I left for Florida on the Tuesday afternoon (5/16) before the race, feeling very good about having set two consecutive PB’s in the pool for 400 yds. during my morning swim. The flight was uneventful, and after driving up to Clermont, I headed over to fellow Timex Team member Kevin Grogan’s house for a quick run to loosen up the legs after flying. His wife was kind enough to get the carbo-load game kicked off with a great dinner afterwards.
Wednesday I headed over the NTC (National Training Center) for a swim. My swim was not fantastic, but I chalked it up to flying the day before. The pool at the NTC is really nice, and it was a rare treat to swim outside. Wednesday afternoon, I went for a SlowTwitch.com rendezvous ride with Kevin and Montreal-based ST’er Ted McGregor. We headed out over some nice rolling terrain to do a set of threshold intervals. I felt really strong during the warm-up, and the bike felt really great under power in “race trim.” My previous rides on the race set-up had just been systems’ checks around the block. I felt like my legs were clicking, and all the hard work I’d done on the bike was showing.
Thursday, I was back in the pool and had a really strong set, crushing my threshold set, just as I had on the bike. That afternoon, I went for a short run to get the legs firing.
Friday was a relaxed day with a short swim and ride, just flushing out the body.
Saturday was another SlowTwitch.com rendezvous, as several of us met to do our swim-ride-run brick at Lake Louisa State Park. We swam at a beach that had a huge sign warning us about alligators, but fortunately, nobody got eaten. Then we cruised around the park roads, firing up the legs, and finished off with a short run. Then it was off to Disney to pick up our race packets, check in the bikes, and get an important pre-race briefing. Keith, the Timex Team manager, was in town since 10 of us were racing, and he treated us all to lunch. I straightened out several of my teammates who were eating salads, reminding them that salads do not help you get to the finish line faster. Kevin abandoned his salad for some pizza and bread, and my advice clearly served him well, as he was 23rd overall the next day in 4:28:16. Who knows where that salad would have put him!
After lunch, I checked my bike into transition, setting up next to Tim DeBoom, who I was pretty sure would be shaved, showered, and back in Colorado by the time I finished. Then off to the pro-meeting, where I was pretty overwhelmed by the quality of the competition there. My #1 goal was to hold off Lisa Bentley, who ran by me like a freight train during my first ever half-ironman in St. Croix last year. I figured that at least I could improve on that performance. Overall, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I hoped I could finish in the top-8 overall, so that I could get some prize money to cover the cost of my trip. But most of the guys there had put in performances that were on a different level than what I had, so I was pretty nervous.
After the meeting, I headed back to my car and experienced what was fortunately the only real mishap of the day. I started to leave Disney, and realized that I didn’t know how to get back home. And, since I had been religously checking the IM Lanzarote results on my phone, I had drained my battery, so I couldn’t call Kevin to ask him. And of course, the payphone is now a dinosaur that was nowhere to be found… I knew Disney is pretty close to the Orlando Airport, so worse case scenario, I drive over there and then drive back to Clermont from there, since that I knew how to do. Of course, going that way took me on two VERY LONG sides of a triangle, instead of one very short one. Once I got home, I did what Simon recommends — I got horizontal (a.k.a. lay down). After a short rest, it was time for dinner, then a double check on directions to Disney for the next morning (so as not to repeat the afternoon’s misadventure), and then off to bed.
The story will continue in the next post — the actual race report…