After two months of training, 800m in the pool didn't exactly seem "easy" but it certainly seemed "do-able." But it turns out that 800m in a big green lake looks "really really far."
The day before the race B. and I went down to the lake to check out the course. The buoy's seemed to be very far apart...suspicious. But perhaps you didn't have to go around ALL of them- maaaaybe we only had to go around some of them...
No such luck since on race day morning the buoy's seemed to have stretched even farther apart! Cue Erin totally freaking out and visualizing being the only person to get DQ'd in an 800m race while wearing a fully buoyant wetsuit. It was also super comforting that the ladies next to us in line at the start were discussing previous maladies that have befallen them in lake swims. "Yea, my wetsuit totally rubbed the side of my neck last time in Lake X, and the day after the race I had a horrible infection in the open wound from the dirty lake water! Had to go to the Doctor and get antibiotics- it was gross..." Very comforting indeed.
B., the consummate competitor, had her game face on and didn't let the war-stories freak her out...meanwhile I am now struggling to breath OUT of the water and fairly sure that unless I can doggie paddle the whole thing, this is going to be an unmitigated disaster.
And then, just like that- we were sprinting in to the water, and that is the last I saw of B. for quite some time! Let's just say the first 200-300m didn't treat me all that well (so much kicking and splashing, such green smelly water!)- but somewhere I around the first turn I realized that I was going to need to get my shit together and swim or I was going to be in this lake for the rest of my life. Eventually I put the pieces together, put my head down and made it back to shore.
That's me in the back, wasting no time getting out of that wetsuit.
Still working on that zipper!
My race "strategy" going in to this, my first triathlon, was "survive the swim, them race like hell." I knew my swim time was slooooowwwww, but I also knew there was no point in worrying about it at this point, so I trudged uphill (yes, uphill!) to T1, and onwards to the bike.
Managed to successfully enter and exit my wetsuit- was particularly impressed with my ability to strip the wetsuit while running barefoot uphill. Fist pump!
I didn't drown or have to ask for any help
I was very much not the last one out of the water
Apparently my directional abilities are fairly limited since there were multiple occasions when I looked up only to realize that I was not actually headed towards the next buoy.
Near the end I managed to get totally sandwiched between two swimmers, who both looked at me like it was my fault.
In my panic to get in the water at the start, there may or may not have been a bit of a belly flop which looked a lot more like a graceful dive in my head. Ouch.