IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Burn off the Bird Recap

Yeah, OK, so I'm a little late in writing this review. But, better late than never, I guess. And I already promised a couple fellow swimmers that I'd give them the details on how this went.

I arrived at the desolate school parking lot at 7:15am. I knew this was a bit earlier than anyone else would be there, but I wanted to be sure to get in there with enough time to set up all my Luna products for the participants and leave myself plenty of time to "psyche up" for this event. After just about 10 minutes, a couple other people showed up. Thankfully, one of them had the key!

I quickly carried all my things onto the pool deck, dragged out a table and began arranging the various Clif and Luna products I brought. I also carried in the doughnuts, bagels and bananas that the Lincoln Way SeaDragons were supplying to all participants. This took nearly no time at all, so I went in to the locker room to change.

When I returned to the deck, there were already at least a half dozen people milling around. There was a little chatter, but it seemed everyone was very aware of the daunting task that lay ahead of us. I saw a few people I knew, but saw many more people whom I'd never met. Several people scoured through the snack table, stocking up on items they'd need to keep them going for the entire 100 repetitions. Some people chose to do the 50s, some the 75s and there was just a small group of people swimming the 100s. One of the best parts of this event is that it doesn't matter what yardage you choose, we all go on the same interval and all start and finish at the same time.

As I jumped into my lane (where I was to draft off one of the LW swimmers), I tried to remember to take it easy. All too often, we feel so good and energized at the beginning of something like this only to take it out too hard which causes us to suffer toward the last quarter of the distance. THIS IS NOT A RACE, I had to keep telling myself. Just do the yards. Try not to race the girl in the next lane (yes, it's a habit). Focus. Pay attention to your form. Be smooth and steady.

But, as usual, the first 2-3 100s were too fast. I knew this because I was a little winded after them. For those of you that have done a marathon, you know what I'm talking about. If you can't have a conversation, you're going too fast. Well, you can't really have a conversation when you swim, but if I hit the wall and I'm breathing deeply this early on, it's too fast. So I slow down. I try to get in a zone. I'm no where near drafting off the guy in front of me. He's too fast. Sure, if I work at it, I can keep up, but this isn't that kind of swim.

Unfortunately, this year they were unable to get the clock with the buzzer that shows what number you're on. Within the first 4 100s, I realized I had to use the bathroom. But the 100s stop for NO ONE, so I knew I had to wait until the break at 50. Unfortunately, I lost count of what number we were on before we even hit 10. I tried to think of things to pass the time, so I thought about the great race I had the day before. All the people I saw there who I haven't seen in a while, how cold it was, how hilly it was and the awesome raffle prizes afterwards. Then I thought about the rest of the day with the family. The food, conversation, teasing, relaxing and just being happy that I didn't have to work for the next few days!

Then my head started to hurt. My goggles are on too tight. This sucks. At every 100, I took them off and repositioned them on my face. It didn't seem to be helping. I didn't have time to loosen them. I wondered what number we were on. I remembered I had to pee. I thought about how monotonous this was. I tried not to race the girl next to me (who was only doing 75s anyway). I sang some songs. I wondered what number we were on. My head still hurts. When is the break? What are these guys doing? Come on, this has to be well past 50. That's it, the next 100 I'm getting out. Again? That's it, someone needs to come over and stop these guys. If I have to do one more 100 with these goggles on my head, I'm going to scream! The next rep, I swam a bit faster so I had a chance to talk to the guy in front of me. "What number are we on, aren't we supposed to stop at 50?" I asked. He said we were on 48. You've got to be kidding. UGH! Fine, only 2 more before the break, I can make it. And I did.

Everyone hopped out of the pool for a quick bathroom break and to replenish their energy stores. Just enough time to grab a bite to eat and refill your water bottle if you needed to. You really don't want to wait too long. The muscles start to stiffen up and it's always much harder to start at #51 than when you started at the beginning. Some people left after 50. (Slackers - you know who you are!) Then there were us diehards that just couldn't wait for another 50 more.

Very quickly, everyone headed back to their respective lanes to finish the last half of the workout. This time, I took one of the charts someone had printed up. It showed you what the number on the clock would be at each repetition. Cool, now I'll know EXACTLY where we are!

Almost immediately, I noticed I was swimming slower. My muscles had tightened up and my arms felt heavy. From doing this event in years passed though, I knew I could work through that. As BC has told me before my ironman races, no matter how bad you feel, the day is so long, you will get past it and it will get better. And he was right. That always happens. The problem is, it isn't always this boring waiting for that "bad time" to pass!

At number 70, my mind started to play games with me and I thought I had 50 more to go. Then I thought, wait, we already did 50 before we stopped, so there's no way we have 50 more. Yes, it sounds ridiculous now, but sometimes when you're involved in something this long, things stop making sense. At about #75, I wondered why I had signed up to do this again. You've got to be kidding me, we're only on #75? That's it, this chart must be wrong. Goggles hurt again. Stop racing girl next to you. She kicks a lot. Gotta find something to think about. The race yesterday, nope, already thought about that. What am I going to do the rest of the day? NOT SHOP, that's for sure. The stores are madhouses the day after Thanksgiving. I'm hungry. Wonder what we're going to do for lunch. WHAT? I'm only on #78? Someone is counting wrong. This is going too slow. My fingers are pruny. Look at that huge hairball at the bottom of the pool. Disgusting. Wonder how many people pee in this pool. Wonder how crappy that water we swim in Lake Michigan is. STOP. I'm freaking myself out. These goggles are popping my eyes out of my sockets. Come on, we can't have that many more to go.

With about 10 left to go, I once again tried to focus hard on maintaining good form. At the end of every 100, I shouted out the number we had left to do. (quiet group, no one even joined me). 4-3-2-1 and...we're done. WOO HOO! Not that bad! I think I had permanent goggle marks around my eyes for the rest of the day, but I felt a sense of accomplishment. This is definitely more mentally punishing than physically. This makes an Ironman swim seem short. But it was over. Everyone smiled, gave each other some hi-fives and quickly scrambled to the locker rooms. After a swim like this, the nice, long, hot shower is something to look forward to.

Burn off the Bird is something I'll keep on the calendar every year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Look at that huge hairball at the bottom of the pool. Disgusting. Wonder how many people pee in this pool."

If you could throw some dead fish in the pool with you, it would be just about perfect.