See Jenny Swim

When you are proud of someone you love, you want to shout their successes out to the world! This is exactly how we feel about our very own Jenny Lorenz. Not only is she the amazing Executive Vice President of Linn Area Credit Union, but she is an extremely accomplished triathlete. When you look up the word “dynamic” in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure Jenny’s picture is riiiiiight there. She does more by 7:00 am than many of us do all day! (Or maybe it’s just me…?!)

Jenny qualified for and then participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2012. When she returned, she wrote (beautifully) all about her experience. And, seriously, if you’ve ever wondered what someone who participates in an event like this is thinking, you’re going to LOVE her following her story over the next three weeks (see Jenny, Swim, See Jenny Bike, See Jenny Run).

Get ready to feel inspired! Enjoy the first installment of this three part series, See Jenny Swim:

In my opinion, the Ironman World Championship race in Kona is an awe inspiring event. The magic of the island, the history behind the event, the fittest and fastest athletes in the sport, from all around the world racing beside you…(Well WAY ahead of me, but in the same race, nonetheless)… It is truly a special experience and is difficult for me to articulate just how amazing it is.   The fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to compete in this event twice makes me feel so unbelievably blessed.

Coming into the race this year I felt healthy and strong.  Throughout this race season I’d been able to get a few minor, yet nagging, injuries under control.  For the first time in about 3 years I could run virtually pain free; a very nice change.  This time I decided to head to Kona 8 days early in order to give myself time to decompress from the chaos at home/work, acclimate to the heat and get used to the time change.  In the days leading up to the race I did my best to relax and not get too caught up in the pre-race mania.  I had confidence in my fitness level and confidence in my race strategy. I had outlined my race plan for both the day before the race and race day to the hour. No details were left unchecked. So on race morning I was relaxed and excited to get out on the course.

My day started at 3:30 a.m. when my alarm went off.  I got up and got ready while starting to eat my breakfast.  It takes me a while to get food down that early so I always need to allow some extra time.  So while I got my race gear on and gathered my things, I ate a very unspectacular breakfast of peanut butter toast, Gatorade, plain scrambled eggs, and apple bananas. (Yum!!  My favorite fruit from the island.)  Once I finished eating I gathered my special needs bags and my swim gear and headed down to Alii Drive to catch the shuttle to the pier at 4:30.

You can see the pier from practically anywhere on the western coast of the island on race morning. It’s all lit up and is buzzing with activity. The energy and excitement created by the 1,800+ athletes and countless volunteers is palpable. My first stop was to body marking where I had the nicest two ladies take care of me there.  The pride they took in making sure my number looked absolutely perfect was so great.  Their infectious enthusiasm was such a perfect start to my day; they made me feel like I was the most important person in their world at the time.  After I got body marked I headed to transition to put my fluids in the bottles on my bike, check my gearing and computer setup, put my fuel belt bottles in my T-2 bag (I wear a fuel belt so I can take my super high sodium electrolyte mix along to prevent cramping.) and pump my tires. Now it was just sit and wait for the directive to get in the water. I passed the time chatting with others while waiting, trying not to annoy anyone who seemed nervous or unwilling to visit.

The pro men’s race cannon went off at 6:30 and the pro women at 6:35. I chose to get in the water just as the pro women started as I was just anxious to be out there. So I waded in and made my way to the start line, somewhere in the middle, where the people on surf boards were positioned.  As I bobbed around in the water I looked back at the sea wall to see if I could spot my support crew all clad in their Hawkeye yellow “Jenny Lorenz Fan Club” t-shirts and watched the sea of athletes all entering the water.  It is quite a sight to behold being out in the water and looking back at the crowds.

Due to some cannon malfunction we had no big boom send off this time. Just the announcer screaming “Go! Go! Go!” at us. So with that our race began and we were off – 1,800 or so of us all trying to swim in what seems like the width of Washington High School’s pool where we swim our Master’ s practices. I was happy that I didn’t have anyone intentionally push my head under or grab my ankles this year; people seemed much more courteous than last time I raced here.  But I didn’t exactly come out of the swim unscathed either. I ended up with a bruise on my right thigh, a bruise on the left side of my chest and was bleeding in two spots on my leg when I got out of the water. That being the case, I felt like I had a nice steady swim. I held my own when things got really bottled up, I tried to stay strong and focus on good form, and I never felt panicky or remotely close to blowing up. I even noticed the fish and divers we were swimming over.  (I LOVE swimming in the ocean where you can see!)  Perhaps I wasn’t going fast enough if I had time to notice all that? The second half of the swim seemed to take less time than the first and I had less traffic, which was welcomed. I exited the water at 1:18 and change. I had hoped to be in the 1:15 neighborhood but was satisfied with my result which was over 7 minutes faster than my time from this race in 2009.

I ran up the steps to the makeshift showers and took good care to get as much of the salt water off me as possible. I didn’t need that burning me all day for sure. As I ran through transition I marveled at how efficient the volunteers are at getting our gear to us. I didn’t have to miss a step as a volunteer had my bag ready for me before I got to them.  The changing tent, however, was an absolute zoo. In my last IM in Madison I was immediately met by a volunteer that tended to me.  Here there were so many more people in there all at the same time there was barely anywhere to dump my gear. I scurried around and finally found an open spot and eventually a volunteer was freed up and came to assist me. I made the decision to wear arm coolers after getting completely scorched the last time (My coach, Marilyn McDonald’s advice to wear them was extremely wise and greatly appreciated.) so I put those on while my volunteer put another layer of sunscreen on my back for me. I grabbed my bike shoes, sunglasses and the Luna Bar I had in my transition bag and headed out to my bike.

What will the open road hold for Jenny as she heads out on her bike – and loses her most important piece of race gear! Join us next Monday for the next part of her story, See Jenny Bike.