Friday, 6 March 2009
the calm before....
its a very unique feeling on the day before Ironman; an addictive mixture of terror and excitement. Simultaniously desperately not wanting to have to go through with it , and desperate for the start time to arrive. Handing over gear bags and feeling utterly helpless; nothing now can be done to improve your preparations - that part is already decided. Combined with the weight of total responsiblity for your performance the following day. Like a magical power that you're waiting to use for the first time. What will it do? Will you be able to control it?
When ever i think back over previous races, recalling the highlights for motivation on weary grey day, or try to explain to other why it is that i love this sport it will tend to be a moment from the race when i felt good, the pride of seeing my family and club mates out there supporting or the feeling of satisfied relaxation, and celebrations after the event that come to mind. These are all wonderful aspects of the sport, and far more tangeable than the mixed up rush that I'm experiencing today. But I'm wondering if, really, this is what it is all about. there is no other way i know to achieve this feeling - you just cant fake it and there is no other way to get here - you HAVE to have invested the work into training, or there'd be nothing at stake. You HAVE to believe that as long as you get it right on the day, your WILL achieve your goal - otherwise the prize is meaningless. It amused Mike, one of the Epic Campers (who is also racing tomorrow), when i quite matter-of-fact told him that i should expect to win my age group here. Sounds rather arrogant, i admit - but taking into account the huge advantage that i have had over most age group women with 3 months training full time in the sun, on top of a track record of wins at 3/5 of all races and 100% podium finishes - i'd be embarrassed not to. especially now its been stated out in the open!!
That's still not to say that I'm 100% confident of pulling it off. Its early in the year and there have been no B races to test my speed or fitness. My swimming seems to have gotten slower and slower and all my cycling has been with guys and girls so much stronger than me there has been no real way to measure strength there...and i've hardly been doing any running at all since arrival in Christchurch. What's more, i know of at least one very serious challenger in my age group; Jenny and i have trained and talked training together a bit over the last year. She is one awesome athlete who, no matter how limited her training has been by her work, injury or other commitments, always manages to raise it in a race. It's the first time we've raced against each other (the first of 3 occasions this year!) and i have to admit that i'll be most focused on chasing her down!!
Concerning race stratergy, Scott has given some interesting advice. Rather than switching to Steven's flashy Xentis quad spoke race wheels (since the poor guy has no use for them he has been very generously loaning parts of his bike and race kit out to other triathletes in need), Scott recommended keeping my very normal wheels and with the powertap set-up. His advice was that this race could be a great learning experience; the data will be useful for future training, and i should use it during the race to cap my efforts on the bike. So, he says ride patiently in order to digest my fuel and pull off a 'great run - not just a good run, but a great run'.
This gives an exciting new perspective to my race. Having never ridden patiently whatsoever and had good runs, I'm now excited to see the outcome if i get of the bike and set off up the road at the pace required for a 'great run'. The obvious risk is blowing up - but the idea of a 3:15 or faster, on this course is so appealing that it has to be worth a try. At the end of the day (with Kona already bagged) apart from letting Mike down by not living up to my bold race predictions ;o) the learning may even be better than winning - and the greater risk makes it even more fun.
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