Swim Goal: 1:15
Swim Time: 1:16
Swimming with the Masters Swim Club in the winter had me a little worried as we were only swimming 1,700 to 2,200 meters per swim twice a week. A far cry from 3,800 meters of the IM swim but as Masters ended in June, coach ramped up my swimming. I told her I wanted to move to three swims per week with the third swim at lunch time in the middle of the week, but only made it out once. The workouts she gave me gently ramped me up to 3,800 to 4,000 meters swims. This gave me a lot of confidence but one swim session at Lake Wilcox destroyed it. I swam with a couple of friends who are very very fast swimmers. I tried to keep up for the one kilometer crossing but ended up blowing up. It might have been the fact that Lake Wilcox is so murky it had me freaked out but a couple of swims at John and Paula's pond help fix that problem. They have a pond with a 400 meter course mapped out so 10 loops equal 4,000 meters. My swims came in at 1:17 and 1:14. Good enough! I figured I might come in a little faster if I caught a good draft.
Fast Forward: Mike Reilly yelling Go, Go, Go!!! (I was still waiting for the cannon)
In hindsight, I should have been a little more conscience of WHERE I was starting on the beach. I just kept walking down towards the right flag assuming my friends from the Markham Tri Club were following me but when the race started, they were no where to be seen so I waded in. This was easiest the biggest race I've been in. All the other triathlons were wave starts and had a max of 300 swimmers per wave. This race had 2,000 people starting at the same time. The course was a simple one mile out, 0.4 mile to the right and then one mile straight to the finish. The line I had chosen was probably one of the worst ones as a lot of the stronger swimmers would be following the line. About 300 meters out, I ran into someone doing breast stroke. He kicked me three times as I tried to move out of the way but there were so many swimmers beside me, it was almost impossible to move. I seriously considered punching him in the back of the head for starting in the middle of the pack and swimming breast stroke so soon. I moved on. About 500 meters out, all of a sudden, it got really really congested. Everybody stopped swimming and I was getting hit. People started yelling to keep swimming and it eventually opened up. I think what had happened was that the swimmers who started to the far left began to cut in towards the buoy line and it was like a traffic jam. I kept trying to jump from swimmer to swimmer to find a good draft but it never worked.
Eventually coming down the back stretch, I caught a half decent swimmer and was able to draft off him for a little bit. When I looked to the right, I was only 10 meters away from the buoy line but when I looked to my left, I could see swimmers at least 30 meters away. They were adding some serious distance to the swim. About 500 meters to go, I got punched in the face. Again, the swim never really opened up as there were swimmers constantly around me.
I had to take a wicked leak and tried to pee while I was swimming. Similar to peeing on the bike, it is a talent that I've yet to acquire. As I got closer to shore, the water is so clear that I could see the bottom. I kept swimming until I could touch bottom. Then I started to pee so I took my time getting out of the water. Scobie had told me a pretty good trick when the swim has wet suit strippers. Run out of the water and look for the biggest guy and point at him. I did just that, and he yelled at me to get down and he ripped off my wet suit in a second. I immediately jumped to my feet, thanking him and started the long run to transition.
Seeing that its about 500 meters to transition, the organizers were kind enough to lay red carpet all the way. People lined the road yelling encouragement and half way there I saw Tammy with the kids and Paul S (his wife was racing, so he had the kids). I stopped and gave her a quick kiss and ran into the massive tent to pick up my bike bag and ran to find a chair. It was very noisy and crowded as most of the chairs were taken (did I really swim that slow?). The guy besides me was taking his sweet time but around him everybody was moving very quickly. I dumped my bag and got changed. It seemed like I was in there forever (T1 is usually very slow for me). I ran out to find my bike and began my long bike ride.
Mistakes I Made:
1. not getting to the beach earlier to check out a good swim line
2. not wearing my tri top under my wet suit. I wore a bright orange running shirt so at least Tammy could see me. I was very worried about the air temperature coming out of the water. The forecast was only eight degrees Celsius (46 F)
3. putting on my "home made" arm warmers (made out of tube stocks with the ends cut off). That wasted several minutes as it wasn't that cold
4. swim a "little" faster or try harder to find a draft.
Transition Time: 11:51
Expected Time: None