Friday morning--time for the Gatorade Swim.
I met Wil, TriThomps, Stu, and some Cleveland Peeps like IronJohnny and Coach Kara down at the swim. It was so good to see everyone! I was on Cloud 9 at this point. All smiles....no worries. I felt great.
We jumped in and Stu got some great pictures of us with his underwater digital camera! How cool is that? Mr. Wil took some pictures from the shore, too. As we waded by the ski lift, I recognized Manitoba Guy somehow! He joined us for a little swim as we just kind of got our bearings. I felt really strong and the weather was great--a little cloudy and some wind, but nice and warm. The water was a bit cold at first, but it felt great to swim in--much better than the 90 degree Y pool I was used to!
I registered and picked up all my stuff. It was bizarre...we stood in this really long line, and it was very well organized, but for some reason I just felt unsettled. I think it was just because I was missing Matt some more. I couldn't wait for him to get into town. So I stood in line, alone, for a while. I saw Stu and TriThomps, so that picked me up a bit.
I felt butterflies as I told the volunteers my number: "2198," I said. I felt my stomach somersaut a bit as they handed me my chip.
Wow. There it is.
"Let me just activate this thing...."
I shuffled along to the next station. We had to get weighed, which of course is for safety purposes. What happened next is interesting, but didn't surprise me...and at the same time, led to something good.
I got on the scale and the volunteer recorded the number.
It was 5 more than I thought it would be.
Now, mind you, I had just drank 2 Nalgenes of water...I was wearing clothes, blah blah blah. But there I was, in the midst of beginning my Ironman, and I saw that number and the floodgates of old feelings rushed in. Feelings that I have had before--when I was 7, 10, 13, 16, 22.....
Oh no! What happened? What can I do? I need to get that lower NOW!
This is stupid. And irrational. And idiotic. Here I am, on the eve of an Ironman, and I'm letting this bother me?! It made no sense. And I knew this, and it still threw me into a little 3 minute tailspin. I felt old doubts and fears creep in, from years and years of battling with issues relating to weight and my image of myself.
So for about three rotten minutes, I let it really bother me. I didn't think about the things I'd accomplished to get the honor of standing on that scale, on that day, in that city. I just saw a number, and it made me irrationally upset.
And it was at that moment, standing in the Monona Terrace alone, that I snapped out of it and changed my entire approach.
There would, from that point on, be no numbers in my Ironman.
The only number, I decided, that I was going to pay attention to, was my heart rate. I don't want splits, and I don't want time. I will still have my A, B, and C finishing goals, but I'm not going to worry about how I get there--I'm just going to get there. To one of those letters. Without any numbers or splits.
Because, see--I don't do so well with numbers.
And I knew I couldn't let the numbers do this to me on that day. I knew it might jeopardize everything I've worked for.
And suddenly, I felt a huge relief. Heart rate, and that's it. Whew.
Okay. I'm allright.
I went to grab some lunch alone. See, I think there are really two different kinds of people at Ironman--those that love to be around the buzz, and those that need to step away from the buzz. I am the latter. I deliberately stayed away from downtown as much as I could. I knew that my focus needed to be relaxed, and for me, that meant away from the action I deemed unecessary. So I ate alone, rested in my room alone, and waited until Matt arrived. He's much like me in that sense, and when he walked into the hotel lobby my heart soared. I missed him so much and was so glad to see him.
I was also so glad to be able to enjoy dinner at Stu's house with my friends, new and old, of Pharmie, XT4, Wil, TriThomps, Robby B, Chris, Michelle, Siren, and even Manitoba Guy came along! Pictures will come once I can get them up there. It was such a perfect night--we relaxed, ate some really good grub, and talked.
I didn't go to the athlete meeting. Some people left to go and Matt said, "Should you go?" Maybe. But I didn't want to. I needed to step away from the buzz and the action, and the people I was with were so knowledgeable and all had completed the course--so I stayed and we watched Ironman Videos. It was absolutely perfect, and I can't thank Stu enough for letting us into his home for such a perfect Friday night.
Saturday was a blur.
It hit me then, and it hit me hard. I can't really remember much, except that it was kind of like the day before my wedding--I felt like I had so much to do, and was trying so hard to stay relaxed, and failing miserably. I began freaking out a bit when I started to pack my bags. Just seeing all the gear and bags was overwhelming. I threw a few of my students' cards into my special needs bags, along with extra copies of the names of people I was racing in honor and memory of. I put in as much food as I could, and some enduralytes. The weather forecast was calling for 64 degrees with a 30% chance of rain.
On a whim, I told Matt, "Maybe I should get a vest--I probably won't need it, as that weather report looks good...but just in case it rains that way I can wear it for the first few miles on the bike until I warm up and then ditch it."
So, operation find a vest was in effect. We tried everything: WalMart, Kohls, the mall...my frustration grew as I couldn't find one that would actually keep the wind from getting through.
We finally found one at Dick's...but ugh. $65. I didn't want to spend that.
At that point, I had no choice. $65 it was. I was mad and frustrated. But--no worrying about the numbers. If I needed it, I thought, it will be worth $65.
Little did I know. Heh. I had no freaking idea what was about to happen.
That night, I enjoyed dinner with my college girls--some of the best and most supportive people in the universe, that came to share the day with me and cheer me on. My parents were there, too--I have the best parents in the world, just so you know.
And I was determined not to let the number of hours I slept bother me, either. I heard that it's really 2 nights before that matters, and I got 9 hours that night. So I set the alarm for 3:58am, arranged to drive up with Manitoba Guy, and layed in bed.
"I'm really going to do this, aren't I?" I asked Matt.
He squeezed my hand.
And then, I fell asleep. I think all the worrying all day about numbers--64, 30%, 65, 15....it drained me.
And I had 6 glorious hours of sleep.
My IronDay was here.