Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ironman Florida Swim

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. :-)


Ellie said...

OMG, the suit alone is worth the whole experience (maybe not the registration fee though.) We gotta each get one!!!

Swimming for a given length of time is a lot less scary than counting laps...


Keryn said...

You can do it! You are the almighty Nancy! You run big! You ROCK!

I can't wait to hear how it all goes. I realized this morning, much to my chagrin, that I am not prepared to swim one lap, let alone the 1k I need for my triatlon next summer. I can't imagine 2.4 miles, let alone at a smokin pace of 1.47! That's incredible. You're incredible. YAY Nancy!!!!

Comm's said...

Nancy, you and I have a lot of soul searching and training ahead of us. We are in complete unison in this swim thing.

mipper said...

Nancy, you can do this. i grew up in that area and trust me, the waves don't get big unless there is a hurricane coming. it's a gentle swell and you feel like you are getting rocked to sleep. i am scared to death of water in all forms, but that part of the Gulf of Mexico... never. plus, you can stand up at just about anytime. They probably have your turn around either just before or right at the second sand bar (there are two in that area and just before each one it gets too deep for me to touch my toes, but in a wet suit with the salt water, you will be fine). the water is so clear and gorgeous. you can almost always see the bottom and it's pearly white sand. the jelly fish are in mass March-May and then it's just here and there the rest of the year. Don't worry about them. Plus with such a mass swim start, there will be no sharks. Though you may be lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins just past the turn around point, especially if jet skis are nearby... they like to race you. Nancy, if i ever do an Ironman, it would be this one. not just because i grew up there but because i cannot imagine a more gorgeous course (outside of Kona). you have it in you. i believe in you!

nancytoby said...

Awww, thanks for the votes of confidence, everyone! This is sort of my method of "sports visualization" - finding out as much as I can well in advance. I think I can, but it will take me the full year to be ready!

Mica said...

You'll be laughing at this post a year from now - right after you've smoked the course!

Wylee said...

You can do it Nancy! It's ok to be afraid, just don't let it stop you. Training for an Ironman, wow, you're my hero!

You're right, the suit is totally gorgeous. I want one. :)