Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mingling in Mad-Town: Ironman Weekend Part 1

7pm on Wednesday September 4th, 2013: I was sitting my dad's dining room table on my laptop putting together bits and pieces for the big day tomorrow. Confirming hotel accommodations: check (won't make that mistake again!) and most importantly, DO I HAVE EVERYTHING? I laid out anything and everything, and lined up Gwen (who now had spiffy new tires to match the color, I mean her name does mean: Green With ENvy ;)) I would be bringing with me and per the advice of the coach lady, "Be like Santa and check through it twice....and then a third time just because". Everything was in order, now all I had to do was get through the next day and I would be ready to roll on to Madison.

2:45pm Thursday September 5th, 2013: My kids had all made it on to the bus and I was grabbing my bag. I had to restrain myself from sprinting to the car, as my coworkers wished me luck. By the time I got back to my dad's house I had a written check list of everything I had to do before getting on the road by 4. Pick up rented car, check. Pack car, check. Say bye to dad and off I went! I didn't make it up to Madison until close to 10pm, which is after my bed time and explains my passenger side nap! But since I used the same hotel the entire time I was training, the desk attendants greeted me in a familiar fashion, which was nice to come in to. I unpacked everything in the room, like I usually do, and hit the hay, the next day was going to be a little crazy.

Up at 7, my body doesn't need an alarm any more, and I mean I'm in Madison on Ironman weekend, how does anyone sleep? Actually I didn't have a problem with this all weekend and tended to opt for it. But this morning I made my way into Madison (oh right because I was staying in Middleton) to check in and grab stuff from the expo. Ironman check in is so different from half Ironman check in, it took a bit longer. So I got in what looked like a never ending line that roped around hallways and down an escaldaor. First task, fill out the info page, then get weighed (uhg I hated that part because I was heavier with the water weight!) I actually texted the coach lady and she said that's normal. What's not so normal is how i fluctuated from 139-160lbs throughout training :/ Anyways, then I met my guy, you know, the guy who checks you in and gets you so excited that you willingly paid nearly $700 to go 140 miles. His name was John and he knew almost immediately that this was my first IM, it must have been in my giggly smile or the fact that I asked why he was writing my number all weird on the cap. If you haven't seen them write the number on a swim cap for an IM check it out, it blew my mind! haha.

So I was OFFICIALLY registered, no turning back! I skimmed through the expo and picked up a t-shirt, coffee mug, and a pair of sunglasses since mine had cracked :( But as soon as I was done I skiddaddled out of there. I align a lot with my coach's philosophy on race weekend, she says that she likes to get in, get out, and get on with resting. I'm very much the same, and I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the sun and to be quite honest, I met up with some friends but a lot of me just wanted to lounge around the hotel, eat food and mentally get in the zone! And I got all of that. There were a few places I know I HAD to go to before I left Madison and I needed to have some spotted cow! The next morning I got up and went back into Madison. I needed to check in my bike but I also NEEDED to get a few scones from Lazy Jane's, because you can't say you've fueled unless you've eaten two of these bad boys! They quite literally melt in your mouth, at about 600 calories each! ....And I got three of them, don't worry I had a plan for these ;)

Into transition I went to drop off Gwen. The Madison transitions are set up very differently from other IMs, the changing areas are all inside! So Gwen was all set up on the wrack. I always have a moment of separation anxiety when I leave my bike over night but I know she will do me well in a few hours. Now downstairs to put my T1/T2 bags. I didn't put much in them, my coach told me people can get out of control with all the stuff n junk they put in them so I kept it simple. Once I got everything on the need-to-do list done I headed out. There was a lot of pent up energy in there and I was feeding off of it. Back to the hotel for a while to rest and then head over to the Olive Garden to meet up with one of my favorite triathlete friends Dave. Dave and I got way back to when I was working with him at the YMCA in college, he was the first person I knew to do an Ironman. And he invited me to the honorary pre-race racine dinner. So needless to say it was beyond wonderful to be sharing my "last supper" with him. He was up there because he was volunteering, along with a few others I met, and the lovely Stacy, who would come to be of great help to me in a few hours :)

We talking a little bit of strategy and joked about some of the people we saw this weekend, I sucked down a whole lot of water and a bowl of spaghetti before we said our goodbyes and I received a whole lot of well wishes. It was time to head back to the hotel for the evening as my 7pm curfew was quickly approaching and I told myself I was going to be in bed by 8. I've never had a problem falling asleep so I was out shortly after hitting the pillow but it wouldn't be long before my first alarm would be going off....

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