I’m exhausted. And the race isn’t even until Sunday. Yikes. Well, the good thing is that tomorrow is a completely low stress, do absolutely nothing except the required stuff sort of day. The only thing I HAVE to do tomorrow is drop off my bike and gear bags. Other than that, it is all rest and relaxation (possibly some college football thrown in for good measure).
For as tired as I am, I had a great day. It started off with an early morning swim. I met up with Kristin @ The Lazy Marathoner and some of her friends at the swim start at 7:30. I had met Kristin briefly last year when she was racing and I was volunteering, but didn’t get to talk to her much. Today, she shared a lot of her Ironman wisdom with me and she is a ton of fun to be around. We had a great swim. The water is about 70* which is the perfect temperature in my mind especially since I only have a full wetsuit and not a sleeveless. But holy crap did I forget how much more tiring swimming in a wetsuit can be on the shoulders/arms. I definitely didn’t do enough open water practice. It shouldn’t be too bad on race day, but it was definitely a different feeling.
After the swim, I headed back to the hotel. On the way, I bumped into Kristin (a different Kristin) who I met at the WIBA training event. Our hotels were in the same direction so we walked together talking the entire way. Can I just say how much I love meeting other triathletes? Every single one of the are so freaking friendly it is unreal.
Anyways, finally made it back to the hotel and Jennie and I decided that we would walk back to Monona Terrace so I could show her around the transition area. On the way, we ran into both Kristin’s again and chatted some more. It is crazy because with 3000 athletes here, we keep running into the same dozen or so people. Jennie and I ended up walking different parts of Monona Terrace so that she could figure out what good vantage points would be and to see how she could get from point A to point B on race day.
After checking out the terrace, we headed into the Ironman store. I had originally planned on not buying anything M-dot related until Monday when the race was done and over. However, after talking to multiple people, I was warned that a lot of the stuff I had been looking at would be really picked over and possibly gone. So I ended buying a crap ton of stuff (whether or not there is money left to put gas in the car is questionable). It now sits in a bag and for all intents and purposes does not exist until Sunday night. I’ll post some shwag porn then, but for now you’ll have to wait – just like me.
After the shopping experience, it was time for another blogger meetup – this time with Alexa @ Just Keep Swimming. And let me tell you, the rumors about her are true. She’s short. She’s loud. And she’s badass! haha! We have been talking a lot through Facebook/Email/Twitter but this is the first time we had met face to face. She has been my go to Ironman veteran for advice and I have tried to help her with the little knowledge I have of the IMWI course from volunteering last year and training on it this year. We headed up to State Street for lunch and decided on Gino’s. I had eaten there for WIBA and while it is nothing special, I knew that it was good and would digest well. We spent pretty much the entire time talking triathlon and Jennie was probably bored out of her mind. All she could think about was the cupcake shop behind us selling these:
The poor little guy never stood a chance.
After lunch, we headed back to the Terrace where Alexa was going to meet up with someone to drive the course with. Jennie and I were off to try and buy her a ticket to the Athlete Dinner. We found a volunteer who told us that they were sold out of tickets. What the hell? What were we supposed to do? The volunteer basically told us to just show up any ways with money in hand and they probably wouldn’t turn us away. Great. So now dinner plans were up in the air.
We went back to the hotel and decided to try and at least get Saturday’s dinner planned out. We had originally stopped by Francesca’s al Lago on our way back to the Terrace because two separate people recommended it. However, they told us they only had reservations left for before 3:00 or after 7:00. Yep. Screwed again. On a whim, I decided to check Open Table. We got super lucky! They listed a 4:15 opening (which is more like 5:15 based on the time zone we are used to). Booked! We are super excited about that dinner because every time we have gone by it has been packed.
With dinner planned, we headed out to find some groceries. We brought an electric skillet with us so that I can make my normal race day breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. We ended up finding a Whole Foods. We don’t have a Whole Foods anywhere near us which was totally evident by Jennie’s super excitement by everything she found there. Even she admitted that was, “way too excited for a grocery store.” Haha. It was really cool though and I wish we had one to shop at. I stocked up on the essentials – beer, beer, and more beer. Oh. And I got the eggs I needed too. I bought four 6 packs of WI beer; New Glarus Spotted Cow, New Glarus Fat Squirrel, Potosi Steamboat Shandy, and a Nut Brown Ale that I can’t recall the brand of. Let’s just say that I am looking forward to post race, but I am
definitely maybe saving some for the MSU/ND tailgate next weekend.
By the time we got back to the hotel, we had just enough time to unload before heading back to the Terrace for the athlete dinner. We got there at about 5:00 for a dinner that started at 5:30. The line was already a couple hundred people long. After we found the end of the line, I started chatting with a guy in front of me named Pete. This will be the first IM for both of us and we have very similar race histories. Eventually the line started moving and before we knew it we were inside. No one ever asked us for a ticket or money for Jennie. Oh well, their loss! The food definitely wasn’t worth $30 any way. Thankfully though we both got in without any problems. We ended up sitting with Pete at the dinner and talking some more.
After dinner got going, Mike Reilly took the stage and welcomed everyone. They had a special tribute to all the of first responders and military personnel racing. It is a extra special event for them as the race takes place on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. At the end, they auctioned off a poster signed by all of the pro athletes as well as by all the first responders and military personnel to raise money for police and fire departments. The bidding started at $100 and quickly shot up from there. Two guys got in a little bidding war and before you knew it, it sold for $4000!
Mike Reilly then brought both the youngest and oldest participants on stage – a 19 year old and 74 year old (who looked closer to 54). It was really cool to hear both of their stories. He also brought up a random married couple. The couple has been racing together since 2006 and have raced side by side in every Ironman and finished together. Sound like anyone you know??? Or maybe his better half?
Once the presentations were over with, they got on to the formalities of the athlete briefing. The good news about the briefing is that I really did NOT learn anything. Whew! I would hate to ever sit a briefing and learn a bunch of stuff less than 48 hours before race start. The only thing I learned was that there are two aid stations on the bike that are water only (no Perform). After looking at the placement of the other aid stations, it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I am glad to know it now than to find out about it on the course.
After that it was back to the hotel where I sit now. I’m completely exhausted any can’t wait to lay down with a book and fall asleep.
In less than 48 hours, I
should will be done! Crazy…