After a “decent” night’s sleep on Friday night, I was ready to head back into town to get my bike checked in and drop off my bike/run bags in transition.
As with most everything at Ironman, it’s a well-oiled machine and the check-in process is smooth and easy. The volunteers are amazing, which always helps when dealing with 2,500+ athletes.
I hung my bags onto the racks where my number was, tried to get a visual of where they were in the mass of racks so I knew where to go on Sunday. I found my spot on the bike racks, took a deep breath and just tried to soak it all in. I definitely got butterflies as I looked around and realized what was about to happen in less than 24 hours. All the work, all the time, all the tears to get me here started to really become real.
Rob decided to do a training run on part of the Ironman course while I watched the girls on the beach and at the playground (can you tell they LOVED the beach at Mirror Lake??). I actually enjoyed that, too, as I could people watch and listen in as people were talking about the course. They were starting to set up the swim start/finish as well so I could get an even better idea of what Sunday would look like.
Just like with the bike, Rob came back to give me a “report” on the course, but left out a few details (and again, thankful he did…).
I was ready to call it a day fairly early, as I still needed to get stuff situated for Sunday, so we decided to grab and early dinner and go back to the cabin. Nothing fancy, just my regular spaghetti with meat sauce that I always get before a big race. I was a happy camper.
Back at the cabin, Julia wanted to make signs for me and decided that “Do It Hard” was the slogan she insisted on using. Ummm…yea. So, I wasn’t thrilled with this and was trying to tell her I would like something else on the signs, but that upset her. Rob smoothed things over with her and they decided on some funny signs to create for race day.
I was very fortunate to have met a lot of nice people via Facebook groups leading up to the race – I felt like a lot of these people were my friends, especially one – Amy from North Carolina. We chatted a lot leading up to race day and she was gracious enough to offer to pick me up on race morning so Rob didn’t have to get the girls up at 3:30am to get me to the start. I’m indebted to her and her husband, Jamie, for doing this for me! I touched base with her, got our plan of action in place and we were set to go.
Then the panic set in.
I looked at the clock and realized I had about 10 hours to go before the race started, and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t calm myself down. I started to question every single thing – was I prepared, did I have enough nutrition, would I get a flat tire, would I be able to handle the hills, could I handle the warm weather, etc…I was sobbing. Rob was trying to keep the girls busy while I had my panic attack, so I sent a text to Matt asking him if he had any advice to calm me down.
He immediately called me and talked me down off the ledge. I was so thankful for his call and to hear him tell me that I WAS ready and that I handled every single workout he gave me for the past 7.5 months. He reminded me that I would be scared for every “big” training session he had and then pretty much without fail would text him after about how I hit every target/interval/pace and felt super proud of myself. He told me to keep that in the bank on Sunday and know that I had put in the work and I could handle what was coming. I was laughing by the end of the call, took a few deep breaths and just tried to relax (easier said than done).
I laid down with Emily, checked in with a few of my friends and gave my “thank yous” to those who had sent me words of encouragement via text or social media and did my best to fall asleep. Rob came in to give me a hug, said I was ready, and we talked for a bit so I knew where to look for them during the race. Julia came in as well and I, of course, started to cry again. I definitely tossed and turned, but I did get a few decent hours of sleep and woke up before my alarm went off at 3:15am.
No turning back now… it was race day.