Monday, October 29, 2012


It's now less than 5 days until I run into the gulf waters and begin the ending to this amazing journey to Ironman Florida.  Time has been playing tricks on me the past week - speeding up, slowing down.  But now I think we will be on fast forward until Friday night.  So much has been done - packing for me and for the kids, organizing their life for the 2 days I'm gone, making sure they have lunches and snacks and rides lined up if the weather is as bad as the forecast.  Not to mention keeping the house in order so I don't return to a disaster afterwards!  I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that the weather up here is not all that great for air travel tomorrow ... I have no control over the weather so that is all I am going to say about that!

My Sweet Gym Friend Jo gave this to me as a special token for the week!
I have been thinking more and more about my race execution.  I run through the entire race in my head over and over again so today I thought I would try to get it out of my head and onto the page.

It will all start Friday night with a nice spaghetti dinner cooked my favourite cook in the whole world - my mother.  I'm looking forward to have a nice early meal with my family and friends and then retiring to my condo shortly thereafter.  We all know that sleep will be restless on Friday night so I'm preparing to lie, with eyes closed and as still as possible for as long as possible.  I'll get up around 3am for a snack to fill my belly. If sleep comes, my alarm will wake me around 5.

I plan on my normal morning routine of coffee, toast and peanut butter.  Followed my bathroom duties and a very hot shower, then I will be off to the race site.  It's a 10 minute walk to transition and body marking so we will leave the condo around 6 giving me more than enough time to drop my special needs bags, get marked, and relish in the excitement of the day.
my toenails are ready (and yes I do have all my toenails... sort of)
The swim
I'll pop my first gel of the day about 10 minutes before the swim start.  I'm planning on seeding myself  in the middle of the pack with the expected finish time of 1:15 even though my expected finish time is more like 1:20 - 1:30.  I would rather be swam around / over by a few then get caught up behind a bunch of slower swimmers and God forbid breast strokers!  I feel very prepared for the mass start thanks to the mass start at Welland.   If I could survive being beaten up for 2,000m in that narrow canal, I'm sure I can handle the mass start in the vastness of the Gulf of Mexico.  I'm just going to go out strong and easy, keeping my heart rate in check and focusing on a strong reach and a strong pull.

It's a two loop swim so you have to exit the water, cross a timing mat and re-enter the water.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  It will break the rhythm of my swim but it also breaks it up into 2 very manageable swims.  It is what it is so I will just focus on keeping my heart rate low and get back into the rhythm as soon as possible.  If all goes plan I'll be done with swimming in about an hour twenty.

I am swimming in my trishorts and my sports bra so in T1 I just have to get out of my wetsuit (I plan on using the strippers), rinse off as much sand as possible, throw on my bright yellow/green jersey  put on my shoes and out I go.   If the weather is as forecasted I will not need arm-warmers or socks!  I hope to make quick work of T1.

When I first get on the bike I'm going to mentally settle into my long ride.   I'm actually really looking forward to the long ride as I have really enjoyed riding long this year. At this point I know the day is really starting and I have to avoid any mental mistakes.  I've heard it is important to rinse your mouth and get hydration into you pretty quickly as the salt water swim dehydrates you more than fresh water.  15 minutes into the bike I'm planning on taking the only gel on the bike and then settle into my nutrition plan of drinking 200 calories an hour and eating an addition 80 calories of gel blasts with the occasional peanut M&M.  I'll stop at special needs to pick up the last half of my liquid nutrition.  If I lose any of my bottles I am prepared to switch to my back up nutrition plan which utilizes the course provided nutrition.  I have trained with that and while it is sub-optimal, it will get me through to the run.

I'm hoping for a quick T2 with just a quick shoe change - and of course I will have to put on socks too.  Grab the visor, shove some nutrition in my back pocket.  I am putting a full clothing change into my T2 bag just in case my trishorts are too gross (I'll just leave it at that) and I want clean shorts to run in but I think I would rather run in my trishorts than my running shorts.  I know I will see my family at this point and that is going to be a high point of the race for me - mentally I will be settling in for a long, long run.

At this point I will know I am on the backside of the race but I will have to keep it together because 42.2 km is a long way to run.   It's a 2 loop course so that means I get to see my family again and at that point I will be telling myself I only have a half to run, an easy Sunday morning run, my favourite distance. Of course I will be in uncharted territory at this point - I will have been going for longer than I have ever gone before.  And if the weather is as forecast, it could be very hot and sunny on the run so I will focus on keeping my heart rate low and my body temperature in check.  With an aid station every mile, I will break the run down into 9 - 10 minute chucks, running from aid station to aid station.

I'm going to put a small bottle of carbo-pro + NUUN in my run special needs bag just in case I'm sick of plain water and perform.  I'm not sure what else I will put in there ...

And then there is the finish line.  Just like that - a full day of swimming, biking and running.  This year the time change comes later (in fact it changes the night of the race) so we will be given an extra hour of light at the end of the day - if everything goes perfect I should be finishing between 7 and 8pm.  Any time before 9 and I'll be thrilled.  And of course, just finishing is a feat in itself!
I hope delta lets me carry on both my carry on sized pieces on tomorrow!
And that's that!  Next post will probably be my race report unless I try to post from my Ipad before the big day!  So if you think about it on Saturday, send me some good vibes as I complete my journey to becoming an Ironman!

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