Saturday, October 10, 2009

Race Day Baby....

Up and ready to go....except it's only 3:30! No place to go yet. Feeling good today, sore throat is no worse and head is a bit congested. Key is nothing in my lungs.

Wow. wow. wow! Cannot really believe it.

Yesterday it really hit me. My bro and family arrived from Australia early afternoon! So great to have some family around, starting to get lonely. Chilled at the pool with my niece and nephew and then S and I headed to the pier to check in my bike etc. What an experience..

Not like any other IM I have done. Single file line into the pier for a helmet check and along the way there are 15+ people sitting with clip boards furiously writing. I could not resist and had to ask what they were doing. They were recording bike name, components, saddle, wheel set - you name it about the bike. Slowtwitch (http://www.slowtwitch.com/) does a review of what was in Kona, % on SRAM Red, Dura Ace etc. Kind of cool stats. Then I was greeted by Roberto (my personal concierge) he took me around to drop off my bike, walked me through transition hung up my bags and then took me back to take a bit of air out of my tires. It was so hot on the pier, "I'd hate for your tires to explode" Gee, me too, so I took his advice.

So we exit the water, ramp will be instatlled over the exisiting stairs, onto the pier, through the tent of showers to rinse off th sale water, grab our T1 bag from the numberical hooks and run the lenght of the pier to tpan>he Womens change tent, bike gear on, and out and back down the pier to the bikes, run/walk the bike to end of the pier and onto Alii and off we go. 112 miles later, enter in same way and hand off bike to volunteer and run to 2nd set of hooks where Run gear is, back into the tent and out you go. Very different set up with the hooks and all. A bit confusing but as I always say, there is always someone in front of me so no need to blaze the trail. So many volunteers and they were as excited to be there as we were.

S and I hung on Alii soaking it all up for a bit and then had to get out of the sun. Very hot! We stopped in a bar along the way, 2nd story so he could inquire about reservations for race day. $100 gets you a place at the bar, does not include anything, just a seat. $300 gets you a table, again that is a rental fee only. Seems like the bar owner has figured this race out.

Meanwhile Mom and Billy and Dad and K are arriving and are back at the hotel. It is nearly 5 and I need to eat. We headed to the hotel restaurant which did not start serving until 6. Come on people get with the program, we need to eat at 5pm since we have to eat again soon. We went to the bar and I watched everyone enjoying Mai Tai's and local favorites while I was drinking my Carbo Pro and FRS- that was not the happy hour special. S was great he tracked down the server and ordered me a big bowl of fettuccine, no sauce, no chicken- just noodles and oil on the side. Perfect, max amount of carbs. Billy did a nice welcome, good luck, you are nuts toast and I was out of there before 7.

Settled in and did all kind of homeopathic rituals to clear my nose, ease my throat and settle in for the night. Took me a while to get to sleep but I was laying down in the dark and relaxed, best I can do. Of course due to the volume of liquid consumed I was up many times in the night, but had a reasonably good night of sleep.

Up at 3 and time to eat again. This is the least satisfying meal. 1- not hungry 2- nervousness is fluttering about and 3- well not hungry. And 1/2 way through I want to be done but I'm not. For all those wondering why 3am? Race is at 7 and I want the meal to be totally out of my stomach before the swim. I need the blood in my muscles not working to digest the food in my belly.

Final race prep is now done. Had to make my other delicious caloric intake for the day. All my calories on the bike are liquid, so I make 1 28oz bike bottle with carbo pro and Infinit. It is not paste but is also not a flowing liquid. I sip off that every 20-30 minutes for calories. I have lines along the bottle to ensure I drink enough each hour. The rest of fluid is all water and that come through a Speedfil (big bottle mounted on the bike with a straw up to my aero bars) Each aid station fill the Speedfil and I am good to go!

All that is left is to put on my HR strap, timing chip is on my ankle (I slept in that- no need to worry about forgetting that, no chip to entry to the pier), and my race gear. I will wait a bit as I will have that on long enough.

Hope the family survives the day- long, hot day for spectators. Not knowing what to expect it is tough. S is in charge of getting the crew down to the start and weaseling their way for a view. Hopefully I will see them out there on the Queen K, but not planning on it. This race is a solitary race, few crowds out there on the course, bigger crowds than anywhere in town, but the bulk of the race is you and the lava fields.

Now is the time to soak it all in and enjoy the day. There is no pressure, no goals for this race, really want to experience it all and finish with a smile on my face. I will be back here and can decide then if I want to really go for it then, but today, is appreciating the journey to took to get to this very special race.

To those in the triathlon world....taken from ironman.com
If you are a triathlete, there is no bigger day in this sport than the Ford Ironman World Championship. It is the race that defined our sport as it came of age, and continues to be the defining race in our sport for any avid triathlete.

To get to the starting line in Kona, you must either be very lucky and get yourself a spot through the lottery, or very talented, and win yourself a qualifying spot at one of the qualifying events held around the world.

Tens-of-thousands of triathletes try to get one of those coveted Ironman spots every year. Only 1,800 succeeded.

That means 1,800 "lucky" people get to test themselves on one of the biggest challenges the sports world has to offer ... 2.4-miles of swimming, 112-miles of biking, and a 26.2-mile marathon run through tough ocean waves, and challenging lava-covered terrain.

While there are thousands of triathlons around the world, it is this one that truly defines the sport. It all began at an Awards Ceremony for a relay running race in Honolulu in 1977. A group of local athletes discussed the idea of an endurance triathlon and combining three major events that already existed on the island. John Collins suggested combining them and making it a single-day event. Later that evening, Collins took the stage announcing the event and that "whoever finishes first, we will call him the IRONMAN." It has since become triathlon's Super Bowl, Wimbledon, World Series, World Cup, and Tour de France all rolled into one. What makes this event so unique is that "average" people get to compete alongside the best in the world.