Two years ago, I couldn’t freestyle. I couldn’t do much of anything without being exhausted. Just 14 months ago, I weighed nearly 100 pounds more than today. But, I set a goal. I wanted to dip my toe into the Ironman environment, and see what it’s like. I decided, that although a 250 yard swim was kinda exhausting, I’d sign up and relay a half Ironman.
I knew, I’d need a lot of practice. I lot of determination, and I’d need to lose a lot of weight to make the journey easier. I was ready to take on the challenge.
Fast forward to race week.
Race week I stressed myself to the max. I was terrified, I’d let my team down, and exceed the 1:10 hr time limit. After master’s on Thursday, the stress eased up a bit. I had a great swim. The coach was complimentary, and I felt fast. It was just what the dr ordered.
Sunday September 24 was epic. My tri sisters kicked off the day with prayer. As each swim wave advanced, we’d see more members off. With several relay swimmers keeping each other company, the time went by a bit faster, as we waited on the last wave (the relays).
I’ve got to say, it felt amazing walking under the Ironman swim start arch. To think where I was a year ago, and where I was right now was an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment.
Once on the dock for swim start, I had a feeling this was going to be amazing. The horn blew, and I took off. Immediately, my right goggle filled with water. I stopped, cleared it, and took off. Again, it fills with water. I repeat this two more times. Each time, it immediately fills with water. Determined not to let this ruin my race, I close the eye, and deal with it.
Twice, I check my Garmin. My splits are great. I know I’m going to come in well under the time limit. Around half-way in the swim, I stop once more, empty my goggle, and this time…besides some dampness…it stays empty. As soon as I see the red turn buoy, my 1-2-3 count in my head changes to I-Did-It, I-Did-It, I-Did-It. I quicken my strokes, change my bi-lateral breathing to breathing on my right, and haul the mail.
When the water shallows out enough, I stand, and rush toward swim finish. I complete the swim in 41:52. My new time to beat. I see my TRIbe, shout “I-Did-It” and run past others exiting to the relay pin.
My biker doesn’t immediately go after my chip strap, so I try to remove. My hands were too shaky and I told him he’d have to.
Then, I burst into tears, finally, the release of a year’s worth of hard work. Overcome with pride and accomplishment.