it was time to get all the bags together for T1, T2, pre-race, post-race, and bike and run special needs. Then we needed to get the bags and bike checked in by 7:00 PM.
Jennifer was such a huge help. Here she is helping me get my bags stickered.
Putting my bag in the correct bin
It's hard being apart but I'll see you tomorrow my dear
Our heads at dinner. Can't you feel the nervous energy?
Dressed to brave the 37 degree temps
Once I got down to the swim start I put on my wetsuit and began trying to get warm by jogging around. Just as people began heading down to the beach I spotted Jenn who had ridden her bike from the hotel. We walked down the path and between the dunes to one of the most spectacular triathlon scenes I've ever had the privilege of witnessing. The pictures don't do it justice. We were on a large beach with huge dunes that went out to a point with the Atlantic on one side and the channel on the other. It was a vastly open area filled with the a sea of freezing, nervous, wetsuit clad triathletes in bright green swim caps. It was surreal.
Jen and I saying our goodbyes
In the crowd of freezing athletes waiting for sunrise
Even with all our shortcomings, there's no place like the USA!
Dawn. It's almost go time!
Lined up waiting for the horn. You can almost taste the energy.
The pack heads for the channel
Swimming down the channel
The swim leader, a local life guard racing on a relay team. He went 39 and change
The turn at the "wiggly man"
Time to ride
Onto the run
Mile 2.5 still feeing good and finding a good pace
Coming down the chute
Disoriented at this point but glad to be finished
Our view from the breakfast table: surfers. I used to love to do that
Sunset coming into Columbia
In the end I was proud that I was able to finish my first ironman but disappointed that I wasn't able to race to my potential not because of pacing or nutritional mistakes, but because I built my run volume too quickly and brought on ITBS. Now I will take a 3 weeks off running and then rebuild. It's all 5k or less until Festival of Flowers in June of 09. My plan is to build my 5k pace to near 5:40 off the bike so I can compete in the Open division next year. Also, I'm already scoping out my next Ironman. Bring on the '09 season, I have unfinished business!