Race Coverage

Cami's Ironman Debut...Part I...


By Cami Eckhoff

Ironman Des Moines race day~ Part 1:

I was nervous but felt at peace about the day. There were months of careful preparation and I have my incredible coach Shyanne McGregor to thank for helping me be as ready as I could be!! Shyanne is encouraging, knowledgeable, understanding, supportive, level-headed and the best sounding board through all of the ups and downs. She understood me~ my drive, my stubbornness, my desire to learn and grow. She helped me get to the starting line amidst some injuries and I’m grateful beyond words for her.

The Swim

I was ready to get in the water and start the day! After giving my bike one more check and final pump of air, I walked with my friend Meghan to the starting line with loud music playing and energy in the air. Keith handed me the first of four surprise notes to come, from Bennett that definitely added to the emotions! ...

The swim was a rolling start so I could position myself in my approximate finish time. I lined up in the 1 hour to 1:10 section. I decided not to start my watch for the swim because I didn’t think it would last the entire day and you can’t see your watch while you’re swimming to check pace anyway. All the watch would’ve showed me was whether I went faster, slower or right on pace- irrelevant data after it’s all done so I figured it was best to just leave it off.camfam.jpg

Some small talk with the people around me helped calm the nerves and I received one last piece of advice from a veteran who said, “if you think you’re going too hard during the day, you are”.

We nudged our way to the start a couple steps at a time. I even got a high five and big smile from the voice of Ironman, Mike Riley, before getting in the water! Then the buzzer went off for me and in I went!!! The water was calm and comfortable. I took it one buoy at a time, sighting clearly just what was ahead of me. The first lap I remember thinking how much fun it was to swim! I got out on the peninsula before starting lap two, which made this course interesting. There was definitely more traffic on the second lap but kept a smooth pace staying mostly on the inside. Keith, Mel and Josh were waiting on the peninsula for me and I remember saying, “I'm almost done!!” (Thinking in my head, with the swim anyway).

I got out of the water, Keith handed me a second note, from Graham.

The volunteers hollered out, “let’s get that wetsuit off, get on your bottom”, so down I sat and they peeled the wetsuit off of me in less than five seconds! It was amazing and make me laugh a bit! I high-fived each of them and made the .4 mile jog to transition. Volunteers handed me my transition bag and into the tent I went to change for the bike. The volunteers were all amazing! Thankful for each one of them!

Swim complete in just under an hour, 59.24 ,which was exactly what I had trained my endurance pace at. Thanks coach!