This was to be a race with many problems I've never had to deal with before, started from the get go.
Swim start was a time trial start, one person in the water every 3 seconds. Still by waves, and I was in wave 8 of 9. Entire start went off really smooth, big fan of the format.
The first leg of the swim didn't head straight into the sun, but pretty damn close. If I remember correctly the sun was just off to the left. I breath on the left. Couldn't see at all, just followed the swimmers I could see and hoped I was heading in the right direction.
This really messed with my mindset, instead of focusing on the swim I was totally taken over by not being able to see. To top it off I started to feel nauseous as well. Not sure if it was actually physical, or just something in my head. Amazingly I made it to the first swim buoy without much issue.
After I turned the corner, with the sun behind me, it became pretty clear that my goggles had fogged up. I've never had this problem while open water swimming. Pools yes, lakes no.
I was very hesitant to stop and fix it but pretty quickly did. Much better, but now I found myself a good 30-40 yards out from the buoy line. Kept swimming towards the next buoy, but never really closed the gap to the group of swimmers. Mindset was still out of whack from everything up to this point, and I still felt like I might puke.
Pretty soon a huge yellow buoy was in the distance and I thought it was the turn back towards shore, still being way off line, I made a much stronger effort to get to it and turn home. Only when I got there did I realize everyone else was still going straight. We were maybe midway through the second leg. This was another huge blow to the mindset. Relaxing and focusing on swimming just wasn't possible.
The rest of the second leg was uneventful, and I finally made the turn back to the beach. I ran into the most contact on the last leg, nothing terrible. Then something amazing happened, I remembered how to swim. For the first time I was able to just relax and focus and swim and everything felt good.
Swam in until my hand hit the bottom. I never do this, usually try to stand up and soon as I think the water is shallow enough. So I stood up, and promptly fell over. Took a little bit to get my legs under me. Stripped the wetsuit to my waist and began the long run up to transition. I felt good and was ready to get on with it.
Swim time was 49:05, much slower than planned, but I was just happy to be out of the water. G said she heard a lot of people complaining about the swim being long, could have been, I don't know. She also said people were complaining about boat exhaust, I didn't notice any of that either.
My only complaint about the swim was the lack of kayaks in the water. From the shore before the start I think I only saw one. While swimming I noticed none, and only one boat. You would think with 500+ swimmers stretched out over a mile (and the real possibility of a non wetsuit swim), a dozen or so support kayaks might not be too much to ask. Maybe I just didn't see them, I'm not always that observant.