I was thinking about the Ironman Florida swim course today - mainly because that's the part that scares me the most about the prospect of starting an Ironman event. The official description reads as follows:
"The swim portion of Ironman Florida begins on the beach behind the Boardwalk Beach Resort, in the Gulf of Mexico. The course is a 2.4-mile two-loop swim. The first loop is rectangular in nature, with athletes actually exiting the water, and doing a turnaround on the beach. Upon re-entrance, athletes take a diagonal (see swim map) angle before reconnecting with the original portion of the swim course, continuing along the second loop until exiting the water at the completion of the swim. After exiting the water, athletes will run up the beach, running up the entrance steps to the Boardwalk, before continuing on to the transistion area."
That sounds okay. A dry land start sounds perfect for me. All except the part about 2.4 miles in a seething cauldron of humanity, in water that is "between 68-72 degrees at that time of year", stalked by sharks and jellyfish and other vile predators, hit by colossal waves, choking on saltwater ... but maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
The 2.4 miles is the big part for me. That's 3862 meters. 78 laps in our 25-meter-long swimming pool. In 2 hours 20 minutes or less. Or 1:47 per lap or less. 78 times. (Gack, my normal freestyle laps average only 1:31 to 1:41 right now.)
I looked up some more photos to get a feel for it. The start looks rather scenic, on a nice white sand Florida beach. And I understand that it's fairly shallow most of the way.
I looked up some of the participant photos. Most of the people seem to be stripping their wetsuits pretty quickly upon emerging from the water, lots of them in sleeveless. They don't look cold. A few of them look delighted to be emerging from the water alive!
This athlete, #2361, caught my eye for some reason, maybe because that's a lot like what I look like in my wetsuit photos. I looked up her results. Her name is Vicki Merry, an athlete from Florida. She was in the 45-49 age group, just like me, and finished in 16:22! Yay Vicki!! Maybe that's a good omen for me, eh?
Plus if I finished, I would get to buy and wear this cool new swimsuit. :-)