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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Plourd

Ironman Arizona 140.6 - The Swim

Part 1: The Anticipation <--- Click this link to read all about the anxiety I felt leading up to the start of the race. Now onto:

Part 2: The Swim

Distance: 2.4 miles

Goal: 1hour 18 minutes

If you know me, you know I don’t like swimming. And this was worse. The cold water was so murky that I couldn’t see my own hands. I was surrounded by people, but felt so alone. We knocked into each other but there was no verbal interaction. It was quiet and boring. The only thing to do was pray and have choppy conversations with myself. Just me in my head. And it went a lot like this:

It started, it started, it started, just swim! Oh Lord please make this fast. It’s cold. I don’t like this. What if I just stop. Don’t stop, you can’t stop. Get through the swim and the day gets easier. Go, go, go. Man, this water is muddy. I can’t even see my watch. I don’t want to be here. Lord, help me get through this. I can’t breathe this water is so cold.

The swim start seemed crowded but in truth, the entire 2.4 miles was this congested.

Just swim past the bridge, turn, swim back past two bridges, then straight to the exit. I think. I really should have studied the course.

Superfrog was fun. Double Superfrog, and have double fun. Yeah right. This water is gross. I wish I could see my watch, then I’d know if I was getting close. Don’t waste time looking, just get to that bridge. Why can’t I hold my breath longer than two strokes?

You’re not quitting, you’re going to be an Ironman today. Lord please help me be an Ironman today; I don’t want to do this again. I think it’s been 15 minutes, I wish I could see my watch. 15 minutes is almost a quarter done. It would motivate me if I saw I was almost a quarter done! I’ll look at my watch. It has to have been 15 minutes.


Pretty discouraging to look up and not see an end in sight. The turn was literally so far away that I couldn't see it. I guess you could say it was a mile away (duh).

Wow. I just started and my watch is broken. That’s going to ruin the run. How did it break? The clock is ticking but how can it be so far off? Do watches break that way? Tick slower? Technology is crazy. Just swim. Don’t worry about the run. You can ask strangers for the time and you’ll be happy because you’ll be running, so don’t worry about that now. And don’t keep checking the time, that slows you down. You can check your watch at the bridge.

OUCH! Someone just hooked my bun! Great, now my cap might slide off. That’ll slow me down too. Lord help me; I want out! Just get to the bridge.

I can’t wait, maybe I’ll check my watch. It’ll motivate me when I see it’s been almost 30 minutes. Fine. Check the watch.


This watch has to be broken. But that bridge is still so far away! Crap.

The watch isn’t broken.

I have no concept of time. Lord, help me get through this. Don’t look at the watch again until you’re swimming towards the finish line. PROMISE YOURSELF. Ok. Fine. Deal.

Made it to the bridge. I’m cold. Jesus could walk on water. Would they disqualify him for that? Wish I had that kind of faith right now.

I wonder if Greg is still in the water? He can probably see the swim exit. Gosh. I’m swimming in all of their pee. If that tall guy would have moved instead of making me stand in my own puddle of urine, I’d be 5 minutes closer to the end.

There’s the turn, everyone’s turning. Cut the corner as close as you can, no extra swimming. Get away from the breaststrokers. You don’t need a broken rib. Short swim to the next buoy, and then you’re swimming with the current!

Turned…but where’s the current? Liars! There’s no current. You’re a water engineer, you knew better than to believe there’d be a significant current in this lake.

Just two more bridges, then swim to the exit. Almost halfway. How has no one kicked me? I can’t believe my cap has stayed on. Breathing is getting easier. I’m warmed up. I can do this.

One bridge down, one to go. I’m probably half way, I’ve gotta be. Only one way out now, and that’s the swim exit. No quitters.

What’s that guy doing? Quitting!? He made it half way and he’s quitting? Can’t bike and run if you quit! That’s the fun part, gotta get to it. Check your watch.

35 minutes.

Yes, I might be making good time! Just one more bridge then the swim exit!

Those buoys on the far right are the route home. That bridge in the distance is what I THOUGHT was the last milestone before turning home.

My bladder is full. How is my bladder full? This is going to slow down my bike. Better try to get it out now. Bonus: it’ll make me warmer.

…um…why can’t I do this?

Maybe if I stop kicking and just pull…no, that’s not working either. This is ridiculous. JUST PEE! Nothing. Keep trying. This is slowing me down, forget it. I want out of the water, swim faster. Get to the bridge.

No, try again so you don’t waste time later. Nothing. Check the watch. 45 minutes. UGH! Just pee.

Lord, weird ask here, but please help me pee.

Everyone’s passing me. How does Blythe do this? She can pee anywhere. Forget your ego; embrace the id you’ve suppressed since potty training. Still nothing. Stop wasting time and swim faster.

There’s the bridge! I’m swimming under the bridge! If a bird pooped on me that would be really funny. I guess I wouldn’t even know. Where’s the exit? Why is everyone swimming straight? Did the leader miss the turn? Check the watch. 1 hour 10 minutes? I should be nearing the end. Oh no. There’s another bridge. Why didn’t I study the map??!

Second bridge. Wonder if I know any of those people up there cheering. Man, I’ve wasted so much time trying to pee. It’s just not going to happen.

Last turn, FINALLY, and now I can see the exit. GET THERE! Go, go, go! Don’t waste time looking at the watch, it’ll only depress you, you’re massively over your goal. And that’s ok. Because you’re almost out. Go Autumn. You got this honey. You’re in control. No pain no gain. Sweat is pain leaving the body, go hard or go home, blah blah blah SWIM FASTER AND GET OUT!

Who's this big guy ahead of me flopping around like he can’t swim? How is he ahead of me swimming like that? Am I that slow? We're 100 feet from the exit, just get around him quick.

Ugh, everyone’s funneling to get out and they’re pushing me into this awkward dude and..


I’m underwater! He has me in a headlock?! This jerk! Let me go! Why hasn’t he let go, is he trying to drown me? There’re so many people here, he could kill me and totally get away with it! OMG he’s getting his other stroke! SELFISH! SELFISH!

I’m free! Get some air! And get away from this bad word! I’m swimming into people, I don’t care, just get me away from that guy!

This is the exit! I can touch the bottom. I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to cheer!

“Autumn!” It’s Donnie! I forgot he volunteered at the swim exit. How’d he recognize me?

Ok, people are helping me up the stairs, do they think I can’t walk?

Whoa. I can't walk.

Wow, this sudden change from horizontal to vertical is making me want to vomit. There’s loud music and everyone’s yelling but I can’t hear them. Is this shock? Am I going to faint? I might. No. I can’t. I still have to bike and run so that I never have to do this again. Lord, give me strength.

Then Mike Reilly said “Autumn Plourd is out of the water!” and I get out of my head. The swim was done! I smiled and beelined to the strippers.

Official Swim time: 1:27:31 (womp womp)

30th F30-34

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