These are the most anxious of moments. Twelve hours from now I'll be setting up my transition area, preparing to race at Breath of Life in Ventura. I wish it were here now. I guess that's a good thing, right? Energetic anticipation. A little bit of nerves. A lot of excitement.
It's funny that just a few days ago I was freaking out. I still am just a little, but more like I did at a soccer match as a kid when I had a bizarre and sudden urge to pee seconds before the whistle blew to start the game. Let's just get this thing going!
I toured the course after picking up my race packet this afternoon. The good news is that I rode most of this bike course almost a year ago, during my first Olympic triathlon -- Strawberry Fields. I think back to all the progress I've made since then, and all the mistakes I made during that race. Well, primarily one involving eating and drinking too much Gatorade on the bike. (I think I ate two Clif bars and drank two bottles of Gatorade!) That led to a cramp-filled run that took all my grit to finish, mercifully at three hours on the nose.
I'm hoping to hit 2:30:00 tomorrow, or perhaps even faster. Anything below 2:44:00 will be my personal best.
I'm going to ignore my Garmin, though I'll have the stopwatch feature turned on. I'm going to swim however I feel, bike however I feel, and run as sustainably hard as I can. Heart-rate be damned. Though I will try for a negative split to satisfy Coach Gerardo's desires.
The bike course should be favorable, save for some cross winds and one small hill we'll see three times. The wind will blow west to east, and the course features three laps heading east, south, west, and north. I'll pace myself accordingly, and if the "race police" aren't looking, maybe I'll tuck in to the left or right of a few riders to let them absorb the winds and let me draft just a bit.
Shh, don't tell anyone.
Now, as the day turns to night, it's time to eat dinner -- Stephanie is cooking an organic pasta meal -- and begin my packing ritual. I like to get everything in order, in its place, the night before a race. Just like in real life for me. I'm a "nester" -- everything needs to be in its place before I can relax. Tomorrow morning, I just want to pick up my bags and head for the door. Well, after a hot wake-up shower. I still need to shave too -- my upper body only. I'm not quite ready for the legs yet, though I probably will trim them at one point before my first Half-Ironman with enough time to spare to let the hairs grow back a little.
What more is there?
Nothing but to rest. And to wait.
Two things I'm not very good at.
145 days and counting.