Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ironman Louisville Race Recap - Swim Leg

After all of our pre-race activities, race morning's wake up came early at 4:30am. I had actually slept relatively well, better than I did on Friday night, and we got up quickly so that we could be ready to go by 4:55am.

Mike and I met everyone in the lobby of the hotel and my parents came with us in our car and Mike's parents and Rob went in another car. My brother and his girlfriend were going to get to the race after we had started our swim.

Our hotel was 15 minutes away from the transition area and we pulled into a parking garage and got out of the car. My mom and dad parked our car for us and we walked to the transition area with our special needs bags, breakfast, morning clothes bags (that we would give to our families), bike pump, nutrition and water.

Transition was bustling and we put air in our tires (I also let two people use our pump), filled our water bottles (after I dumped water out of my bento box on my bike, since it had rained over night), put our nutrition in our bento boxes and dropped off our bike and run special needs bags.

We met back up with our families and Rob outside of transition and made the slow walk to the swim start about a mile away at Tumbleweed Restaurant. As we walked, I continued to drink water and eat my bagel. I knew it was going to be a hot day so I had been hydrating all week leading up to the race.

 Body marked and ready to go

Body marking was at the swim start, which went quickly, and then Mike and I started walking to the back of the swim line. Ironman Louisville is unique in that it has a first come, first served time trial start. The people in the front of the line got there right at 5am! Mike and I kept walking and walking and walking and walking and walking, and then we FINALLY made it to the back of the line. I'll admit that it made me nervous since we would not have the full 17 hours to finish the race (you only have until midnight, no matter when you jump in the water). We did see our table friend from the banquet walk by us, he had to get in line even further back!

 The four of us from the day before

I had to go to the bathroom while waiting in line, and of course there were no port-a-potties near where we had lined up. So I walked all the way back to the last port-a-potties, while stopping to say hi to Gabi and Pablo who were ahead of us in line. Right when I got in line, a woman said, "the line is going to start moving up!" I panicked and got out of line, without going to the bathroom, and walked back to my spot in line (I probably could have gone to the bathroom, but I worried that Mike wouldn't be in line either and then our spots would be skipped over by other people).

 Almost time to go

We chatted with our families while we waited and slowly moved up, and Mike and I got our speed suits halfway on and our watches ready. At 6:50 we heard the start of the pro men's race and then a few minutes later the start of the pro women's race. We could even see a few of the pro men swimming by while we waited in line.

 Ready for our 140.6 mile victory lap!

Then at 7am, the cannon for the age group start went off and we knew it wouldn't be too long before we jumped into the Ohio River. We kept walking, while getting our caps on and our speed suits fully on, and I was ready to get the race started!

As we got closer we could see the line going down the hill toward the docks. Mike and I gave each other a kiss, wished each other luck, and then made our way down the ramp toward the docks. We saw our families one last time and made the final turn.

Athletes could either go left or right, Mike told me to go right and he went left (which meant we jumped off of different docks at almost the exact same time). At 7:24am as I walked on to the dock, I started my watch, and jumped.

I couldn't see anything (the river is really dirty) and then popped up and started swimming. The beginning of the swim is a little bit congested because you swim in between the shore and an island. I tried to start out at an easy pace, but swimming strong against the current, and tried not to weave around other people too much. I moved all the way over to the left and just tried to pass as many people as I could. And remember that I didn't go to the bathroom right before the start? Yea, I took care of that, twice, in the water. I never said triathlon was glamorous!

At one point, I touched someone's feet and the guy turned around and it was Mike! (I asked later if he realized it was me, and he said he thought so). After that I could see him for a little bit, but then I lost him in the masses.

I kept swimming, I kicked some people who were getting really close to trying to pull on me/swim over me, and made it past buoy 1, buoy 2, buoy 3, buoy 4. After buoy 4, the water opened up because we were making our way past the island (I touched bottom at one point since I was so close to the island). We had to keep swimming against the current for awhile, and then finally I saw the red "turn" buoy. I had looked at my watch and I was averaging 1:45/100 yards.

I didn't let that bother me because I knew that I was going to start swimming with the current as soon as I rounded the red buoy. I really liked this part of the swim because I had a lot more room to breathe and I got in a groove. I checked my watch at one point and I was down to 1:34/100 yards. I was moving!

The water got a little chilly in some spots, because we were in open water, but nothing I couldn't handle. Eventually, I passed the final yellow buoy and moved on to the orange buoys. This meant that the first half of the swim was behind me! I could see the three bridges in the distance and pushed to get to them. As we got closer to the first bridge, I could smell some gasoline but that didn't last very long luckily.

I looked at my watch one more time and I was down into the 1:2x/100 yards. I got by the second bridge and I knew that I had only a few more minutes of the swim left.

 On to the bike!

I was shocked at my swim time!

As I got closer to the exit, I swam as fast as I could, and got to the stairs. A volunteer helped me out and I ran up the stairs and took my cap and goggles off. I ran through the swim exit and struggled to get my speed suit unzipped, but finally got it. I kind of heard my family yelling for me, and I heard Rob yell my name as I made it in to transition.

A volunteer yelled my number and as I ran down the row where my bike gear bag was, a volunteer was ready and handed it to me. I ran into the women's changing tent and got my speed suit off, put on my helmet, bike shoes, sunglasses and shoved my two clif bars into my jersey pockets. I grabbed some water on my way out and got sunscreened up by a volunteer and ran to my bike. I noticed Mike's bike was still racked as I ran to get my bike (I had no idea if that meant I had a faster swim time than him or what).

I got my bike down and ran toward the bike out. I was ready for a 112 mile ride!

Swim Leg (2.4 Miles) - Jamie: 56:15, Mike: 54:35
Transition 1 - Jamie: 5:08, Mike: 7:19


  1. Girl's got skills. (Mike too!) ;)

  2. Your swim was amazing. You almost beat Mike's swim!

  3. Ahh! I am breathless reading this recap! I cannot wait to read the rest! Congrats, lady!

  4. YES, RECAP!! That's so cool you ran--er, swam--into Mike during the swim. That must've given you a huge boost. Baller time, too--you rocked it!

  5. Awesome Recap!!! And yes there is a lot more detail here than compared to your other teases of recaps you have put places! Awesome Swim!!!

  6. Fabulous job!! Can't believe we stood there looking for you and you were on your bike already!!!

  7. Wooohooo!!! You are amazing. I'm sure there was lots of pee in the water that day. HA!