Ironman St. George — Race Morning

3:00 a.m. my alarm goes off. I jumped up and showered (I know, it is a weird habit, but I always shower before a race), shaved, and got dressed. I really took my time as on race morning I do not like to rush because when I am pressured, it seems that I start to make mistakes. I packed my morning bags with my wetsuit and realized I had forgotten to pack my goggles. It took me 10 minutes to find them, but I finally did. Crisis averted.

I went to the lobby where the Marriott Courtyard had prepared a breakfast for all the athletes. It was fantastic. I had oatmeal, a banana, and some apple juice to get everything started. The shuttle left the hotel right on time at 4:15 and the driver dropped us off at the site where we needed to drop off our special needs bags and catch the shuttle up to the swim. I had made plans to meet Marion there and ride up with him. Lo and behold, he was right where he said he would be and we rode up to the lake. The energy on the bus was palpitable.

I think it was about 5:15 by the time we got to the lake. I had to pump up my tires, put my Garmin and nutrition on my bike, and give everything the once over to make sure everything still worked. I had arranged to meet my business partner Bruce at 6:30, so I wanted to make sure I was ready before then. I hit the port-a-potties and was glad I had downed the apple juice – one more thing off of the check list. I started to hit my 250 calorie bottle of Infinit about 6:00 a.m. They had water out at the lake, so I drank a 20 ounce bottle of that too. I really was feeling calm, cool, and collected at this point.

I started to think of all of the training and how early I would get up and how tired I would go to bed. I think I am sometimes really self-centered and started to think of everything my family and friends had also sacrificed to get me to this point. While this race was important to me, it was also important to them because of the time they had sacrificed as well. I was hopeful I could repay their sacrifices through a fun day out on the course.

I carefully put on my wetsuit, my neoprene cap, goggles, ear plugs (to add a little more warmth), and booties. I started to look for Bruce and he wasn’t anywhere to be found. He told me later they wouldn’t let him on the road to the lake because of the closure. It would have been fun to have him at the swim – he and I went to Maui in 2010 for business and went to Kona for the Ironman World Championships. There is nothing like a swim start at an Ironman.

I gave up on trying to find him and in the meantime lost my pal Marion too. I really wanted to wish him luck before the start, but the pro gun went off and it was time to head towards the water. The start at Ironman St. George is open water, which is an adventure all in itself. Lots of people have given me great advice that because of my times in my swim workouts I should start at the front and just go. Race day I took a look at the large mass of bodies at the start and decided I would start at the back and just relax. I decided I would take an outside line an take the extra time and distance it would require to finish. I had time goals, but they were not as important as getting out of the water without getting pummeled.

I was walking towards the water when the national anthem started. I was surprised how many athletes kept walking towards the water and talking when it was being sung. I really enjoy the national anthem before a race because it helps remind me that we really do live in a great country where I can do foolish things like participate in triathlons.

I then waded out and got towards the back and outside of the pack. The cannon went off and the washing machine started. From where I was, there really wasn’t too much contact. It seemed that everyone knew that when they made contact that they should not follow through. I really have had more contact in local Olympic distance races. I was far enough back that it took me about two minutes to cross the start line.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...