We went to bed at 9:30pm for our 4:30 wake-up call, literally. The call was really annoying, I think it was Disney characters singing, "It's a small world after all..." I promptly hung up, and then both of our phone alarms rang.
I did not sleep well at this hotel. For one, the pillows were horrible, and then at 11:30-midnight, the family next door came home and their child, who must have been 6-9 from the voice was talking so loud, as was the father, and he was playing with some toys that clanked and clonked into a plastic bucket. The walls must be paper thin. I was pissed...who keeps their kid up that late?! Let me tell you, I was not quiet at 430 in the morning. Funniest part is Mirza heard nothing!! I would not recommend this hotel, but it was only $70/night with my triathlon discount, so it got the job done. Definitely catered towards children...
We arrived early to the event to spare time driving there, and taking the shuttle, body marking, etc.
Swimming in the Gulf/ocean is scary enough, but a LAKE? This is FLORIDA. Florida lakes=GATORS. This was Disney property, but I am going to take a wild guess that the gators looked nothing like this:
Finally, the sun rose, and it was time for swim. I was the 5th wave. I couldn't see much of the athletes before me because of the crowd, and I am short. All I knew was that it looked like an awfully long way to swim, and definitely further from shore than my last triathlon.
I am in the middle smiling at the camera...
And there I am in the middle giving a thumbs-up.
I look calm, cool, and collected, but in reality, I was freaking out about the lake like a sissy girl, "omg, it is so slimy, and muddy, and so much sea weed, wtf AM I DOING?!!"
We had a send off by Sally Edwards, who has competed in over 150 races. This was an all-women's event, and I must say, it was wonderful to not have any stinky boys around. The entire theme of the pep-talk was geared towards being supportive towards each other. She chanted, "What are you going to do if someone looks like they need help?!" HELP THEM! The motivational speech was wonderful.
And then they counted down from 10, and we were off. #$^#$^#$^%# so much seaweed. I just kept reminding myself over and over, "It's only a plant, it's only a plant. A plant cannot hurt you!!!" The first couple of meters, I thought I was going to lose it. I inhaled some water, started to choke, and I felt claustrophobic, like I couldn't breathe. I saw my whole triathlon flash before my eyes. I didn't get kicked or punched too bad, maybe pulled a little bit, but the other triathletes were so nice and apologetic. After a minute or so, I just focused on swimming.
The swim was 1/2 mile, which is double the length of my first triathlon.
It was long, but I tried my best to stay with the pack. I did not want to be out in the open water too long with who-knows-what...
Every once in awhile, I would feel a swoosh of water by my legs, and I just kept saying to myself, "please let that be another swimmer!!!!"
However, there were tons of lifeguards surrounding us in the water, yelling out, "You're doing great, you're halfway there!!" And they would let swimmers know when they were going off course. They encouraged you to hold onto the kayak or boat if you felt the need. I loved all of the volunteers at this event.
Finally, it was over, and I ran the hell out of the water. SO DISGUSTING!! *shudder*
The swim took me a really long time (31:21 minutes!! I debated posting my breakdown times on here because it feels private, and they aren't the "best" times, but I don't care at this point. They may not be the fastest times, but for me, they are an improvement, and I am proud).
I was so disoriented that I didn't remove my goggles. Mirza and I find this picture incredibly funny...
This triathlon was so much better than the last one because it was put on by a huge company (Trek and at Disney), so there were tons of spectators and volunteers cheering you on. Everyone was incredibly positive and encouraging. I love when people yell out words of encouragement...it does motivate me!
I made it to my bike and my feet were covered in dirt since I ran through mulch. I decided to not even bother with socks for my clip-in shoes. I had never done this before, so it was kind of a risk, but I see triathletes do it all of the time, so I decided what-the-hell to spare my transition time (