Day before the race and the usual nerves are hitting. Jo has given a great blog entry describing some of our time here and how it makes us feel. Have a read here. We’ve just racked our bikes and dropped off our transition bags. I feel alot more relaxed now abit like once you’ve checked in your bags at the airport.
Boy oh boy is this a transition area. From the swim you run up “The Helix” which is a 4 storey up ramp for the car park, then run in to the bag room then into the changing room, then through the bike racking (there’s gotta be about 4 blocks worth of racking) before mounting your bike just before going down the other Helix. Pretty much the same thing in reverse for T2. Fastest transition times last year were around 4 minutes. It’s not quick. But changing indoors in a carpeted room is going to be luxury.
Final preparations have gone quite well. Yesterday we did a loop of the swim before driving out and doing a 31 mile ride out on the loop of the bike course. It was a nice ride and I did some bursts of 5 – 10 minutes at race pace. Felt ok. Further hit home how tough a bike course this is. It’s pretty technical with some fast descents and corners but also there are so many undulations that riding sensible will be key. I’m running it through in my head and may try to hold back a little on the first lap and pick it up on the second if I’m feeling good.
We had breakfast / lunch at Mickies – a classic diner we found on Thursday. Awesome omelets and very friendly staff. Did a run in the afternoon for 35 minutes which felt pretty sharp for me of late. Took in the bit of the course we’d not done before and it’s the hilliest bit !
Had the ‘pasta’ party last night which we attended because the briefing was after. We arrived about an hour after the start and the queues weren’t too long for food, any later though and we wouldn’t have got any. Managed to get a low carb meal, though it did require fishing out the chunks of bread they tossed generously into the salad – whats that all about ! My sister, Jane, would have laughed – yet again there was a big standing ovation for something I didn’t feel deserved it. Good to see Jo agreed and stayed sat. It’s going the same way of a minutes silence – have you noticed that this has slowly crept up to 3 minutes… it won’t be long… no I’ll stop there thats for another day. Anyway – everyone stood up because there was a 79 year old entered. Now, I’m impressed he’s entered but don’t really feel it deserves a standing ovation – if he finishes then perhaps. So, they get him up on stage and interview him and he’s very open and states how he won’t be finishing as he only plans on doing the swim but he entered because he’s competed in every IM Wisconsin. I wonder how many people wanted to take their standing ovation back !
Briefing started early (hurrah) and was short, sweet and to the point (HURRAH) allowing Jo and I to head out and chill in our favourite coffee shop. Amazing how quickly you get settled in a place. We have our favourite diner where the staff already recognise us and our favourite coffee shop ! Already feel happy here. It’s a great place just to be. Relaxing and very friendly. People are just so welcoming and so pleased that we’d travel so far to visit their town.
This morning did another lap of the swim course. Swam it continuously and at a steady pace. This included the final leg out of the swim so was slightly more than half distance. Nice to complete it comfortably in 29 minutes.
We jogged over to Mickies for breakfast. What an experience, it’s just by Randall Field where the local University football team, The Beavers, play. Today was a big game and everyone was heading there. Great atmosphere. More or less everyone was in red ! The diner was packed but we got sat at the bar and soaked up the atmosphere. We chatted with the guy next to us. Turned out he owns a local cafe which we’d been so close to popping in to. He invited us over for dinner tonight on him! Very tempting but it would compromise our normal night before race routine so I think we will have to decline. Just another sign of the amazing friendliness here.
So… how do I feel ? At the moment I’m in the period between dropping off kit and going to bed where I feel totally relaxed. No nerves. But they have been building. I have periods of feeling envious of the slower people – back of the swim pack, cruising the bike course … though I don’t envy their run. Jo and I said it would be nice to do one just for fun one day ! But this is for fun. I keep reminding myself of this, enjoy it.
I get nervous about the swim start. Not the argie bargie anymore but doing myself justice. Ensuring I get in the water early enough and get into a good spot on the front line. I’m considering this race of not sprinting from the start but instead just doing enough to avoid the worst of the aggro. We will see. I guess I worry about the bike but really it’s nonsense. It seems I worry about too many people going by me but my logical side just says thats stupid … by that point it’s just do your own race. It’s irrelevant how many go by you as no matter what the best approach is to cycle the effort thats required to get my best performance.
The run. Who knows. If I have the guts and the mental strength to push the run I think I will be happy whatever the outcome.