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Ironman Maastricht Part I

The swim and all leading toward it

Did I mention - the "anyway" race? Well, another "I'll do it anyway" emerged at the race briefing when we got told, that with the pro start at 7:00h and 7:05, and the age grouper rolling start they expected to have us all in the water by 7:45, so that everyone would have 16:15h to complete the race. 

Now, I'm a slow triathlete. I suffer longer but slower, so whilst I do not have all the fast twitch muscles my fast co-racers have, I can go on longer than many others. Or so I hope. One can train that, but one cannot create fast twitch, just address them better. 

And - yes, there are people being long time enduring AND fast, and that's not me. 

That said, I'm a slower triathlete and usually pick my races by cut-off time and by time slot. As a teacher I cannot just go off and race instead of having my students write tests...

So, reading the Maastricht rules those said, age group rolling start at 7:15 and then cut off by midnight. Meaning, for I am a safe swimmer I don't care if someone swims over me. I could just seed further to the front and manage all in time. Voila, coming in by midnight isn't as tough anymore. I expected something like Louisville, where I was way back in the end of the line and I got to the water by 7:30.  All good. Manageable. Plannable. Race FAQ give you 16:30hours as well, so there...

No, 16:15 they said, but I then thought  there had only been one race (exactly Louisville) when I was over that time. 

Start - anyway. To late to step back, anyway, not that I'd do that. 

Classical Noodles and ground beef and tomato sauce in the evening, getting up at 3:30h in the morning (my family volunteered for early shift in T1) PB-Jelly sandwiches, prepped the day before - 1.5 for now, one for on the bike. Off we went. Two miles to the site. DSC_0762.JPG

Me, while they signed in, bleary eyed lay down on the grass next to Transition. Waiting until I wanted to get up. 

Get up I got anyway, went to the bike, checked the tires, fixed the bottles, the sandwich, etc, and went out again. 

Some things I can do quickly. 

Then slowly checking out the swim start, where a long line of athletes built, seeding themselves according to their estimated time. 

Next to me one guy looking nervous. But then he started the mental thing about how many of those races he'd done and finished etc. Also that he had checked the weather forecast (so had I) and expected rain while on the bike (I did not. Different weather service it seems) and wind and cold on the bike. And if I had packed a wind jacked. I had not - at least not for the ride, for they had forecasted 23C and good weather and I had sun screen all over. 

Anyway, I couldn't change anything.  I did not have anything extra in the  T1-bag,  but my cool wings sleeves, and I defined that If I couldn't change it I couldn't worry about it. 

This is kind of a rule of mine - can't change, can't worry. Of course the mind sometimes wins with the worrywart part, but actually I think it's a fairly good rule. 

So, anyway, I started, stepping the last two steps on land and set my watch (just regular timer for timing the whole race) 

The swim in the river Maas upstream. Not bad, no underwater vision, some undefined plants, but not frustrating because of the current and especially easy to navigate. 

Turn around with exit on Government Island, which really was cool, including quite a bit of crowd support. 

With the current, it almost seemed no time until I was at the second turnaround and only the current under the bridge, directly before exiting seemed quite strong. But I had tried that without a wet suit and knew it was manageable.

And some friendly life guards helped me out of the water and one of the three fun parts was over. Off to transition where I had a bit of trouble to put the Cool Wings on but eventually managed and ran off to my bike. 

To be continued.