OK. I do go through moments of complete and utter panic thinking about race day, but for the most part I'm just enjoying the experience. This may be my one and only Ironman World Championship and that's how I'm treating it. I'm just taking it all in and enjoying the moment.
Wow! Twelve days. I think tapering is the hardest part of training for Ironman. The past two days have been swim-only days and I'm feeling guilty that I haven't been out there pounding the pavement. It seems odd not to go to bed completely exhausted. Almost like I'm cheating on my training.
These are the days I start doubting my training and fitness, and there is an overwhelming urge to do just one more long ride and one more long run just to prove I can and that I am ready, and that my body isn't deteriorating by taking it easy but is rebuilding, refueling and actually getting stronger.
Just to keep myself from going out and doing something stupid like ride the 112-mile bike course or run another 20-miler over the next few days, I'm promising myself that my training goal from now until race day is to have fun. Go for a run, but keep it short and have fun. Go for a ride - just far enough to get the legs working - but have fun. And swim in the ocean as much as possible - that's always fun.
ADVICE FOR RACE DAY
Someone told me a secret for Ironman a few weeks ago. She told me on race day smile. Smile all day long. Even when I don't feel like it. She said smiling will change my outlook on the day. She also told me to think of race day as just a catered training day and that will help me to relax.
Another secret for race day is the Three R's: Relax, Rhythm, Race. Relax at the start of the race, then find your rhythm, then get into your race mode. That may not be exactly how it was told to me. But the emphasis is on relaxing and finding my rhythm.
Someone else told me to spend the day building. Don't go out there and hit the swim and the bike hard only to suffer an agonizing death on the run. Build your pace up to peak on the run. At least I think that is what he meant.
There's been a bunch more sound advice given to me from Ironman-experienced friends and it is much appreciated. That's one of the great things about living in Kona, there's no shortage of experienced triathletes here and you can pretty much go up to any of them and ask advice. Most are more than willing to share their experiences with whomever asks.
See you out there. I'll be the one smiling!