We decided to leave the bikes at the cars and go run through athlete check-in first. Life was pretty good, I felt really relaxed, we stopped to take a couple goofy pics on the walk to the park and then it happened. As we came up over the hill and could see Lake Michigan, my stomach decided it hated me and my mind opened the door to every doubt I’ve ever had. I set some kind of land speed record with just how fast I went from being fine to total and complete panic! I stopped dead in my tracks! The Mom noticed pretty quickly and asked if I was ok, I informed her that I was trying very hard to keep breakfast where I put it.
As we walked along the little boardwalk I was wondering what in the hell I was doing here. There was no way I had any right to be here, yes, I’d put in the work, but was it enough? I remember seeing the Ironman tent, full of all the official IMMI gear and there was an athlete meeting going on. There were a few more pics in front of the Ironman Village sign, but to be honest I felt like a zombie, I was just sorta wondering around in a little bit of a fog. We found athlete check-in and I felt a little better until I got my timing chip and then the panic started all over again. This went on for the better part of 20 minutes. I had a brief conversation with KB where she reminded me that I was going to be fine. And just as fast as it came on, all the nerves and doubt vanished and I was fine again.
We investigated the transition areas, figured out that where we needed to go for each stage of the race, we hit body marking and got our race numbers written on both arms and our ages on our left legs. We found our spots on the bike racks, scoped out the bathroom situation and made a mental plan for tomorrow. I gave MK a huge hug and thanked her for talking me into the insanity!
Things were good until we got back to the cars and unladed the bikes. My bike seemed fine, but MK had an issue with her front brake, and by “issue” I mean it didn’t work at all. We headed back up to the Iroanman Village to see if one of the bike shops there could fix it up. I believe it was at that point the KB got stung by a bee. (yes, she’s allergic!) Our great day was hitting some speed bumps! MK was told that there were a few bikes ahead of hers and it could be awhile before they got to it. We decided to take the time and do a practice swim. The beach was still open to the public and while there were a handful of beachgoers, the vast majority of the people there were in wetsuits and swim caps.
The water was wonderful!! It was in the low 70s with a slight breeze and minimal waves. The current was going with the direction of the swim tomorrow, everything seemed in our favor. I did a little swimming parallel with the beach and checked my watch, I nearly had a heart attack, I wasn’t working at all and had a pace well under my normal, by about 30s/100y (that’s insane!). KB joined us after taking something for the bee sting and we may have tried to drown her a time or two! More laughs, more fun and a huge confidence boost.
We hit the Ironman store and bought t-shirts, hats, backpacks, you name it. The only thing I didn’t get was the “Finisher” shirt, I didn’t want it until I’d earned it!
MK’s bike was still at the shop, so I took mine out for a quick spin and she felt great. I get her checked into transition and racked for the night. MK’s bike was still at the shop and they gave no real indication of when it might be done. At this point we all needed to eat and I realized I was getting sun burned. Mom and I headed back to the hotel.
Mom went to get some dinner, I ate what I had brought with me and some leftovers form the night before. I pulled together everything I would need for the race and got everything sorted by event. I felt pretty good, I had stuff pretty well organized. I had checked in with CK, they were on their way over and we had a plan for in the morning. I played a little Xbox, watched Finding Nemo and Brave with the Mom and just relaxed. I kept waiting for the nerves and panic to return.
MK and KB got back to the hotel much later than anyone had hoped, but her bike was repaired enough to use tomorrow and was checked in and racked for the night like mine.
I started to get phone calls, text messages and emails as the evening wore on. The one that got me was from my youngest brother DK. He was unable to come because of college, so he sent me a few text messages. He told me good luck, that he believed in me, that he was proud of me and to remember to smile and have fun. The little shit made me cry! I love that boy! After a few more text messages I had his jersey number #8, somehow that number would go with me tomorrow.