The race would start on Saturday at 7:15 for the full distance racers. There would be a 15 minute wait and then the start of the half distance waves. My favorite comment from the athlete meeting was that as athletes we were too healthy for the close in parking spaces. The race urged us to use the athlete parking lot 1 mile away so that our family and friends would have access to the easier/closer parking. While this is no big deal before the race...that mile walk back after covering 70.3 miles was a little slow! It also meant that I needed to adjust my timing in the morning to allow enough time to get to the race site and walk from parking.
I knew quite a few others at the race which was a huge help and confidence boost! For the ladies, there was me, Mandy, Pauline, and Kayle. For the guys, there was Mark, Cord, Jon, Ty, and Randy. I also noticed a fellow athlete with the same transition bag and discovered she was also from NWA! There were some others that I recognized from local events but didn't know...either way there was quite a crew of racers from NWA at the Redman event.
|Still sleepy, not quite sure I'm ready, you name it I was feeling it!|
My official race sherpa was my brother in law Tim. Normally my sister accompanies to the start of races and then Tim comes later with the kids. This time he had asked to come early and he didn't even regret it when I said we would be leaving super super early. It was a 30 minute drive to the race site and we got there right around 5:30 when transition was opening.
|Not Cool, Tim!|
|Much better! Ready to race!!!|
The swim is held in Lake Hefner which is only open for swimming for this race. The lake level was really low so the organizers had modified the swim to a triangle with a long mud run to transition. They were able to carpet a lot of the run otherwise it would have been a total mess. Another issue was that some of the buoys had moved off course and even though the organizers explained it to us it didn't make much sense.
|Mandy, Me, Pauline, and Kayle! It was Pauline's 2nd 70.3, but the first for the rest of us!|
|If you look closely, you can see all the ladies have their arms out for balance walking into the lake.|
Imagine my surprise when I spot another white turn buoy...yep still a ways to go since I was only on the 2nd leg of the triangle. I had to keep stopping and moving my goggles in order to sight and find landmarks along the shore to focus on. It was such a great feeling to finally see the big arch over the transition come into focus and realize I was almost done with my swim.
|The first leg of the swim course...just try to figure out the buoy line!|
I swam until my fingers touched the mud because I knew how tough the mud was to walk out of the lake. There were volunteers standing in the mud who helped me stand up and start to get my wetsuit down to waist level. The walk out of the lake was really slippery from all the athletes so I walked slowly until I could get to a spot that was carpeted. I ran up the carpet to the wetsuit strippers where I was quickly helped in getting my wetsuit off. They also had kiddie pools there to help clean off our feet.
From there, I headed to my bike rack and got myself ready to tackle the bike. I had no clue of my swim time and just knew that I felt good except wished I had stayed on course. I checked around me and saw that some of my friends were still swimming so maybe my swim wasn't as bad as I thought.
Swim results: 42:53
Up next: The Bike!