Since it's raining here in the English countryside and I'm freezing my ass off because I spent half the day stomping around outdoors and I'm all tucked into bed and may or may not still be wearing a scarf because it's that cold but I don't want to take a nap because then I won't be able to sleep at all tonight, I'm going to finally tell you about IMAZ.
Warning: This will take several posts. And there are a lot of photos. (Which might be a good thing, if you hate reading and just want to scroll down and look at pictures.)
We'll start at the beginning, with all the pre-race logistics. The thing about Ironman: There are a shit-ton of logistics.
Saturday, Nov. 8: The bike drop-off
I share a bike box with my friend Jessica and have flown with Muppet before, but I didn't want to deal with finding a shop in Tempe to help me reassemble my bike. I also didn't want to have to pack Muppet after the race, especially since I didn't know if I'd even be able to walk, much less take a bike apart. So I went with TriBike Transport, which trucked Muppet -- fully assembled -- via eighteen-wheeler to Tempe. All I had to do was drop her off at the local tri shop, and off she went.
|I kissed her good-bye, of course.|
Thursday, Nov. 13, a.m.: The frantic, last-minute suitcase packing
Friends who have done Ironman cautioned me to pack for every possible weather condition. So I did. I also packed two helmets (because I wasn't sure which one I was going to wear -- to sperm or not to sperm), an entire kitchen drawer full of nutrition (because I wanted as many flavor options as possible), two tri kits (because I didn't know if I would feel more like turquoise or pink), two bikinis (because there was a pool at the condo we rented), two sets of goggles (because one clear and one tinted), two hats (because one for racing and one for the expo) and every article of clean lululemon clothing I own (because lululemon, duh).
And I brought the absolutely hideous warmup jacket I bought from Goodwill four years ago for CIM with the intention of abandoning it on the side of the road, but now can't bring myself to give it up since it's been with me for every important race I've ever done since.
|Awful, isn't it?|
Thursday, Nov. 13, p.m.: The reunion
I arrived in Tempe with a suitcase so heavy that when I met Arvan to pick up our rental car, he asked me if I was planning to open my own triathlon store.
By the way, I love Arvan. We've known each other for four years -- met through our old running group in Santa Rosa, did marathons together and then went on to triathlons. He's seen me struggle, both on and off the race course (helped me through my divorce and helped me out of a planter on the side of the road when I was learning to unclip on the bike), and has been an incredible friend. I really wish Seattle and Santa Rosa were closer so we could spend more time together and ride and sing showtunes and try on stupid hats at the drugstore while running pre-race errands like buying Immodium (just in case) and contact lens solution (because I packed an entire triathlon store yet forgot basic needs).
Friday, Nov. 14, a.m.: Check-in and packet pickup
|So damn happy to be here.|
Friday, Nov. 14, p.m.: So many freaking bags
Everything that would normally go in the transition area had to be separated and bagged for each leg, and the Bike and Run bags had to be dropped off the day before the race. So we spent Friday night laying out bags and gear and trying to figure out what went where. It was overwhelming.
However, my bags were by far the best-looking bags in the entire history of Ironman, thanks to the amazing tags Bri made for me.
|This should've automatically qualified me for Kona.|
Saturday, Nov. 15: Practice swim, gear drop, bike racking
Confession: I hadn't been in open water since Swim for (Dear) Life.
|The part where we found Kimra and Layla (who took this photo).|
|I'm not really sure what's happening here, but it's kind of hot.|
All in all, we were done with our pre-race prep around noon. Then our friends and family came over to the house (see, just like a wedding!), and we gave everyone presents, spent the rest of the day hanging out with them, eating, watching movies and resting up for the big event.
I think I also pooped like five times that day, but that probably doesn't surprise you.