On Sunday, August 24, 2014 I became an Ironman!
It started early that morning, with a wakeup call at 4 AM to eat breakfast and begin hydrating for the day. After getting dressed, Mike & I headed out to transition so I could add my bottles & nutrition to the bike, and then head over for the swim start. I brought my race plan with me so I could not worry and just check things off the list.
Ironman Louisville is a time-trial start, where athletes jump into the water like lemmings (2-3 seconds after the first one) off of two piers. It takes about 45 minutes for all athletes to get through, so you line up first-come, first-serve for your spot in the start line. We got there about 5:20 and after securing my spot, I headed to the port-a-potties to “let my nerves out.” My teammate Katrina met up with us and joined me in line; I’m glad we got to start together!
Once the pro’s started, the line started moving and we got ready to race! Swimskins (speed suit) on, cap & goggles. Last stuff into the morning gear bag that we gave to the volunteers. Once you’re on the piers, you’re jogging to the start, hold your goggles & jump in!
At Louisville, you’re swimming in the Ohio River, first upstream and then after about 3/4 mile, you turn around and are carried downstream to the swim finish. I had set my garmin up to vibrate every 1/4 mile, so I had an idea of how far I had been going. When we hit the turnaround, I took a peak and saw 37 minutes.
In a normal triathlon, that’s not an awesome time for me for 3/4 of a mile. But this was upstream, and we’d be turning around to go downstream! Overall I found the swim not too crazy or combative. I spent more of the 2nd half (after the turnaround) focused on staying on course toward the swim finish and not getting swept out to the middle of the channel. I did a good job siting/aiming as I stayed very close to the buoys the entire time!
As I approached the swim finish at Joe’s Crab Shack, I did find other swimmers got a bit more aggressive but we were all aiming for a small & narrow spot. You get to the finish and the volunteers essentially pull you out of the water, and you’re onto Transition!
In Transition #1, I initially walked and then got caught up by a few people running and started to jog toward the Great Lawn. When I got to the stairs, I walked down them and then picked up my T1 Bike Gear bag and headed into the tent.
Inside the transition tents, the volunteers are incredibly helpful. They will help you change fully if you need to. I had my tri-kit on, so I only needed to get out of my swim skin, get sunblocked, and then bike shoes & helmet. After that, you head out to get your bike (IMLOU tip: you need to get your own bike, so walk the tent to bike to remember where it is!) and head out!
Swim 2.4 miles: 1:13:18