Cozumel Ironman - The Swim
We waited, impatiently, in the starting chorals, chatted with others, waved at photographers and the drones overhead, while huge concert speakers blasted the tunes.
The sun rose in a perfect blue sky, wind was moderate...here...on the leeward side of the island....more on that later.
Although I'm a faster swimmer I waited with Arwynn so we could start together. Good thing because it took forevvvvverrrr. Not that we're impatient! Finally we get down the dock and are next. She jumps in, hits the sandy bottom (ok, so it's shallow...) nods to the safety guys on sides and she's off. I'm sorely tempted to do a running dive but figure the safety guys wouldn't appreciate it (and I didn't want a DQ).
Straight out 200m, hook a left and there's a 3400m of orange inflatable buoys in a row. The water is a warm 25c, crystal clear, viability about 50m, easy to see other swimmers, fish and choral down below. Gorgeous! It made the swim really enjoyable.
This is part of the reason we came. So much better than Muskoka where the water is cold, so inky black, you barely see your hands. One year I swam into a dock - couldn't see a damn thing. It's an hour of sensory deprivation. Yuck!
Cozumel's waters are fantastic. I could see the divers below taking our pictures.
However there was a fair bit of seaweed and jellyfish (sea nettles?) that had gotten chopped by previous waves of swimmers. These sting a bit. Didn't bother me much, but Arwynn had some pretty angry, red welts.
Since I started with slower swimmers I was immediately passing people. Normally it takes me 5m to slow my turnover and settle into a rhythm, but this just clicked right away. Long, strong pulls, slow turnover. Credit goes to Arwynn's discovery of lavender pills. They settled the pre-race jitters, without any drowsiness. Worked perfectly.
My breathing was slow, but pace fast, I felt great. For the occasional traffic jam, I just cranked up my turnover and sprinted a few hundred meters, then slowed again.
Before I knew it the final left turn to the exit came. Right into the sun rise. Ok, I put my head down watched the Sun's rays in the water for orientation, did a sprinted past the last group. Arwynn's advice was ringing in my ears: "get past the groups, get some good pictures!"
Up the stairs, run down the carpeted dock, past the Dolphins pool and the wildly cheering spectators. Hey got a 1:02 time! Nice! Better than practice. Grab Gatorade, swish the seawater taste out, quick rinse in the shower tent to get the seawater off. A volunteer reads my bib number off the body marking on arm and tosses my bag of bike gear as I run by.
Sprint into the changing tent, full of struggling triathletes in various stages of dress (or undress). Again volunteers were plentiful and awesomely helpful...because...have you ever tried pulling on tight Lycra gear while you are wet? The damn stuff doesn't slide on, at all. My 14 year old helper was pulling up my arm covers, while I struggled with my top, he slapped on my helmet, glasses and doused me in sunscreen. I gave him a big high five and muchos gracias and ran out. In my bikes shoes. Yes on purpose.
I tend to disagree with the standard practice of picking the lightest (road riding) shoes, that you can't walk in, much less run. Then being forced to run across parking lots etc, in bare feet. I use MTB shoes, a bit heavier, but hell, I can run in them!