Monday, September 29, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Race Report - The Day Before the Race (Saturday)

This is the second part of my race report series from my first Half Ironman. You can read the first part by clicking on this link

After a rather restful night's sleep on Friday night, I woke to my alarm at 5 AM. I like to get up early the day before a race to prepare for race morning and so that I will want to sleep early that night. This theoretically works! :)

According to my training schedule, I needed to do a short bike and run the day before the race to loosen up the muscles and check my bike out. I was really feeling uneasy about riding on the roads, though. A local Atlanta man was hit and killed in New Orleans while he was riding his bike the day before his 70.3 and his brother in law with him was hit and severely injured. This was fresh on my mind as the brother in law recently ran again for the first time with a local group. I just didn't feel safe.

So I did the next best thing:

Yes, I know I said pictures would be in another post, but would you have believed me if you hadn't seen it??
Yes, I set up my trainer in the parking lot behind my car right as the sun was coming up in Augusta! Crazy? Yeah, totally! Did I get some weird looks? Oh you bet! LOL But I was safe and that's all that matters!

When I got done with the ride, I put the trainer away, put the bike back in my room, and got my running shoes on. I only had to run a mile so I decided to run up to where the finish line was set up! It was so exciting to see the finish line there - smaller than one at Disney, but so incredible. I had seen these Ironman finish lines in videos before! And I was going to be crossing under it myself!?! Amazing!

Got back to the room, showered, and still had some time to kill before transition opened for bike check in. I went down to the breakfast buffet in the hotel which looked promising but proved disappointing. There were omelets but they had fake cheese on them. There was sausage but it was turkey sausage. And there was a pancake making machine but it was not working while I was there. The orange juice was good, though!

I had decided to walk my bike up to transition so I didn't need to move my car. I was afraid the parking lot was going to fill up quickly with athletes arriving on Saturday. I decided not to ride up there due to my aforementioned fear of injury, so I walked slowly with my bike. I also wanted to time the walk for race morning. It took me about 20 minutes of a slow and easy pace to walk up there. It was fairly empty when I arrived and I got Mike the Bike racked and ready to go. A volunteer was nice enough to ask me if I'd like her to take my picture with my bike! :)

After that, I scoped out the transition area for Swim In, Bike Out, Bike In, and Run Out. I mentally rehearsed my path and my strategy! ;) Then I walked slowly back to the hotel, stopping at the convenience store for a celebratory Pibb and a Snickers for post race! Then I put up my feet, watched chick flicks on TV, and waited for mom and dad to arrive! I even took a power nap which was surprisingly refreshing!

Mom and Dad arrived just in time for us to walk to the finish line area for a meet-up/picture from one of my triathlon Facebook groups! The energy was fantastic and it was so nice to put faces to names! Then we walked the few more blocks to Mellow Mushroom so I could have my traditional cheese pizza for dinner. Since we were there early enough, there was no wait and the noise level was low. Saturday was all about avoiding lots of stress and hype and commotion. Lots of resting and relaxing and focusing mentally! The pizza was delicious, as were the pretzel rolls we had for an appetizer! LOL

With full bellies, we walked slowly back to the hotel room. On the way back, we stopped off at the 5th Street Bridge so Mom and Dad could see where they needed to watch the swim start. The river looked beautiful, and my Dad actually saw an alligator in the water! That was certainly, um, reassuring! I assured myself that the gator would be full before my wave start which was an hour after the first one! ;)

Back at the hotel, I packed up everything for race morning and applied my TriTats! Then I sat down with my Mom's tablet and played Facebook games since the Free Wifi wasn't working! LOL There's no better way to relax before a big even than by Monster Busting.

I set my alarm for 4 AM and did my best to get some sleep!

Click here to go directly to part 3 of this race report series!

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