July 6, 2012

Race Week - Friday

Woke up early again today - Didn't sleep as well as I would like - Layed there as long as I could but was still up by 7:15.  Molly was up and gone shortly thereafter with heavy responsibilities at the expo all day.  I debated going out for a little walk, but Molly talked me out of it.  It was 88 degrees by 9 a.m. and reached 100 by noon!

I spent the morning resting, watching Ironman videos, and focusing on hydrating!  Only left twice, once to get Morgan to swim club, and once to pick her up!  Sara hand delivered me some YOU ROCK balloons at that point, and I updated my facebook status to the following:

About this time tomorrow I will enter the water for my first Ironman 70.3 - For those still unsure what that means, here is some perspective: I will swim 1.2 miles (distance from Muncie Meijer to Muncie Walmart), bike 56 miles (distance from Yorktown High School to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis) and run 13.1 miles (distance from Daleville High School to the Muncie Mall). While I've done all 3 distances many times, I've never attempted to put them all together at once! Thanks so much for all the calls, texts, messages and well wishes! It's going to be a great day!

It garnered even more posts of good luck, and I am now feeling as confident as ever!  I had a great lunch with pulled pork (protein) on a big fat bun (carbs) and some potato chips (salt) - Gatorade all morning and no reason to doubt my abilities at this point!

Picking up Jo, Armando and another pro Julia who is now staying with Jill Brand.  We met up at 1:30 and heading to the expo.  We're already sharing stories of what might happen when I get "THE TEXT"

Knowing full well, that this was not something my wife would joke about, I read it in disbelief and all I could utter were the words "NO, No, no...."  With Jo asking what's wrong, I could barely speak what I was reading from my wife..."Bad news baby...We are Olympic"

I can't tell you what anyone said next, but let's just say it was not G rated!  In total disbelief I maintained anger for less than 60 seconds, and then it really began to sink in - EVERYTHING that I have worked SO hard for to be able to FINISH this distance and call my self an IRONMAN 70.3 FINISHER was just ripped away from me less than 24 hours from the moment I would cross the finish line!  With a lump in my throat, I sit in silence.  That was when the true character of the athletes in my vehicle really showed through.  They get it.  They understand.  They become overly  compassionate with me knowing that this was my A race for the year, and this reality/destination/goal just got postponed indefinitely.

As we enter the expo, we maintain ignorance as we go through the expo and registration.  This has not yet been made public and we can say nothing until the 2:00 athlete meeting starts.  Armando and I get registered, and Jo and Julia head to the Pro checkin - We get thru pretty quick (those volunteers are amazing), and I enter the meeting literally just in time to hear race director, Brian Myrick, make the official announcement.  Our official distance will be a 1 mile swim, 30 mile bike, and 10k run.  And thus the Muncie 37.2 race is born!  It still doesn't seem fair or right, but I'm starting to understand it more.  As Medical Director, Dwayne Adrian gets up and explains the conditions and rationale, it sinks in a little more.  There are spectators and volunteers that are not "trained" to be out in this heat and humidity, AND this heat is truly unprecedented!  In all the years of this race, the water temp has rarely been in the 80s, and it's already 85+ degrees.  The air temp is half the story, but heat index is projected to be over 110 tomorrow!  I continue to believe that I'm strong enough, and smart enough to finish the full distance, but what's the point in beating myself up over it now.  It's done.

As the meeting concludes, I'm moping around, reading everyone's thoughts on facebook, when I run into some of my biggest local supporters.  Lucas and Lisa Smelser are standing with Gary Thomas, and as I approach them I can see their disappointment for me in their eyes.  No one had to say anything, and I could feel myself about to cry.  We hug it out, and the rationalizing begins.  Some are still in the anger stage, others have moved on to the understanding stage, and a few have reached a stage of looking up the next closes 70.3 on the calendar (With Ironman, it's Steelhead on Aug 19 in Michigan - I know because it was my plan B race all along)

It's 2:30 now and time for the pro panel.  I've been looking forward to this for days.  Our homestay, Jo Lawn along with top pros Mirinda Carfrae, and Kelly Williamson are joined by last years winner Ben Hoffman, and Greg Bennett!  I was the first nerd to walk right up and take their pic as soon as they were seated!  And afterwards, Molly and I finally got a great pic with Jo!  It was refreshing to hear them speak, and yet you could also hear the disappointment in their voices.  We are triathletes!  This is what we do!  We love to race!  Pro Basketball players don't play half court.  Pro Baseball players don't play with 1 out per inning.  Pro Football players don't play on a shortened field.  Pro Triathletes shouldn't have to race on a shortened course! 

Jo had a pro meeting at 3, and by 3:30 we were ready to get out of there.  As soon as we hit the car, Armando continued with his supportive ways.  We talked about how this changes the nutrition plan, as well as how our bodies will feel at certain points.  I asked Jo if this favored her, and sadly it does not.  I had them home by 4, and back to the house to get the kids and relieve the sitter.

The kids and I headed to the expo to pick up Molly and some pizzas to take out to PCR for the bike checkin volunteers.  I went ahead and left my bike there for the night.  Transition is impressive and the race site is buzzing already.  Tomorrow is going to be hot and it's still a long race, and you know Ironman is going to do it up right, so I've got to get my head straight!

We dropped Molly off at the expo and headed out to Fazolis!  Might as well carb load like any other race.  Extra Breadsticks, Extra Salt.  The kids were good and we were home by 7.  For the last hour I've been reading all the facebook posts I missed today and reflecting on my notes from the last Olympic distance race I did last month.  I've got this distance down with no worry of finishing, but how hard do I push myself?  With another 70.3 to come now, I don't want to hurt myself so it's virtually a long training day for an unknown race on an unknown date at an unknown location! 

I'll be fine.  Today, Tomorrow and always.  I'm not an Ironman yet, but someday I will be.
Time for bed...

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