May 12th marked the start of the first Ironman Week of my 2014 season. It's familiar territory for me, the week spent at a race venue, awaiting the start of one of the toughest days in my year with an equal eagerness to get out there and put the hard training into practice, and to be on the other side of the finish line and able to relax!
This will the Ironman number 25 for me - and my 5th time racing in Lanzarote, the scene of my Iron-distance debut as an age grouper in 2007, and also of my debut racing in the Pro field in 2010, this race has special meaning for me. Having spent many months of the last few years in Lanzarote on training camps though the European winter time, the Island feels much like a second home. The Ironman course a regular training route, the local climatic conditions familiar challenges and there'll be many familiar faces out around me this week belonging to the many acquaintances and friends that I have made during my times here.
With all races, the situation before the race has been different; whether it's a home race, or far away, whether with home-stay or in hotel accommodation, whether I am with company or travelling alone…and as I'v remarked in previous blog -posts this calls for a degree of flexibility when it comes to the pre-race routine and rituals.
There are however, some certain Race -Week characteristics that I have found can be counted upon wherever I go:
You know Ironman is coming up when:
- You spend more time planning, reviewing, and generally fretting over your training plans than actually training
- You'll suffer (and inflict those around you to) 2-3 days of headachy, lethargic, horror as the caffeine works its way out of your system
- Once clear of the caffeine, you'll find yourself napping in the day or going to bed before it's even dark
- After many months of pain free training, you seem to be plagued by at least one very serious niggle which rather than resting, you'll alternate between poking it, fretting, testing it with "just a short one", and rushing round the race site looking for a physio
- After many months of perfectly smooth riding, your bike also seems to have developed multiple creaks, clicks and rattles. You'll spend another couple of days riding, fiddling, and worrying before finally bothering the local bike shop
- You develop an obsessive need for some small item that you didn't bring, and cannot be sourced locally at the race venue. Most excursions out of the hotel will revolve around a search for said item and result in the purchase of several approximately similar, but useless, alternatives
- Whilst you're going out of your mind with boredom not training, everywhere you look there are people, apparently dressed in full race kit, running or cycling around the place. You'll wonder a) should I be out there doing something? and b) why are they in their race kit? (before heading back to the hotel to slag them off in a blog post)
- Most of the conversations that you have will feature the weather forecast for the race day (a topic which seems to transcend all language barriers)
- Shaving your legs counts as "something to do" with the day
- However, you'll have a long list of "things I need to sort out" relating to your race kit that you ought to be doing with all this free time…and you'll probably not do any of it until the night before check-in
- You really fancy a beer, most of the time
I'm sure there's more - tweet 'em to me @jo_carritt (if you are also bored enough!)