Thursday, November 18, 2010

The army is on the move

When I was packing to drive to Tempe, I felt like a military logistics officer trying to move an army from one battlefield to another. I had my lists that I had worked on for months and I checked stuff off as I packed it and checked it again, just to be sure. I ended up bringing:

1) one enormous suitcase with street clothes for me and my family (so they don't have to check anything in at the airport)

2) a transition bag with all the stuff I'll be putting in my race day bags

3) my gym bag with all the clothes I'll wear during Ironman plus extra workout clothes and workout paraphernalia

4) a bag of sports nutrition

5) a bag of snacks and protein supplements

6) a bag of physical therapy tools (The Stick, a foam roller, etc) plus all my sports bottles that didn't fit anywhere else

7) my bike

8) my wetsuit

9) a small cooler of things like string cheese and Fuze

I still forgot stuff. Nothing I forgot was on my list though. I forgot my camera (must have taken it out of my purse for some reason and not put it back), my SVTC visor (okay, that was on my list, but I couldn't find it and then I forgot I hadn't packed it with the others), my softball (a recent PT toy addition), my reading glasses (should have been on the list but weren't) and a special surprise for my kids that I'm not going to mention here in case they actually read my blog.

I have noticed that triathlon seems to require a lot of equipment. Multiple that by some large number and you'll get an idea of what an Ironman requires. Though, if you did one in your backyard where you stayed in your own home, it would help cut down on some of it.

The Team Mac army of one arrived in Tempe yesterday, unpacked and went grocery shopping. Today was the start of our engagement. I checked in, got my goodie bag, timing chip, race numbers, etc. That went fast. Body marking was slow. Very slow. I wouldn't have done if, if I had somewhere else to be

But we got those cool numbers they stamp on you and not some guy marking us with a Sharpie. I love those things. I feel like a pro or like I'm racing Kona with my stamped-on numbers! Speaking of the pros, I saw a bunch of them checking in as I was checking in. No one I knew by sight though. Also, they looked kind of nervous and that made me nervous. Checking in makes it all so much more real.

At some point we met up with various people we were supposed to meet up with, helped my friend Cee get her bike from TriBike Transport, and then went to check out the transition area.

Because they give out the numbers by age, with all the men going before all the women, I have one of the last numbers. (There are only about 20 women here who are in an older age group than I am.) So my transition rack is near the end but not anywhere memorable. My bag spot, on the other hand is perfect. It's the last one in the row and in the middle row. I should have no issues finding my swim-to-bike and bike-to-run bags.

After checking all this out and getting a late lunch, we finally got out on our planned bike ride. Cee and I wanted to understand how to pace ourselves on this course that is so much flatter than what we are used to. We went out with someone I "met" via iamtri, the Ironman social network. She smoked us and soon left us far behind. We had fun anyway though. I always enjoy biking with Cee.

I think the bike course is going to be fairly easy and I think beating 7 hours is realistic now. We didn't push at all and still had times that would extrapolate to slightly faster times than I had been predicting for myself.

In the end, it's going to depend on the winds and whether it rains. I think rain will actually help me as I like to bike in the rain, but it will slow down the times a bit as will heavier winds. I just think those things will slow me down a lot less than many in the field who hate to bike in the rain and don't train anywhere particularly windy. At least that is my hope. If we have to have bad conditions, I want something good to come of it!

Based on talking to guys in the body marking line, I think I'm going to go back to my original plan of doing the whole thing in my tri kit. I really just don't care enough to want to spend the time changing into bike and run-specific clothes. I know some people get refreshed by changing, but I get stressed if I spend a lot of time in transition. I'm going to pack the clothing changes anyway so I can change my mind when I get there. After all, I've never done one of these things before so I have to be prepared to not feel the way I normally do.

I think it's time for more foam rolling and then bed. Until tomorrow...
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