Saturday, August 28, 2010

T minus 1 ... okay, now I'm REALLY nervous!

My day started with a swim in the beautiful Lake Okanagan.


Here is the beach where the Ironman mass swim start occurs:


I slipped on my wetsuit for the first time since early June 2008 when I did a sprint tri and then got into the water. Silly me, I hadn't trained at all with with my wetsuit this year and hoped that my injured shoulder would be able to manage the tightness of the neoprene. 45 minutes of swimming told me that I should be okay and then I got out of the water. So many other things to do today ...

But wait, where was my rental car? What?!?! I couldn't find it anywhere in the long row of parked cars by the beach ... GREAT, could this be happening to me?!? I started panicking. Could someone have stolen my car? How would I be able to get to check-in today with my bike and race bags and then the race the next morning? Oh no! How would I even be able to get back to Montreal?! My purse with my passport and all my ID, cards and money was inside the car, along with my cell phone!

I tried to calm myself down as I carefully combed the area, though inside, I felt horribly frantic ... Well, at least, I had my bike and everything else I needed for the race the next day back at the motel ... but really ... was this what I needed?

DOH!!

Okay folks, after wandering up and down the beach for 45 minutes in my half-stripped-off wetsuit, I was elated to discover my car parked MUCH farther down the beach than I remembered.

WHEW!!

I went back to the hotel and cleaned up. I double-checked my bike and race bags, threw in last-minute clothing decisions, and then headed back into town for check-in. But first, lunch with MF and crew ... what a sweet but poignant meet-up. I was thrilled to finally meet Lyn's family but so saddened to know that she was no longer with us ... To Lyn's mom, CD, thank you for such a wonderful long hug! I looked into your eyes and saw my friend again ... Lyn, sweet and funny Lyn ... the reason behind my having signed up for this particular race.

ATHLETE CHECK-IN

This was it. The race suddenly felt imminently closer. I racked my bike and dropped off my transition bags, and then got the guided tour of the "transition route" from a kind volunteer.


I had a great spot for my bike, Row 50, 2nd bike in, easy to find ... as if that would make any difference, as I was sure the bike lot would be almost empty by the time I came out of the water, ha ha! Nevertheless ... :-)



Rows and rows of transition bags by the change tents ... kinda intimidating, don't cha think?


A calm and smiling me, but really nervous as all heck inside. I can't believe I'm doing this again ... why, why, WHY!?!


Later on that afternoon, I tried to drive the bike course. I completely failed (course map was not very detailed) and finally gave up after realising I'd driven the same huge circle three times, ending up in the same tranquil neighbourhood.

I think the Universe was trying to tell me something ... to go visit my fellow online tri-mate CB from Kickrunners, otherwise known as Slow'n'Steady. We'd managed to meet up at the bike store previously and she had invited me to drop in later for a visit ... so lo and behold, I was in her neighbourhood.

There's something magical about Ironman that bonds people, something about how difficult the training and racing is, and being able to make it to the Finish Line, that gives us an understanding into each others' psyches. Our "friendship" had existed only online previously and now CB and I were standing in the flesh in front of each other, chatting away as if we'd always known each other. Internet can be truly extraordinary ...

I love that CB and I are made up of the same goofy material. I felt like we were two peas in a pod, and colour-coordinated ones at that! :-)





I felt an instant connection with CB and her wonderful family ... I was so lucky to have met them! Her amazing girls did some chalk drawings outside where the marathon turn-around was. Now I finally felt ready to RACE!




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