Friday, September 9, 2016

How Long will I last??

With the decision whether or not to start Ironman Boulder out of the way, the only remaining question for me about the race was "How long would I last?"  

I thought of doing small things like, do I post on Facebook that I'm doing the race.  I was thinking about creating and Over / Under on how many minutes or miles passes before I graciously bow out with back troubles.  But I didn't want to make a big deal of entering this race, particularly since I had no clue if or how long I would last and I certainly did not want any pity if I did have to back out.  Maybe no one would really notice I have entered and I'm participating.

I thought that this was my 1st Boulder Ironman without my Dad here to cheer me on and give me high fives along the route.  I didn't want to ask family to come out for the race.

I've been fortunate to have family fly out to support me from New York each of the 2 Boulder IMs and loved having them out heere with me and listening to their stories of the day afterwards.  I laughed for hours last year as my Mom & Dad, Jessica, Loren and Karen shared stories of their day.

I thought,  I didn't decide to do the race till a few days prior and my family is coming out for the wedding just two months.  I can't ask them to hop in a plane on the drop of a dime to see me race particularly if I didn't know if I was to even finish.  Besides that I didn't even tell my local friends, many of whom stood outside for 10+ hours over the last two years cheering me on. I thought to myself that besides Jessica out there, I was alone.  I would start the race alone as she had previous obligations for the morning of the race.   I knew I'd see her out on the course somewhere but it was still an odd feeling racing in my hometown without any of my family physically here to cheer me on and wish me luck at the starting line, like I have had in years past.

I thought that with my 20 pound weight gain, there was no way I could fit into my new 303 Triathlon kit without offending little kids, older ladies and just about everyone else along the course.

I thought that while everyone else was tapering, I was still trying to build up a few hours in a row of training without pain.  Two weeks of consistent training before an Ironman doesn't make you feel like you can smash down doors but it did help to reinforce my game plan of smart race management and that maybe just maybe I could pull this off.

I thought that I had a plan that I would set out on the course and somewhere on the bike, my buddy Harvey would catch up to me.  At this point we would just hang out and enjoy one another company and help each other through to the finish line.  That was until Harvey mentioned to me 7 days before the race he decided not to do it that his head wasn't into doing a full 140.6.

I then thought that we were going to give this bad boy a spin and see how long we could hang on.

Registration day came and Jessica and I set out for the High School to get me all signed up and ready to go.  In and out I thought.  No one needs to see me there.  I'll be in stealth mode.  I made arrangements to meet up with Patricia as she had race number tattoos that I could adhere.  When I saw her and gave her a hug and kiss, I thought that this race could also be about hugs and kisses. When my family has come to the race I always stop what I am doing and hug and kiss each of them as a sign of thanks and gratitude that they have traveled across the states to be out there for me.  So Patricia and I decided that a million hugs and kisses would be needed to be given out on race day.  As Jess and I walked through the race expo and registration,  we ran into Coach EK and teammates Kenny, Liz & Sasha.  Kenny & Liz were going for it.  Trying to qualify for Kona.  I have mad respect for both of them as athletes and people.

I thought, heck I am just trying to get through the swim alive.
I thought that my cover was blown as too many people I know were at the expo and the face book posts began.

The next day Jessica and I went back into Boulder for all the mandatory gear drops.  It was at the reservoir where I ran into Jen for the 1st time on the weekend and I continued to work on my hug and kiss goal.  I had a brief reunion at the bike drop with Michael Stone and ran into another EK athlete Conrad.

I put Bella down for the night gave her kisses goodbye and for a good nights rest and Jessica and I headed back home to Arvada.  I was breaking with a lot of traditions that I usually do before an Ironman during this registration process my prerace dinner was not going to be one of them.  Although we did not go out to a restaurant for our meal as we normally do, I think we upgraded this tradition by making homemade sauce to go with the rigatoni and vegetables and garlic bread.  Jess and I avoided the craziness of downtown Boulder and just enjoyed the mellow night together with great food and of course a nice glass (or two) of a primo Chianti Classico Reserva as well.

By 10:30pm, I was all body marked, packed and in bed.  Ready for a few hours of shut eye.  I slept great and got in my 5 hours that I had wanted.  Trying not to wake Jess up, I ate, gathered my stuff, went in for a kiss goodbye and headed out the door.  I got a great parking spot by the High School and went to drop my special needs bags off.  In the distance I could hear a familiar voice giving directions to racers.  It was Patricia and I went in for another hug and kiss.  Heck a million is a lot to try and get during an ironman event!   It was great to see her to start the day and just a prelude of what my day would become.

I made my way to the busses and got aboard.  I was joined by a fellow NYer and we made idle chit chat on the ride up to the reservoir.  It was his first IM and his brother lives out in Boulder so they thought this would be an ideal race for him.  All in all it was a mellow ride as the sun started to rise over the reservoir.

My timing was pretty good as I had more than enough to load the hydration and nutrition on Bella, check her out mechanically, put a little more air in the tires and kiss her goodbye till later.

I ran into my girl Jen again for more hugs and kisses and worked my way up towards the line of athletes getting ready to enter the water.  I spent some chill time with fellow 303er Bill prior to the Cannon going off.  Like many of my friends/trainingmates, Bill was shooting for a Kona spot as well.  One last final check.  I dropped the kids off at the pool and headed down to the water.  Cap off, sing the National Anthem and run into another fellow 303er Nicole.  A few moments later Dana is also there.  It's like a 303 party!!!  The race is moving along as I make my way down to the waters edge for my waves start.  One last check of about 50 on my Garmin watch we are all set to go.

There is the Race Director Dave, I give a high five and congratulate him on his new baby and into the water I go.

Back/spine don't fail me now......I say Nokk three times to keep the Demons at bay and I get into my rythm.  The Drive for Five has begun.   #Letsdothis  #WarriorMode

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