How Can You Bottle This?

BottleThisTodays picture is from Saturday – Roger and I at the nice little coffee shop at the turnaround in Hawi. I’m thoroughly enjoying my iced latte. It’s worth getting out well before the race so you feel able to ride all the way to the turnaround (it’s 106 miles from the pier there and back). Worth it not only to experience the section of the course to Hawi (most of the cross winds and most of the climbing are found here) but also because Hawi is a nice place to chill out.

The title of the post is something I’ve been thinking these past two weeks and certainly something I thought last year but didn’t work out how. The atmosphere is so great here I keep promising myself that I will be better prepared for the next one. Then when u get in the middle of your big training you don’t remember this feeling and it’s that much harder to keep motivated to train hard and consistently. I’ve spent some time trying to anchor this feeling hoping perhaps that will help keep motivated through the next year. If only I could bottle the feeling and atmosphere out here so I could splash a little on when I’m thinking of skipping a session or shortening one.

Just back from the opening banquet. The food was pretty nice, the speeches not too long and some good videos. It made me excited and nervous about the race. I almost envy the really bad swimmers that don’t have to worry about the swim start, just stand on the beach and get going at the back. Thats what always worries me most, in fact it’s the only thing that makes me nervous about the race. I guess its physical, it’s confrontational, it’s where others can really impact on your race and also where tactics and skill can play a part – getting in the right group, placing yourself well on the start line, metering out your effort just right at the start to steer clear of those behind but not completely busting a gut. This start will be a little different as Paul and I have talked about lining up together … assuming we manage that it will be interesting to see if a) that calms me immediately before the start and b) we can actually stay close together and get into the same pack. The swim director said when you see red flags being waved on the pier the start is imminent and there will be no further warning. This immediately gave me butterflies. Thats when you are all tensed to go and just want the off. It’s the worst moment… like the cold before the dawn, the calm before the storm.

During this evening as I fall asleep, tomorrow morning as I wake (though I must get up immediately as I just get nervous layed in bed) and throughout tomorrow I will visualize the swim start and mentally rehearse what I will do and how I will feel.

My last few days have been pretty easy and relaxed:

Tuesday: 2k swim, 1 hour bike, 25 min run (as a BRICK)

Wednesday: 2k swim

Today: 2k Swim, 25 mile bike, 1 mile run (as a BRICK)

I’m feeling reasonably prepared and definitely fully recovered from Wisconsin though not as prepared as I’d promised myself I’d be when I was out here last year. Thats what’s rather prompted the entry as I’m promising myself to be in better shape next year but how to keep that motivation throughout the period from now till then.

Bringing all this back down to earth was a little moment on the swim this morning. It was mayhem – so many people swimming that the Gatorade Bag Drop ran out of bags ! Anyway, I took a very wide line to the halfway buoy and managed to swim more or less solo. Coming back, in pretty deep water, I saw a turtle below me. I was all alone. I stopped to watch it and it gently swam up right below me, close enough that if I’d extended my arm I’d have touched it. It then swam just a few feet in front of me and just as it came to the surface I raised my head to see it’s neck and head come above the water take a big breath and the go back down making a beeline for the depths. It was magical.

My aim is to update tomorrow night with my feelings immediately pre race !

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