Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Race day: Getting ready

I set my alarm for 5:06.  My race number was 506.  How's that for a nice little bit of synchronicity on race morning!  Everything I had read said to eat something but not to do anything new, so I made my oatmeal, added the walnuts and craisins, and despite the jittery feeling in my stomach, ate it down.  Everything I read also said not to have caffeine on race morning, so I skipped my usual one cup of dark roast and opted for water.

The night before I had packed all my gear, checked and rechecked it, and checked again.  Shoes, check. Helmet with race number affixed, check.  Sunglasses, check.  Bike jersey, check.  Race belt with number attached, check.  Towel, check.  Goggles, check.  Swim cap, check.  Lip gloss, check.  Wait.  Lip gloss?  Well, I don't like the feel of dry lips so, yes, lip gloss went in, too.  And I used it, too.  Cost me a second or two, but it was worth it.

It was dark when we left home.  We were told to arrive an hour and a half ahead of the 8:00 start time.  There is a lot to set up and go over before the start of a triathlon and I was glad I had that much time.  We parked down the road and I wheeled my bike, while Coty carried my gear.  I had packed it all into an empty detergent bucket, which would, during transition, double as a stool.  Nice little tip I picked up online.

I didn't feel like talking much.  Arriving at the site made me feel a little more nervous and I just wanted to get my bearings.  There were so many people, but everything was well organized and plenty of neon green shirted volunteers were there to answer questions.

Coty and I found the timing chip table and I picked up my timing chip and ankle bracelet.  Then we  walked to the transition area.  Only competitors are allowed inside transition, so I left Coty and went to find the bike rack with my number on it, and set up my little transition spot, a bright blue striped beach towel, which could be found easily, on the ground near my bike.  I lined up my shoes and race belt and laid my helmet down with straps out, sunglasses inside it, open and ready to put on.  I laid the lip gloss beside my helmet.  The bike jersey I thought I might wear if it was cool, was unzipped, ready to slip into.

Once my transition spot was ready, I found Coty and we located the start and finish of each leg, making sure I was clear on where I would go.  Come out the doors of the pool, through the pool finish arch to my bike rack.   From the rack, through the bike start arch to the mount line.  After the bike, dismount and through the bike finish arch.  Rack the bike and to the run start arch.  Each of these arches had a timing mat so that when each person crossed the mat, it would pick up the signal from the ankle bracelet timing chip and log the split time.  Does this sound complicated?  It did to me, too, when I was reading about it beforehand.  That's why it was so good to have so much time before the start of the race to make sure I understood it all.

Sorry it's a bit blurry - it was early and still a little dark.  This is the transition area with bike racks.  
Notice the balloons?  Women put those up to mark their rack and make it easy to find.  
That's a lot of bikes, so any little thing you can do to make it easier to navigate transition helps.  
I tied a piece of bright blue sari fabric onto the end of the rack where my bike was.

The pool was open for a while before the start, too, to allow racers to swim a few laps.  I took advantage of that and swam four laps, practicing going under the lane ropes a few times.  That little swim took a bit of the edge off the jitters and made me feel more ready to start.  The only problem is that when I got out of the pool, I had to go back outside to await the start.  Since it was a chilly morning, I got cold.  But looking around at all those women in tri-suits and swim caps, I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling the chill.

Outside before the start.  A whole lot of women feeling the chill or early morning and ready to go!

Wet from the "warm up" swim and cold and just ready to go

We waited outside the aquatic center for ten minutes or so.  Coty was with me, arms around me to keep me a little warmer, and just being quiet support.  At one point, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around and there was my sister!  Annie had said she was coming, but I didn't expect to see her before the race.  Her husband and son, Joseph, were there, too.  Seeing them and knowing they would be there just made me happy!  And happy is a good way to be at the start of a race!

After a welcome and a few announcements from race officials, it was finally go-time!

It's go-time for other things for me this morning, so I'll stop for now.  More about the race later ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, we've done this early morning thing so many times--mats and chips included. It's not so fun to get up, but it's a nice feeling once you get out there and feel the excitement. Then again, I'm usually just part of the support team, not the slightly nervous competitor!