And almost race day, really! Here we go!
It’s been a good two weeks of tapering – I know that some people go crazy during taper, but I feel that there is always enough to do as one prepares in other ways for the race, so it’s especially nice to have a few extra hours and more energy in the week to devote to other stuff. I realize that my last post was a bit of downer and a cliff-hanger in regards to my foot. Since I last posted, the rehab (ART, Graston and taping) continued to work its magic, so two weeks ago I managed my “last” long run, which felt like a first, honestly. I ran 11 miles, pain-free, which gave me the confidence to think that I might have a run in me for Sunday. I’ve also managed two open-water swims in the Boulder Rez, and am now kicking myself for not getting in there more often this summer – it’s hard to beat starting the day with an early swim while the sun is coming up over the Flatirons!
Since IM Boulder is now a “local” race for me (although I still tell people that I’m from CA!), that has also made the week much easier. This is the first major triathlon I’ve done that didn’t require any travel. This has been nice in many ways, but I also didn’t feel too much excitement or anxiety until yesterday, which maybe isn’t a bad thing. I’ve enjoyed watching certain aspects of the race-day experience come together as the days have passed – trucks appeared, then porta-potties, then tents… It will be exciting to see the bike racks tomorrow at the Boulder Rez when I head there for my final open water swim!
The race ‘festivities’ sort of kicked off on Wednesday evening when a VERY small group of CalTri (yes, I’m still involved – I swear, that group is like the mafia, you can’t ever leave) folk had the unique opportunity to meet Dave Scott. Yes, THE Dave Scott – 6-time Ironman World Champion, known as “the Man”. He talked to us about… well, whatever we wanted to know – racing, strength training, the Boulder course, how to avoid GI issues (he recommends not eating a ton, actually). It was pretty awesome how low-key it was. He also led us through a few strength/mobility exercises which were supposed to engage/fire the glutes. While we were doing these, he informed me that I have terrible hip mobility. Yes, thank you, I know that! That little meeting made it feel real – meeting other people who would be racing on Sunday and talking “shop”.
Yesterday, I managed to head to “Ironman Village” which is at Boulder High in the late morning and dealt with packet pick-up fairly quickly. Last year, I didn’t arrive in Coeur d’Alene until late on Thursday, so packet pick-up was Friday morning, and that was a scene! This time around, I felt that I was in-and-out in no time, signing waivers and picking up all of the necessary bags (morning clothes, bike gear, run gear, bike special needs, run special needs… Anything else?!). I also picked up THE backpack which is a fairly obnoxious red and blue thing but a good size and will certainly come in handy at some point.
You would think that I would have taken care of ALL of my business yesterday, but I didn’t coordinate the time to attend the athlete race briefing, so I returned today for that. It wasn’t the most interesting 30 minutes of my life, but I did learn that the swim might not be wetsuit legal because the Reservoir is too warm. Or it was this morning and probably will be on Sunday. It’s been a warm week, to say the least, and I don’t see temperatures dropping anytime soon. While I have zero expectations to qualify for Kona, I don’t want to have wait until all of the non-wetsuit people start the swim. So, right after that meeting, I went to the Roka tent, along with everyone else who just learned about the probability of a non-wetsuit swim, and got a fancy looking swimskin. Le sigh – as if I need to invest any more money in this hobby! However, I want to get in the water with it on tomorrow so that I know what swimming in it is like before Sunday. Still, that was an unexpected turn of events.
I plan to rest and relax as much as I can the rest of today and tomorrow and finish prepping all of my gear bags (of which there are many). I’d love to not forget anything this time around, unlike the disaster that was St. George where I forgot sunscreen, body glide, the right tri shorts, and chapstick. The Boulder course is a bit complicated with two transitions and shuttle bus that takes athletes and spectators to the swim start, so I really don’t want to screw up my gear!
In terms of energy, Boulder definitely feels festive and busy with so many people in town, and it’s obvious who all of the athletes are – either those competing or their entourage of friends and family. I tend to avoid too many crowds and events, and perhaps I miss out on the fun by not participating in events such as the “Underpants Run” (which was last night) or trying to connect with tons of people that are here for race week, but I find that too many things enervate rather than energize me. I really enjoy staying focused, staying quiet, and spending time with small groups of friends and family.
Overall, I’m feeling good about the race on Sunday. This could be that optimism of the naive, and I sort of suspect that it is, but I also think that I have the potential to nail certain parts of the race. The swim, not so much, but I’ve ridden a LOT of miles this summer, and I really hope that the bike fitness will show on the bike leg. I’m not going to break any records, but I think that a sub-7:00 hour bike split is very possible if it’s not a windy day out there. The run is up for grabs, really. I think that I’ll be okay foot-wise, but my main concern has shifted to the heat. I’ve felt okay at the half-IM distance on a hot day, but a full-IM is a completely different experience and I have no idea how my body will hold up. However, the conditions will be the same for everyone, so it’s no use complaining, whining, feeling sorry for myself or thinking about the ‘what ifs’. I know that it’s going to be a long hard day out there, but it’s already been great to meet and talk to people and hear about their experiences. That is one of the most awesome aspects of an ironman race – and maybe any race – the people that you meet, even for just a moment, as they cheer you on or vice versa, and the experience that you share.
So, I’m nervous and excited for Sunday, but I also think that I’m ready to tackle this thing!