The bike is dropped at the reservoir. The run bag is at T2. The items on my three-day pre-race checklist have been checked.
Now, I wait.
I wait knowing that in 24 hours, I'll still be on the bike for up to another 30 minutes or so. I wait knowing that in several hours after that, this whole thing will be over for several months. No more races on my calendar until September. Possibly no more Ironmans (unless WTC comes through with an inaugural event in Tahoe or San Luis Obispo) until I qualify by lottery for Kona one day. 70.3 events? Sure! I'm down with that. Full Ironmans...we'll see.
I've found that time, like all the Zipped-out athletes on-site, really does fly in the days and hours leading to an Ironman. There's never enough pre-race time to just chill. And I don't have kids! I so admire the parents here at the hotel who are wearing the blue Ironman participant bracelets while feeding their kids or schlepping them to the pool. Don't tell my wife though, because I also have some sense of hope that if they can do it...maybe I can too?
At Friday at 3 p.m. Utah time, it feels like I've reached the peak of a roller coaster climb. The past few days have moved quickly but efficiently. While I didn't control everything around me, my schedule largely held up and I'm race-ready. But now, now that everything is done the roller coaster is rocketing downward. Hurtling so fast the bolts on the rails feel like they're shaking. Let's hope my bike feels that way with a tailwind tomorrow.
Stop! I just want to savor this moment once more. All day. And never go away. I've written this before and I'll do it again, the moments before an Ironman are just as precious as the experience itself. Something awesome is about to happen tomorrow and the anticipation makes me filled with adrenaline. Perhaps I like the adrenaline rush more than the sport. The thrill of the challenge, the idea of the challenge, the feel of the challenge -- more than the challenge itself.
This notion hits me hard. Because it means whether there are three Ironmans or 30, it's the adrenaline rush that needs feeding, not necessarily the triathlon bug. Though I love triathlon and will continue to race as long as there's this kind of manic desire to see how far, how fast, how strong I can go.
Before I sign off until after the race, I gotta point out that I don't recall feeling this ... explosive before in my previous two Ironmans. I'm surging with energy. While I want to enjoy the moment of peace, my body is screaming to start the race NOW. It's such a dichotomy. I feel like I'm in one of those shredded wheat cereal TV commercials where one side of the cereal piece is all business (the side that knows I should be relaxing and stay in the now) and the other is all sugar (START THE GUN NOW!!!).
Oh, sleeping will be fun tonight.
Let's do this. But let's savor this just a bit more first.