Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I am racing naked...

Naked is a strange athlete with no electronic devices..GPS's. I've decided, after speaking to Coach Michael that perhaps all the worry and stress I conjure up if I am not riding fast enough on the bike in my mind, would be counter productive. So no swim Garmin, no bike Garmin. I may wear my run watch, haven't decided yet. It helps me "do the plan" of run/slow run every 4 minutes. I think I ran without any time keepers the last IM I did and ended up one minute off my PR. So maybe wouldn't be a bad thing...hmmm..decisions..decisions..leaving the bike Garmin home takes a huge weight off my is a very expensive piece of equipment to put in others' hands to transport to the finish line..

2 days to go...the training is done, the outfits decided on (comfort over beauty won). I feel a bit of fleeting nervousness but mostly anxious about my body being sore in different spots.. Which is typical Taper symptoms. The goal now is to eat healthy, rest a lot and try and stay calm..

I didn't sleep well last night but did the night before. So good sleep every other night will have to do. The respiratory infection symptoms are mostly gone, except for the occasional annoying cough. Yes, I will be that person hacking on the bike/'s really not that bad and I am so much better today, it's amazing. 

This past week hasn't been big in the training department. "Just enough to keep your body from going into shutdown mode" Coach Michael says....A few times this week I felt like how the hell am I going to do an Ironman on Sunday? I feel weak, heavy, bloated...Again these are normal thoughts in the week prior to the race. I just had to go back and figure out how many miles we have trained in the last 4 months. The hours and hours of preparation have to have been doing something, right? 
Since December 1st we have:

Swam: 72,768 yards 
Biked: 1850 miles
Ran: 290 miles

These are estimates, I am sure we have laid down more yardage/miles, I don't always have my GPS on, especially in the many, many bricks we have done (run off the bike). This we have been doing almost every time we biked since here in Australia. I feel ready for the garranteed feeling of heavy legs as I embark upon the marathon. If all goes well, all these bricks will help minimize the pain of shifting gears from bike to run on Sunday. 

Monday night we swam with the Jelly Fish of Elwood Beach. We got to the practice site and met our coach. There were 5 of us plus Michael, the coach. He gave us the plan "swim out to that bouy, then stop and wait for the rest." OK, the water was rough, not as rough as some swims but I was diving into swells much of the 300 or so yards to the bouy. I started to notice what I thought to be pieces of trash, plastic bags below me. Wow, a lot of trash in this bay today. It was only an occasional "bag" so I didn't think much of it, or I was in denial.. I noticed people were stopped halfway out and talking. Maybe someone was having trouble? Anyway got to the bouy and H said to me "Did you see all the Jelly Fish?" All of a sudden, those trash bags had new meaning. Wtf?? OK, I can swim with an occasional. Jelly Fish, I'm a big girl. Gotta be prepared for anything race day, right? Toughen up Debi! Michael gave us our next set wihich was to swim horizontal to the shore, (we were pretty far out there) about 250 yards to the next bouy. Then I saw them, dozens and dozens of Jelly Fish swimming quite near the surface. I tried not to freak out. I closed my eyes but then looked up and I was not headed for the bouy but out to sea. So had to keep my eyes open at least a bit. It was discussed at the stop that these Jelly Fish stings were not that bad, maybe a little zing for a bit. Still, that was not so reassuring as I made my way to the next bouy. The waves were now rolling in from my right side, I was trying to breathe on my left to avoid swallowing sea water, trying to stay calm because of all the JF and in my mind say F#%*k this! We turned around and swam back to the 1st bouy, where Coach tells us we are doing this loop 2 more times. My rational mind overcame my toughness and I said "I'm out!" Hartley wanted to stay, I said that was fine, have fun with these fishies! I started to swim with the current back to the beach and the Jelly Fish multiplied. It seemed like they were in schools, like dozens bunched together. I shortened my stroke to try and avoid them. All of a sudden I batted something hard. It felt like very strong rubber that I was catching with my stroke. "Holy F#%*k-I just smacked a Jelly Fish!" To say I was creeped out, is an understatement. My heart was racing and I have never swam a few hundred yards so fast in my life! As I got very close to shore the Jellies were gone, just like that. I guess they are deeper water JF. I took a huge sigh of relief and coasted into shore. If this had been a race, I would have sucked it up but since it wasn't and I didn't have to, I opted out early. H and one other guy stayed out with the Coach for another 30 minutes. Wow, my husband is tough! He ended up with 2 stings, that really weren't that bad, he said. 
You decide, would you swim with hundreds of these suckers? I think most people would say "Hell no!"

I digress..we checked in at the Registration at Ironman Village yesterday. H and I had a plan-to buy Ironman Melbourne bike race shorts and tops. We found those and much, much more. Sticker shock was abundant! Now I have to finish the race you see, because of all the IMM stuff I bought and well, it will be incentive since I wouldn't wear the stuff if I don't do the's a rule...well, my personal rule anyway..when I am out on the run course, tempted to walk, I'll remember the mucho bucks I spent on. Ironman gear at the Expo. "Keep going, I bought all that stuff to wear so go!" Financial incentive is always a plus..

After said shopping experience we took our many bags of race paraphernalia, shopping goodies and new mid size backpacks they gave to registrants of the race and took a bus home. We rested a bit and them met with Coach Michael to discuss "The Plan" for race day. Michael is so awesome. He answered every question, gave us suggestions for race effort and encouragement. We really got lucky finding him as a young mentor here in Australia. Now I have a plan, if only I can remember it! In the blurrriness and excitement of race day, it is really hard to remember these things especially since my aging memory isn't so great to begin with. Good thing they have people of the course telling us where to go! The run is from point to point-Frankston to St. Kilda:

Not much elevation there and the run is along the beautiful shore of Port Phillip. Not a bad place to get it done! Last night we did our last 40 minute run. It felt pretty easy, backache still there. Last night I wasn't feeling so great so went to bed early. This morning I feel much better, the aches seem to be resolving, as expected.

We are spending the night Saturday in Frankston, where the swim and bike will be plus both transitions. The Finish Line in St. Kilda is in a huge park area, which will apparently be swarmed with spectators to cheer us in. Here is us at the Finish Line (well, not really yet but this is our goal):
No cameras waiting for us on Sunday! There is however, a webcam on the website that shows each and everyone who crosses this Finish Line. Right down to Midnight, the cutoff time for the race. Hopefully, I will be in way before that! Unfortunately for our kids, when I want to finish (around 13:30 hours) it's about 9:00 PM local time, which is 4:00 AM New Mexico time and maybe 6:00 AM for my friends in the East? At any rate, I am really planning on doing well and getting a PR. I will race the plan, implement the nutrition schedule and see how it all falls into place. Anything can happen race day but I have had 2 of my slowest hardest races in Australia (IMWA '09 &. Geelong 70.3 last month).Third time is a charm, right? 

Today we are relaxing, then going to turn our bikes in to be transfered to Franskton and meeting some of our Aussie T.E.A.M. members for dinner. We head to Frankston tomorrow for final gear check in. Will survey the transition area and that's it. Sunday AM we will jump into the ocean and have a fun day! The Race Day weather forecast (there are many different forecasts depending on what weather site I go to) I am choosing to look at says:
Cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s and lows in the low 50s.
But I know better..anything is possible weather wise here on the ocean so bring it!