Survivng Racine Essay

Submitted By bchtts26
Words: 1629
Pages: 7

Surviving Racine As I stood there at the edge of the water line, gazing out over the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, doubt began to creep into my mind. I could feel my feet begin to sink into the sand as the icy cold water rhythmically lapped at my ankles. I watched as the huge swells of waves came rolling in and crashing towards the shore. Could I really do this? What was I thinking? An Ironman race? What seemed like a good idea 8 months ago now seemed like a suicide mission. I was fairly certain that before this day was done, I would learn an awful lot about my physical and mental limits, for better or for worse. I turned away from the water and gazed back at the throng of people around me, a sea of 2,300 athletes in black neoprene wetsuits and different colored swim caps. So I walked up the beach to the “holding pen,” and joined my fellow age group competitors. As my eyes drifted back out to the relentless waves crashing in open water, I listened to the nervous chatter of those around me, confirming what I already knew to be true. There would be no record swim times today. Today it would be survival. As I stood there wrestling with my confidence, I heard the announcer call my group to the start line, 30 seconds. I pulled my goggles down and adjusted them over my eyes. I looked over to my family, blew them a kiss, and wondered: did I have what it takes to complete a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run? I would soon find out. Bang! The gun went off, and I found myself sprinting out into the waves and then diving head first into the frigid 64-degree water. It was chaos. A hundred and fifty men in my age group exploded into the water and fought for position. I felt the slap of an arm on my back, then a kick to the face as I worked my way to the outside of the group to escape the melee in the middle. My lungs heaved and burned as they fought for air while I forced them on through the relentless waves and chaos of bodies all around me. I struggled to keep my composure. Stroke, breathe, stroke, breathe. Wham! The impact of a body dumped onto mine took my breath away. It felt like we were pieces of laundry in a washing machine, getting tossed around, back and forth. This is how the swim progressed, all 1.2 miles of it. Finally, I stretched out my hand and felt sand in my fingers, as I had reached the end of the swim portion. I dragged myself out of the water to the sounds of music pumping and crowds of family members cheering us on. I pulled off my cap and goggles and ran up the beach towards the transition area. I breathed a sigh of relief. I survived. When I entered the transition area, I immediately began scanning the countless rows of different colored bikes, looking for my familiar blue and white race bike. A brief moment of panic ensued as I had forgotten which row my bike and run gear were located in. After a minute of frantic searching, I located the bike, and began removing my wetsuit and putting on my bike helmet and shoes. Within a couple of minutes, I had completed the transition from swim to bike. I tried to slow my breathing, in an attempt to lower my still sky-high heart rate, as I jogged my bike out of the transition area. After crossing the official “mount line,” I quickly jumped on the bike, clipped my feet into the pedals, and began furiously pedaling out of town to start phase 2 of the race: a 56-mile bike course through the rolling hills of Wisconsin countryside. I estimated the bike portion of the race would take me 2 ½ hours; a little ambitious maybe, but doable. The first half of the bike segment went well. I had settled into a good pace and had a nice tail wind pushing me along from behind. I was enjoying the picturesque setting of old farmhouses set amongst a backdrop of golden wheat fields shooting up, and different varieties of red brick barns surrounded by green fields of corn and soybeans. At that point, I was feeling pretty good. As I rolled into the halfway point of