Monday, November 5, 2012

Turning Blubber to Iron...Step One: Get Fit

I have signed on the dotted line. I am now an official registrant for Ironman Florida 2013! 

I'll admit, I waivered a bit this weekend after watching the efforts of 2700 athletes battle their way to the finish line of this year's event. The final questions of "why do I want to do this?" and "can I really do this?" went through my mind once more as I saw the faces of many athletes as I volunteered in the T2 women's changing tent and later as I cheered along the run course. But in the end, the positives outweighed the negatives, and the smiles in the finish chute washed away the agonized expressions from my memory, and motivated me that yes I can do this and yes I want to do this!. Seeing people's hard training finally come to fruition seemed to lessen the negative observations and make it all seem worthwhile. 

And so it shall be. November 2, 2013 I shall be a different person ~ mentally, physically, and spiritually. And the process starts today.

Rinny and The Coug
Watching the race process from start to finish, observing my friends preparations and performance, and studying how the athletes made their way along the route - how they transitioned - how they dressed - how they raced - were all a huge part of my race weekend. There were a few highlights however that made it extra special. These included meeting Miranda Carfrae (even though I acted like a complete idiot), watching my friends cross the finish line (some for the first time), and my volunteer experience in the changing tent.

I made many mental notes along the way and learned ways to perform faster and more efficiently:

Pre-Race Lessons:

1) Stay off your feet as much as possible. Although the Expo rocks, it is not advisable to spend 6 hours shopping in it.
2) Prepare your support crew and ask for their patience. You will experience manic phases, irritability, and severe mood swings leading up to this race (especially first timers). 
3) Follow your pre-race facilitation plan. It will help calm the nerves, certify that your gear is working, and relieve some of your stress.
4) Checking items off your list gets you one step closer to the start line. Each time you complete a step leading up to the race, your stress level will improve (ie packet pickup, bike drop, pack bags, etc). 
5) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Eat well. Rest. LAUGH.
6) Surround yourself with people that are positive, calming, and helpful. I love my family and non-tri friends, but I very well may put them in a hotel to themselves, as I prefer to not have to spend my energy dealing with non-tri activities. Choose roommates and sleeping arrangements wisely. Personally I will be seeking out CALMNESS, QUIET, and LAUGHTER.

Shananigans in T2. Post 6 hour puke fest.

7) Do what YOU need to do to prepare and don't worry about keeping to other people's schedules. This is not the time to worry about anyone but yourself.
8) Go to the pre-race banquet (especially if you are a first-timer). It is uplifting and you will be pumped for the race.

Race Lessons:

1) Don't get to transition too early. There is not much to do as your bike and gear have already been dropped off. It will be a very long day. 
2) If possible have someone else drop of the special needs bags as it is a bit of a walk to the drop spot. Make sure it is someone you trust so you won't worry if it got there or not.
3) Carry you phone until the last possible minute. It is easier to find your support crew and coordinate a meet-up.
4) Body-glide and vaseline are your friends. Use them.
5) Put Garmin watch on UNDER your wet suit or it will get tangled during the removal process and possibly fly off into the sea of spectators.
6) Position yourself in the mass swim start according to your comfort level and ability. Try to stay calm.
7) Take a swig of fresh water from the volunteers between swim loops.
8) There is an art to getting out of your wetsuit. If you use a stripper, have the suit pulled down to your waist, point to where you plan to lay down as you run up, lay down on the ground with feet facing the way you are running and put your legs up as if sitting in a chair. Extend your arm and let them help you up. I watched it being done efficiently and I watched it being done too slowly. The downside to using a stripper is that you get covered in sand that you will likely have on you all day long, in places you would rather not have sand. If you strip on your own (my new choice), then run behind the strippers and you will avoid the congestion as well as the sand. Be aware of the flying wetsuit legs if you do this! Spectators get nailed as the suits get yanked off the athletes.
9) Pros know how to transition quickly. They direct the volunteers to help where needed. They travel light, and I did not see one peanut butter sandwich, garlic french bread, bag of peanuts, or energy bar in any of their transition bags (unlike the age groupers). 
10) Keep your wits about you. If you volunteer in the changing tent and one of your favorite pros runs in, don't freeze in place and allow your friend to jump in to help change them. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and standing by the exit with lotion covering your hands hoping to be able to put it on them is unnecessary and makes you look like a dork...again. 
11) Be a good friend. Failing to take a picture or video of your friend assisting one of your favorite pros apparently is considered to be an EPIC FAIL.

Pineapple Willy Peace Offering. Sorry for the Epic Fail Katie.

12) Think before you speak. As athletes are exiting T2 to go out onto the marathon course, it is not a good idea to say things like "you're almost done!" or "just a few miles!" or "it won't be long now!". These comments may get you dirty looks.
13) Use your filter. When you walk along the run course to cheer on your friends, it is recommended you not complain about how your feet hurt from standing on them all day long.
14) As a spectator, cheer for people. When you see people walking, say things like "I see an Ironman coming! Just keep moving!!" rather than "Come on, pick it up!!". The former is way more uplifting!
15) Make it to the finish line to see your friends. They've just spent their entire day trying to get there. BE THERE.

Shannon Carlson, "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!"

Congrats Anne on #4!!
* Congrats to all my friends who finished! Freebird (#2), Cindy S (#1), Ali (Official #1), Susan H (#8), Nancy Cole (#2), and many more!! You guys all inspire me! 


1) You will feel like hell most likely. Prepare you sherpa to get you back to the hotel, get your gear, and settle you in. You will most likely not want to eat or drink anything.
2) Odds are this won't be your last Ironman. You will say things like,"I will never do that again", but within a few hours you will start making comments like, "I wonder if next time I can go faster if I can keep myself from throwing up on the bike". 

So today is the first day of the rest of my life. I pledge to make positive changes in my lifestyle, follow my training plan, and experience the journey.

Let The Transformation Begin!!

Official Signup!!

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to following your grand adventure. Go, Janie!!