Oh such sweet words to hear after swimming, biking and running right at 16 and a half hours!!
I have so much to say about this race! (Did you expect any less?) I'll write several posts, but if you have specific questions, or want to hear about something in particular, please let me know.
My husband and I flew out EARLY Thursday morning. When we got to the Reno airport, the Race Quest van was there waiting for us. The took us to the condo at Kings Beach. After we picked our jaws off the floor from the gorgeous views, they drove us over to the IronMan Village a few miles away at Squaw Valley. (The condo was about half a mile away from the start line; the Village was the finish line.) I picked up my bike from the Tri Bike Transport people and then went over to the check in area where I picked up packet with all the race numbers I needed and back pack with all the bags I would use on race day and a few little bits of swag, and I got my official IronMan wrist band which identified me as a race participant.
After a trip to the grocery store, we went back to the condo to get settled in a little bit before the Race Quest Welcome Reception where I got to meet Chris "Big Sexy" McDonald and say hello to the female pro I had met previously, Jessica Jacobs, along with all the other race participants who were there with RQ. At the reception, Chris went through a bike course preview which helped considerably more than I expected it to. He gave some tips on fueling, hydration, and technique that would help me (as much as it could) on race day. After that Jessica took us through a race day visualization exercise, somewhat similar to my race pre-cap. I went to sleep that night feeling one baby step closer to the finish line, not just in time, but in preparedness.
Friday morning I joined about 500 other people in the Lake to check out the swim start. After the initial shock of the cold taking my breath away, I swam in the clear blue water for about 20 minutes...long enough to let me know I wasn't going to freeze to death but not long enough to cause any issues to arise with my shoulder/neck. I wish I had a Go Pro to be able to show you just how AMAZING the water was. It was the best open water swim I've even experienced!
After a shower I headed back to the IM Village for the pro panel and to check out the vendors. (Dwayne stayed in the condo to write all day.) After being inspired by the pro panel, I discovered Recovery Pump and wished I had an extra grand in my bank account. Keeping some long term financial goals in mind I stepped away from the tent after a 20 minute "sampling". The next temptation...a SWEET Rudy Project aero helmet and glasses combination that was selling for about half off!! The helmet I fell in love with was a mat black and sleek as a whales tail. I was really glad at that point I didn't have my credit card with me or I'd have snatched them up!
Later that night I went to the Welcome Dinner and required Athlete Meeting. Mike Riley, the voice of Iron Man, gave some stats about the triathletes registered. This race had 606 first timers and the highest percentage of females. My age group 40-44 had the highest total participants for both men and women. The athlete meeting didn't give any new information for me since I'd been keeping up on Face Book which was better at getting information out than the website!
Saturday morning I woke up to high winds and a forecast of storms. After getting all my bags ready I took my bike down to T1. I "just KNEW" they weren't going to have our bags out in the weather all night...but alas, I was wrong. When I got there and discovered my dry towel and bike clothes would be left out, on the ground in the rain and sub freezing temps, we went across the street and bought trash bags and duct tape. After re-bagging it all (so the "official" bag was on the outside), I took my bike over to be left alone on a rack in 20mph winds!! I felt like I was leaving my baby alone with a drunk sitter! Later on the RQ shuttle took a group over to T2 to drop bags off there. After that, there was nothing left to do but relax! (sure...yeah...right...
I woke up at 3:30 without an alarm, took a hot shower (for no other real reason than to put my hair in a manageable braid!), got all the last minute stuff ready and mentally went over my plan for the day. About 5:15 we walked over to the start. MAN WAS IT COLD!! This was by far the coldest day in Tahoe. Naturally. I was surprised to see so many people putting stuff in their Bike bags. I didn't know we could do that and I questioned if I was forgetting something important. I found my bike (still safely racked). A lot of people were knocking ice off, but I had put bags over my seat and my tri bars so I just ripped those off (I didn't notice any ice). I found a pump and aired my tires then headed back to find Dwayne so I could get my wetsuit on.
As I was lubing my neck up with Body Glide, a photographer came by and asked if I would mind him snapping some shots, which of course I didn't. He asked Dwayne was he intended to do all day. When Dwayne said he was going to go nap and maybe catch a movie the guy said he had an extra media badge if he wanted to hang out and help take pictures!!! I instantly told him to go do it. He was worried he would miss my transitions, but I told him there were so many people he wouldn't even recognize me and it was MORE than fine for him to go have an adventure! With kisses and well-wishes, he was off and I was left to wait about 35ish minutes until the start of the race so I headed for the warming tent. I heard the cannon go off to start the pros, but I knew it would be another 30ish minutes until I started so I just decided to try to stay warm as long as I could. About that time a gal ran in with a bag and started throwing on her wetsuit and trying to get ready. She said the shuttle she was on from the host hotel had broken down and she had just gotten there!! Several people helped her as much as we could and she ran off to get in the water.
Stay tuned for the Swim recap (to be posted tomorrow). :D