2.4 miles (3.86 Km) - 1:20:46 hours, 2:08min/100m
Place: 259/355 in my age group, 1671/2611 overall
At 6:20 I put on my wetsuit and I headed to the Mirror Lake to get ready for the race. On my way there I met with Miha and the kids. They were in a good mood and cheered me up.
Being a lousy swimmer, my strategy was to wait at the back of the pack so that I won't be passed by faster swimmers and get kicked as much as if I'd have started in the middle of the pack. So I waited exactly 1:39 minutes until most of the swimmers have crossed the starting line and then I started swimming slowly. Most of the swimmers at the back were slower than me and quite a few were swimming breast stroke, which made it difficult for me to pass them. Each time I saw a gap opening in front of me I sprinted and passed as many swimmers as I could. For the first 10 minutes I kept sprinting and passing probably close to 900 swimmers. At the first turnaround buoy I got kicked in the face for the first time. It was not too bad, but my goggles fell off and I had to stop to put them back on. For the rest of the swim I managed to find a pair of feet to draft off and keep a steady pace. I also managed to swim most of the time next to the underwater cable so sighting was not an issue this time. As I got out of the water after the first loop I could not believe that my watch showed 40:18 minutes. The second loop was uneventful, I just kept drafting off other swimmers. I finished the swim leg in 1:20. My goal was to finish it in 1:25 so I was really happy when I saw my time.
On my way back to town I passed again by the hotel, where my kids were waiting for me to give them high fives. Your family cheering you up never gets old and it kept motivating me to continue running strong.
The second loop of the run leg went well, too. My strategy to walk/run helped to stay in good shape and I just knew that I was going to finish in under 12 hours, which made feel really good. I kept smiling to the spectators and thanked them for cheering us up. All the time I had the feeling that I had the perfect race.
Once I got back into town I realized that if I start running for the last 2 Km I can even break 11:50. At that point I started running fast and kept monitoring my watch. Entering into the oval area was just awesome.
All those people cheering you up made me forget about the pain so I sprinted all the way to the finish line. Once I heard Mike Riley saying:"Doru Sandor, you are an Ironman" I felt so relived and just very, very happy, especially when I realized that I finished in 11:48 hours.
My goal was to finish in under 12:30 hours, hopping that if I have a very good day I might break 12:00 hours. At no point I thought that I'll be able to break 11:50 hours at my first Ironman.
Once I crossed the finish line, a volunteer came to help and guide me. She was a very nice lady, who kept asking me if I felt OK. I told her that I felt more than OK and she should not be worry about me. She joked that is her job to take care of me and she won't get paid if something happens to me.