I decided to break this into two segments – the days leading up to the race (Race Weekend) and then Race Day (swim, T1, bike, T2, run, post-race, post-race day). There’s a lot to say and I don’t want to have a ridiculous amount posts so bear with me. It’s long. If you want the cliff-notes version of the below novel, check out yesterday’s post =)
My husband, sons, and I made our way up to the Adirondack region late Wednesday night (boys’ bedtime) and arrived at our friends’ home just after 1am. The house could not have been more perfect. I mean, what is there not to love about waking up to this view for a few days?
Although the temps at night dropped down to the mid-40s (!!) and only got up to low/mid-70s during the day, the lake was really warm (mid-70s maybe?). The early mornings were eerily beautiful because of the mist coming off of the warm water.
We spent the next couple of days not doing a whole lot – hanging out at the lake, feeding the ducks, reading, relaxing in the house, doing a bit of sight-seeing in Long Lake (the town where our friends’ home was). It was tough for me to not do more because all I wanted to do was swim in the lake, walk around town and play with the boys, but I forced myself to stay off my feet as much as I could (which is fairly tough with two little boys under 3). My husband and I have talked about vacationing at the beach every year with the boys, but after some time at the lake, we now think we may want a lake vacation instead. It was so incredibly relaxing and GORGEOUS.
My training plan had called for a few workouts that week, but I decided to rest Wednesday and Thursday. I think I was walking the fine line between being burned out and peaking for the race. I felt fatigued despite being 10 days into my taper. I was tired going up and down the stairs. My legs felt heavy. And when I did bike or run, I was moving much slower than I wanted. So I made the decision that rest was the best option for me – physically and mentally.
I did a short 750 yd swim + 3 mile run on Friday which felt GREAT. My legs finally felt loose and ready to race. I returned to the house after the run with a huge smile on my face. That was the first time in a few weeks where I felt ready.
I left my husband and boys Friday afternoon to make my way to Lake Placid to check in and attend the athlete dinner and mandatory briefing. It was about an hour away and I was happy to have some quiet time to visualize the course, think about the race, my goals and everything that still needed to happen from that moment until race morning. I love being around my children, but man, it was nice to have some alone time.
The moment I reached Lake Placid, I could literally feel the excitement. There were hundreds of people walking around, biking, swimming, running – all in preparation for the big day. But, I have to admit, at that moment, I really loved the fact that we were staying away from town – when I was at the lake, I was able to almost forget about Sunday and not get so worked up and nervous. I think seeing all the other athletes and hearing nothing but IM chatter would have had me on edge and I would have been a nervous wreck.
After picking up my race bags, cap, and number at the check-in, I made a quick stop at the expo to get my free-backpack (all entrants got one) and kill the 15-20 minutes I had until I went to the Welcome Dinner.
The best part of the day was getting to spend some time with my friend, Robin, who was also participating in her first Ironman. She is a SUPER FAST runner and triathlete (5:13 half IM!!) and we spent most of dinner chatting about plans/goals for Sunday and the foreseeable future. She answered a few questions I had about transitions and clothing and put my mind at ease about Sunday. It was just what I needed: relaxing, calming, and fun. Mike Reilly, the voice of the Ironman, hosted the dinner/presentation which was entertaining and emotional. I got choked up with tears on more than one occasion. And the dinner was held in Herb Brooks Arena – we were sitting on the spot where the Miracle on Ice took place. Pretty inspiring.
My parents and younger sister arrived late Friday night (around 1am) and my other sister and her family (husband, daughter, son) arrived Saturday afternoon. It was SO fun to have them at the cabin with us. Being around the little ones helped keep my mind off of what I was going to do the following day.
I finished packing my gear into my transition and special needs bags early morning.
After that, my family and I all made our way down to the lake to swim and relax until it was time for my husband and I to head back to Lake Placid to check my bike and drop my gear bags.
We returned to the cabin early afternoon (2pm). I didn’t get much sleep the previous few nights (my youngest has been waking up a few times each night) and I felt tired – my eyelids felt so heavy and the thought of nap sounded amazing. I tried to nap twice that afternoon but the nerves and excitement got in the way.
We had a yummy home-cooked meal for dinner: steak, grilled BBQ chicken, sweet potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese, and eggplant parmigiano. I didn’t really carbo-load for the Ironman. For the past few months, anytime I would go heavy with carbs, I would have stomach pain and bloating. I am not sure if I am gluten intolerant or what, but I have found that I feel better on rides and runs when I go heavier on the protein and limit myself to a small sweet potato. No huge dish of pasta or bread for me.
After dinner, we went to the local ice cream shop to get ice cream. I so wanted a huge cone but held off (I have to be careful with how much dairy I consume as well – BOO). However, I did manage to eat some of my son’s so it wasn’t a total waste for me =)
I had wanted to be in bed early on Saturday but I didn’t get the boys to sleep until after 9pm (I nurse my youngest to sleep and my oldest wanted me to snuggle with me in the bed which I was very willing to do because my heart was already hurting at the thought of being away from them for 15+ hours the next day). So bedtime was much closer to 10. And bedtime is a loose term since I didn’t fall asleep right away. I was so tired but I just couldn’t will myself to sleep. And of course, my youngest had an awful night’s sleep – we were up from 1-2 with him. Made the wakeup time not very pleasant.
Next post will be RACE day =)
Have you been to the Adirondack region?
Do you sleep well the night before a race?