‘Twas the Night Before Ironman…
I’m sitting here, on the eve of my first Ironman, in my Normatec boots (aka my space pajamas, as my BIL would call them), and figured I owe you guys an update! After spending much of 2014 prepping for Ironman Chattanooga, it is finally here.
The work has been done. I spent many hours in the pool, swimming with Wayland Masters, and finally finding some of that sprinter-speed I had years ago. My bike and I bonded over many long hours on the trainer and out on the roads. I ran around our new ‘hood, ticking off miles as I envisioned myself running the Ironman marathon in just a few months…which quickly turned into weeks…then days…
I also got to go to QT2 camp for about a week, up in New Hampshire. It was perfect timing, during the second week of my overload (QT2 term for BIG training weeks before the taper begins), and an invaluable experience as always. Being able to train with and learn from my much more experienced teammates, with little to no outside distractions. Although I came back a bit more bruised and beaten up (thanks to some intense open water swimming and a bike crash), I gained knowledge and experiences I wouldn’t be able to get being home by myself.
A couple of weeks ago, Matt and I packed up the Subaru and headed out to the Finger Lakes, where he grew up and his parents still live. We went to a wedding and then spent the next week and a half there, putting the finishing touches on our training for the race. We got in some great rides (the riding is so nice out there, quiet country roads for miles and miles), and open water swims in Keuka Lake.
Monday, we packed up the car again to continue our adventure to Chattanooga. We arrived on Tuesday after the 13+ hour drive. We are staying with a great homestay, up on Signal Mountain, which is just north of Chattanooga. The city seems alive and excited about hosting this race. We got to ride some of the course on Thursday, spent some time hanging out at the QT2 Systems and QR tents at the expo yesterday, and enjoyed some pancakes the QR sponsored QT2 breakfast this morning.
How do I feel? Well, a healthy mix of nerves and excitement. Of course, I’m nervous about the unknown…being my first Ironman, I don’t know what it feels like to be at mile 60 of the bike and only be halfway, or at mile 16 of the Ironman marathon. But, I know what I need to do out there. I’ve done the work, and it’s time to show it off. I know exactly what I need to eat and drink at every moment of the race. I have the tools to keep my mental state positive and focused. If I follow the plan and do all the things right I have control over, I will be able to race to my best, right now. I know I have a TON to learn about racing the Ironman, and whether I have a great race or not, I’m taking this as a learning experience and stepping stone to future success.
What makes this race even more special is the people I get to share this experience with. Matt – my boyfriend, best friend, and favorite travel companion – is also racing, and I can’t wait to see him tear it up on this course. He’s got 8 Ironmans under his belt, so he’s been able to help me with all the little details to get ready. My parents made the long drive down from Boston (stopping along the way to see the Civil War sights!), and I’m excited to share a little bit of what triathlon and Ironman is all about. QT2 has a big group down here, including my coach, Tim, and QT2 coach and founder, Jesse. These guys know their stuff, and are the reason I feel confident and ready going into this Ironman.
Also, I’m really excited to share that I’ve raised $610 for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, who have a large presence at the race as well. I’m still a little short of my goal of $1,000, so head over to my personal fundraising site if you’d like to donate!
So, we’ve trained. Rested. Carbed up. And ready to tackle the 144.6 miles tomorrow! Good luck to everyone racing, and thanks everyone near and far for the support! Here we go!