Saturday, August 05, 2006

Ironman Race Report - Pre-Race (Saturday)

Sorry it's been so long since the last post. I've been busy and this post has taken longer to create than I thought. Three days in the making and I submit it for your approval. Enjoy........

Each morning leading up to race day I would let myself wake up when the body was ready. Aimee set her alarm for 5:30AM so she coould get ready for her long 2 hour run. I woke up around 6:30, she finally left for her run, and I had something to eat. I packed my running shoes and bike to loosen up the legs and make sure the bike was in good order. I drove into town and rode my bike first. I did a loop around Mirror Lake and was able to see where the run turn-around would be. Back to the car I put on my running shoes for a quick out and back next to the lake. There were alot of people out, some triathletes, some runners, some cyclists, etc. People walking and enjoying the day.

I stopped by the beach to use a port-o-potty and check out the beach. The Gatorade Swim Check-in tent was busy. the tent is available for people to put their dry clothes while they swim in the lake. You can also pick up some schwag after your swim. First I was surprised by how many people were swimming....the day before the race. Second, the schwag at the Gatorade tent was lame. They were handing out GU and water bottles. I don't use GU and I have 10 Gatorade bottles at home, I'll pass. I walked to the Oval along the path from the lake. I wanted to know where I was going for T1.

I went back to the car and drove home. Aimee had just finished her run when I pulled in at the townhouse. Aimee had a great breakfast planned for all of us. While she made breakfast I started to put my transition bags together. During the late morning it started to rain. We knew the rain would be heading in but not sure how much was going to come down. Breakfast was fantastic and hit the spot. The pre-race nutrition called for a larger breakfast, medium lunch and light dinner. Around noon my mom and dad stopped by and they took the kids with them to the volunteeers meeting, then up to the campground. Aimee and I went to drop off my bike and gear bags. The overnight rain had people covering their bikes with plastic bags. I covered my seat and arm rests with old swim caps. I also used a garbage bag to cover the rest of my aero bars. I wasn't too worried about the drive train since I had applied some lube earlier in the day. I double checked the transition layout with a volunteer and walked the route for getting my gear off the bag racks.

We went back to the ART tent for another pre-race treatment. Barry handed me off to another guy who fine tuned me just right. My muslces were feeling great for the race. Aimee and I then went to the Janus Charity tent to report my fund raising totals to date. They had some computers to use and I had $5,910 at that point. I felt great to be able to exceed my goal and reported my total to the JCC rep. We chatted a little and she gave me my JCC tri top. I've worn it twice since being home. I'm proud to wear it when I can. She also told us about how Janus secured us with low bib numbers and the bibs also had a different color background. This was all very cool. My mom reminded me that my bib number was also my dad's age. She will be 71 in October. TriFrog also reminded me that 71 was the race number for Floyd Landis during the TdF, only I think the number was luckier for me than him.

Exiting the Janus tent we ran into Matt Luck, another Cleveland triathlete who was doing his first Ironman. I wasn't sure if I would see him during the weekend, I'm glad we did see each other. I gave him a big hug so I wouldn't have to look him in the face and have tears roll down my face.

I have to side track here briefly. Why would I get emotional the day before the race? Where were these feelings bubbling up from? The final month or two I could feel the wave building inside of me. But I couldn't/wouldn't allow it to be released. Remember, don't reveal yourself to the race. Wait until you have won the battle. Man that is hard to do. With everything that can happen in the life of an Ironman in training how are we supposed to keep it together? By surrounding yourself with people that support and love you. People that understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, even if you don't know yourself.

Like I said, the eb and flow of emotions were picking up in frequency as race day approached. I never knew when a rush of emotion would hit me.

I would watch a replay of last years race at Lake Placid and almost cry.
I'd look at Aimee and think about everything we had been through for the past 6 months.
The last e-mail from Coach Angela before the race took me 5 minutes to read through even though it was only 5 sentences long.
Hearing Coach Hodska tell me I was "dial-in" for the race.
Seeing a welcome friendly face in Matt.
Coming out of the Janus Charity Challenge tent knowing I did my best raising money.

These were the emotions bottled up inside me the day before my big "A" race. Emotions that were to stay bottled up until I cross that finish line.

So back to my meeting with Matt. We chatted for a bit and wished each other luck, not knowing if and when we would see each other on race day.

Aimee and I made it back home for some quiet time. I reviewed my race plan again while Aimee and her dad sat with me quietly at the table. No distractions. Pure concentration on my race plan. Picturing my race from beginning to end. Hoping it would all go well.

Tom, Aimee's dad, left for a volunteers meeting. Aimee and I were left alone at the townhouse. We hadn't really been alone since we had gotten there except for dinner the night before. Went spent some quality time together before everyone returned for dinner.

Saturday night dinner was with everyone at the townhouse. We had pasta, bread, wine, salad, sausage, etc. It was a great time to be with everyone. My mom brought some desserts including a cake that Amanda decorated with candles in the shape of my race number. We took pictures and everyone "secretly" went out to the garage to make signs for race day.

When everyone left and it was time to go to bed I felt extremely prepared for race day. Coach Angela provided me with the training plan and motivation to be prepared. I had executed the training plan to the best of my ability and it was showing. Aimee had done everything possible to help, I can't even begin to list everything. The week leading up to the race I had rested wisely, ate cautiously, hydrated religiously. I was hydrated since the day we arrived. I hadn't seen yellow pee in four days.

Time to get one more nights rest before the Big Show began.

5 comments:

E-Speed said...

very cool you had so much support there with you pre race, I can tell it played a huge role in how well you did!

qcmier said...

Can't wait for me of this race recap. At this rate, I'll still be reading it after I race. j/k =)

greyhound said...

Only in triathlon could you have race reports waxing eloquent about preparatory emotions AND detailing the color of one's pee in the same post. LOL! Can't wait for the rest.

Hak said...

Eric,

Sounds like an epic adventure. Thanks for sharing this experience with the rest of us.

trifrog said...

I'm just catching up on all my blogs; sorry for the delay, but I sure wanted to read this eventually.

Why does one choose to bottle-up the emotions? Is there something in 'mental training for triathletes' that discusses this?