Having finally got old enough to get a three digit race number I was able to rack early which is what I did. I find the period between racking my bike and trying to sleep very relaxing. I enjoy it. There’s nothing that really can be done and that means I feel calm. Thats the place I’m at right now as I write this and consider stating my goals.
So here goes my none SMART goals and perhaps some SMART hopes.
First and foremost I am planning to fully appreciate my day. There is a tendency to wish the day away, to look forward to finishing. I am prone to that but this time I want to try and appreciate each moment. This requires periodically reminding myself where I am and what work has gone in to getting here. I am visualising looking forward to different parts of race and what challenges they throw rather than dreading them. This is most difficult with teh swim but I will likely start with Petro again but in a different spot and I think Kerri and perhaps Mel will join me on the start. Having friends around should help keep me calm and make me appreciate that moment, the ultimate tension just before the gun.
Swim goal is to enjoy the physical nature of the swim, open my eyes when looking down and for once actually notice some fish during the swim ! Also, absolutely do not have a change in attitude no matter what time is on the clock when I exit. I’ve had everything here – 62 minutes first time, what a shocker, sea sick second time, third time 55:30 and surprised, fourth time felt swam even faster but saw 56:30 and then last year despite a bashing at the start a steady swim and an unsurprisingly 57:30. In terms of time sub 58 would be AOK and the further under 57 the more pleased I’ll be.
Bike goal is to be strong in the final 40km. Last year was terrible, I was dying before that so the final 40km were torture. I feel last years ride was almost worst case scenario – just have nothing in the legs – and yet it was OK. I finished in a respectable time. I got passed by loads which I often worry about but the reality is the race was still fun. I feel pretty strong on the bike and assuming I’ve recovered from Wales (I feel I have) I should be on for a good ride. I rode well at Wales and something similar should see far fewer pass me. If I wanted to state time goals (knowing that the conditions could obliterate them) I’d say that sub 5:15 is my starting point and sub 5:10 is where I get happier and happier.
The run, who knows. I plan to smile, acknowledge the crowds and lap it up. My goal is to maintain running strong to the Energy Lab – historically I’ve fallen apart at halfway ! I tend to focus on halfway and when there it’s “oh my god I’ve still got 13 miles to run” so this time the focus is the Energy Lab which is 10 or 11 miles to go. The Energy Lab itself, despite it’s reputation, is fun and once out of it “just” ~7 miles home. Times ? sub 4hrs would be a step forward since the last 3 times I’ve been over 4hrs. Sub 3:45 I think is achievable and getting close to 3:30 or under would be an awesome time.
Stringing that together what range of times do I get ? 9:48:00 -> 10:27:00 the fast end of that would be a Kona PB and I’d be joyous. Anything under 10 V happy.
I woke this morning with the usual nerves. It rained most of the night and was still looking pretty ominous when I went to the pier to meet up with Iain Osborne. Whilst we chatted the sun came up and it felt ridiculously hot. We had a coffee before meeting Brett and Mel for breakie at Splashers. Then I did what all good pre race advice dictates and went wandering around the merchandise store and the expo ! It wasn’t that bad, in fact it was fun. Bumped into Tara which was great. We did chill out with a cold iced coffee before coming back here and packing my bags. It was short and sweet getting that sorted. So short that I’m now wondering what I’ve forgotten – nothing I assume.
Then down to get racked early. Racking here is pretty special with the line of people recording all aspects of your bike – seat, wheels, frame, material, groupset, hydration system, aero bars etc etc… You then get a volunteer to escort you round the transition and deposit your bike and run bags. The volunteers are always so knowledgeable and help you keep calm and be sure you’ve not only got everything but also that you’ve thought through where your bag is and how you’ll run thorough transition. Me … I take photos of my bag position so I can remind myself the night before ! What is it ? if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after myselfs.
This was all done by 12:45pm. I bumped in to Petro and told him I’d look out for him at the start. Grabbed an icecream (it was hot and I am being more relaxed about this race ;o) and watched the world go by before coming back here to lay down before dinner.
It could be five years on the trot now that I’ve had the Cobb Salad at Bongo Bens for my pre race meal. Good as ever though I struggled more than I remember to finish it. A first though is washing it down with a Waileau Wheat beer. It was good to chat about the race and other than when the discussion got on to the swim start I had no nerves. On that front I’ve exchanged a few emails with Petro and I like the plan. I like it because thinking about it calms me. It’s almost like having a specific approach allows me to focus on that and not the swim start itself and it removes my nerves.
I got back and did the messy job of emptying 15 powerbar gels (8 x vanilla, 7 x strawberry banana) into a 750ml bottle, emptying 5 x Lava Salt capsules and filling with water. Tasted like perfection !
Everything is set. I feel pretty calm now and just really want to get started. The finish chute is starting to take shape and the pier look very tranquil tonight.