Ironman 70.3 Austin – T-36 Hours

This is the worst time.  36-72 hours before a race.  You can’t run, you can’t bike, you can’t eat anything you want to eat.  You sit around “resting”, trying not to get injured, eating carbs, hydrating, triple checking your water bottles and making sure you’ve got both socks for the run. 

This part sucks.  You just want to race.  To finally get started, get on the course and do what you’ve been preparing for over the last few months (or longer).

So, I’m sitting here, high carb dinner in my stomach, well hydrated, both socks carefully verified and laid out…waiting.  Today we looked over the swim course, inspected T1, drove the bike course, picked up my packet, shopped the expo, picked up the last minute pre-race nutrition, picked up Keira from the bike shop where she got tuned up…it was a busy day.  All of it leading to…more waiting.

The Swim Course

Took a gander at Walter E. Long Lake today.  It’s a lake.  No surprise there, it says “lake” right in the name,  Flat, glassy, looks like it should be a fairly uneventful swim.  Hopefully the water will be reasonably warm – I’m in the last wave so however warm it’s going to get it should get by 8:45AM when we finally go off.  The fact that 1400 triathletes will have been in that water before us will undoubtedly warm it up a bit too…but I’m trying not to think too much about that, if you know what I mean.

The Bike

The bike course is rolling, but not terribly brutal.  The Kona course was probably harder.  There are long stretches of this course that look reasonably flat and fast.  Shouldn’t be too windy nor, at least for the first 25 miles or so, particularly hot.  If I have one concern about the course it’s that the road surface was often suspect.  Lots of patched cracks, potholes, two sets of railroad tracks to cross, no shoulder to speak of.  So it might not be the smoothest ride.  I just hope it’s the fastest.

If you’re tracking at home…look for a 3:15 or faster bike split from me. That will be your cue that exciting things might be happening on the run.

The Run Course

Didn’t get much of a look at the run course today – in part because a lot of the course isn’t on roads.  It looks a little hilly, but much of the course is on grass.  It might be a tad warm.  Hard to say at this point if the course will he easier or harder than Kona – it certainly shouldn’t be hillier than the course we’re running every week in Flagstaff.  And, of course, it’s not at 7,000 feet altitude.

This And That

  • At the expo they clip a blue wristband on you that you’re supposed to keep on until after the race is over.  It identifies you as a participant in the race – so it’s essentially your ticket into all of the “athlete-only” things.  Without thinking I held out my right wrist for them to clip it onto.  In retrospect I should have had them put it on my left.  My watch goes on my right also and I’m already forseeing my right wrist as a busy and crowded place on race day.
  • Getting ready for my race but I’m also thinking about friends on the left coast who are preparing for a race of their own:  Hannah, Lydia, Elizabeth, Erin and, maybe, Jana…on the precipice of the Nike Women’s Marathon.  Same day and time as my race.  I’m sure they’ll do great and I’m excited to hear their stories when the race is over.  Heroes all.
  • If you’re a triathlete, DO NOT fly Delta to your race if you’re bringing a bike.  Delta charged me $200 (TWO HUNDRED!) to check Keira in for the trip.  Even United only charges $100 for bikes.  $200 is absurd.  I’ll be shipping Keira back to Flagstaff, rather than let Delta extort $200 from me again.  It cost more to get Keira here than to get ME here. It would have been cheaper for me to buy the seat next to me and put Keira in it rather than checking her as luggage.
  • Here’s a quick shout out to some more friends who’ve been great with their support and encouragement.  Thanks to Bevan, Sherrie, Ray, Bob, Rick and all the others who have been so great.  Somehow it’s the friends who are conspicuously absent who tend to be at the forefront of my mind, but I don’t want to overlook the many who have been so great in their support.
  • Met several of the other athletes in town for the race today, at the expo, at the bike shop, even out at T1.  Really nice folks all of them.  Good luck Eric, Stacy, Steve, Scott and the rest!

 Tomorrow is the mandatory athlete’s meeting, checking Keira in, re-confirming my socks and…more waiting.  It’s almost time though.  Looking forward to putting this nervous energy into forward motion.

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