Friday, September 20, 2013

Ready or Not...

The day after tomorrow I'll be headed over to the start line.  (If you just found my blog, I'm about to do my very first Iron Man race.  You can read my "Pre Cap" if you are unfamiliar with what this is.)

I got all checked in yesterday.  I got my uber cool Iron Man back pack, all the bags for all my gear, all the stickers I need to identify all my bags (darn it I forgot to bring duct tape*!).  I bought an IMLT name shirt like the one I got at NOLA 70.3 67.1 (it has all the names of the participants on the back in the shape of an MDot).

I battled this horrible feeling that I don't belong in this place.  Everyone looks like they belong (especially all the people running around in bike kits...).  I can't explain why I feel the way I feel, and I KNOW it's wrong.  So the battle is in my mind.  That is unbelievably liberating.  I have control of how I feel.  It's not something that is being put on me.  It's something that comes out of me.  How I feel is a product of what I believe.  I have control over that.  No one else can change what I think.  Other people can influence my thoughts, but only I have the power to accept or reject what is allowed to take space in my head.

So...I will start by saying...I have (almost) made it to the start line!  I'm not as "ready" as I would like, but Daisy** made a good point the other day.  She said no matter what I had done to prepare, what kind of shape my body was in, what bike gearing I matter what...I would say I'm not as prepared as I would like to be.

Since I started "officially" training for this race (after the procedure I had to burn the nerves in my neck...) I

  • biked 93 hours
  • swam almost 20 hours
  • have run 37.5 hours
(Not including some brick workouts and a couple of races.)  For a race like this, that may not be a lot, but for my body, and for what it's been through in the last year...that IS a lot.

I AM READY.  There is no doubt this race will be a challenge.  I AM READY.

*A lot of people put colored duct tape on their bags -just like people do for their luggage- so they are more easily identified.

**BTW, Daisy has become so much more than a running partner, she is my best friend with whom I am so honored to get to "do life".

Monday, September 2, 2013

Race Pre-Cap

A friend of mine told me a couple of weeks ago to write up a race "pre-cap" of my Iron Man (which is in NINETEEN DAYS AND A WAKE UP!!).  I've tried several times, but I just haven't been able to do it.  I'm going to give it one more tri.  (he he)  (This will be considerably less wordy than the recap...)

Pre Race
My husband and I will get there on Thursday afternoon.  We will be picked up by Race Quest and taken to our condo, which is ON King's Beach (by the start from what I understand).  We will go to the expo so I can get checked in and get even more excited than I already am.  I'll check to make sure that TriBikeTransport got my bike there safe and sound (why yes, they did! :D).  Then we'll head to the grocery store so I can buy good, clean, healthy food for the next few days.  (Chicken, salmon, salad, broccoli, almond milk, almonds, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, bananas, oranges, nectarines...and Diet Coke for my sweet husband.)  Thursday night there is supposed to be a night swim so I'm hoping to get in on that action--I hear it will be almost a full moon out and should be beautiful.

The Athlete Guide has not yet been posted (WHAT IS UP WITH THAT??) but according to the event schedule there is a practice swim Friday morning so I'll head out to that to check it out since I'm guessing they will have the buoys up then.  I'm hoping Race Quest will drive us around the bike course on Friday or Saturday so I can imagine in my mind's eye how I will be mastering the climbs and relaxing down the descents with free speed.  Friday night there is a mandatory athlete meeting so I won't miss that.

I will spend a good bit of Saturday getting all my bags ready:

Bike Gear

  • bike shorts
  • jersey
  • arm warmers that I can throw away
  • leg warmers?
  • gloves
  • socks
  • bike shoes
  • helmet
  • sun glasses
  • Picky Bars
  • sun screen
  • HR monitor
  • Butt Butter
  • Salt Stik Caps
  • lip balm
  • race number belt with race number attached (? do I have to wear this on the bike?)
  • towel
  • baby powder (have you ever tried to put bike shorts on a wet body?)
  • buff or cap for my head
Bike Special Needs
  • sun screen
  • notes from friends/family*
  • picture of Churchill
  • extra Picky Bars and Salt Stik Caps
  • Frog Tog
Run Gear
  • running skirt and shirt
  • sun screen
  • water bottle
  • EFS baggies
  • notes from friends/family*
  • shoes
  • socks
  • Body Glide
  • hat
  • Frog Tog
Run Special Needs
  • EFS baggies
  • pictures of family (I won't be able to read by then I'm sure!)
  • head lamp
  • long sleeve shirt or arm warmers
I will lay out what I will need for race morning-bathing suit and wetsuit, socks and shoes, swim cap, goggles, ear plugs (?), tri glide and body glide, water bottle for start, water bottles for bike (3 full of water), watch, banana and almond butter to eat about 45 minutes before the start.

I will check in my gear and my bike and kiss it good night.

I will pray a LONG TIME and get to bed early knowing I am as READY as I can possibly be and knowing He will carry me through the day no matter what happens.

Race Day

I will wake up at 4:30 to take my meds and get dressed.  I'll write some inspirational things on the backs of my hands (as yet to be determined), I will pray and then head to the bike transition.  I'll load up my water bottles and pump my tires and then head to the start line.  I will go in the water for a little pre-race swim warm up and I will be pleasantly surprised at how warm the water feels! :D

The swim start is a rolling start for this race.  From what I understand, everyone will be in the water by 7 and the slower swimmers will be at the back of the pack.  I will put myself in about the 2 hour time slot, but really I'd like to go in the water AT 7am (so my finish clock time will be right....yes, I know it's probably silly, but I'd like that to be the case if at all possible).  

I kiss my husband one last time and head for the start line.  When I enter the water, all the nerves I have felt the last 3 weeks will wash away and I will swim with confidence, easily being able to see the buoys and swim straight.  From what I understand the swim is being changed from what they have posted (a 2 loop course with a short beach run between each loop) to a 2 loop course where we do not leave the I gladly "just keep swimming", getting closer and closer to the end of the "bike warm up".  I'm out of the water faster than what I expected and I feel great!  (Thank you God!)

I strip off my wetsuit because it's easier to do it myself than to lay down to let someone else do it.  I go to get my bike gear bag and head for the changing tent.  I dry off, strip down, powder and lube up, thank the volunteers and head out for my bike.

I get on the bike and it is glorious.  The sun is up and it is bright and clear.  What a beautiful place to ride!!!  The first 6 miles are nice and flat, there's a short mile long climb and then 15ish fast downhill miles, another mile long climb, then 10 rolling uphill miles, 3.3 miles UP, 3 miles DOWN, 2.8 UP and that is one loop.  I get my special needs bag and realize I'm feeling really GOOD.  I'm making good time and know I will make it well before the cut off.  I have been relaxed on the descents and the climbs weren't nearly as bad as I expected them to be.  I'm ready for the last loop and a half.  I take a moment to pray and thank God again for this day.  

I finish the bike and smile because the marathon warm up is out of the way and I know I have plenty of time for the main event.   

I grab my run bag, change clothes and head out to run along the Truckee River, taking in the gorgeous views!   I am smiling from ear to ear, I have managed my nutrition and hydration just like I had planned and practiced and I'm feeling like a million bucks.  I have seen my smiling husband on the course several times and he has encouraged me like a true cheerleader!!  He tells me about the texts and FaceBook messages I have gotten and it makes me smile knowing I have friends and family who have been watching me via the MyAthleteLive Tracker I've been wearing**.

I am the obnoxiously annoyingly chipper racer that I always am--so happy God has given me the strength to carry out this day to His glory.  I am cheering for spectators and thanking volunteers.  I know this means I could actually be running faster, but I am taking this day in and enjoying every single second of it.

Doubt creeps in about the time  I get my special needs bag and I remember why I'm here when I look at the pictures of my family and then I hear Dwayne's voice telling me I have just 13 miles to go (which is less than 10% of the total for the I really am almost there).  He tells me how proud of me he is and tells me to save the tears for the finish line!!

As I near the finish, I hand Dwayne my sweaty cap and he hands me my signature hat that he has carried with him all day for just this moment.  ...I usually RACE a finish line...but on this day, I take the advice I have been given and really soak in the crowd.  I high five spectators and hear the song that is playing (Overcomer or maybe Roar)...and I cross the finish line, remembering to thank God for giving me this day and the strength I needed to complete this task to His glory!--well under the 17 hour cutoff...and my husband is there and doesn't even tell me how BAD I STINK...lets me hug him and BAWL MY EYES OUT. 


*Please feel free leave me comments on this post I can print out for race day!!
**My race number is 784...I'll post a link later on to tell you how to track me live on race day!