Hard to believe the time is here, but Ironman Lake Tahoe will take place TOMORROW!
Truckee/Tahoe is all abuzz with pre-race jitter, and it is awesome! Riders clutter the roads along the course (as they have done most of the summer); compression socks can be regularly spotted downtown; Ironman banners line Truckee, Squaw and Tahoe city; and I’ve seen more than my fair share of dudes cruising around with either an M-Dot tattoo or the same design shaved in their head (and then dyed red, in one case). The Village at Squaw has been converted to the “Ironman Village,” and the mile markers are up on the course. My transition bags are (almost) packed, my bike is prepped and ready to roll (thanks to the fabulous crew at Paco’s Truckee Bike and Ski), and I’m locked and loaded with all the Clif/LUNA products I need to get myself through a long day of racing. Later today I will set up my transitions, and then it will be one last sleep before go time, bright and oh-so-early Sunday morning.
Just one last sleep before the big event, after a long and intense period of preparation and very hard work. I decided last fall to sign up for this event — and miss the coinciding Xterra National Championship — because the opportunity just seemed too ideal to miss out on. I didn’t know at the time just how important the race would become to me. Given the changes that have taken place with my season due to my injury this spring, this is now one of my two most important races of the season (the second being the upcoming Xterra World Championship, in October). I have put a lot of eggs in this basket, so to speak, and put in a whole lot of very hard, very focused training, specifically tailored to this event. It’s been several weeks of insanely long hours on the bike, on the running trails, and in the lakes and/or pool… all in anticipation of Ironman Lake Tahoe, right here in my backyard — and my quest for a slot at the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2014.
And now, here we are… the moment has arrived! The preparation is done, the hard work completed, and now it’s all about the execution. It’s been a while since my last full Iron-distance race (having missed the two I had scheduled earlier this year, due to my injury), but I am ready. I have done all the right things to lead to a successful day tomorrow. I have had some great workouts these past couple weeks that serve as promising reminders that I am ready. This helps to boost my confidence and put me at ease amidst a lot of excitement for such a big race. While I’ve done four Iron-distance races before, only one of them was a Kona qualifier, and I certainly didn’t have the kind of chance I have now to qualify, so the stakes were far different.There is definitely a little bit of a sense of pressure, but I’m trying to keep it all in perspective and focus on my own race and the things I need to do to execute the day I know I can achieve. As long as I do that, and go out there and give it everything I’ve got, then the chips can fall where they may.
This will be a different Ironman experience than my others in so many ways. Yes the stakes are higher, and my expectations much more so, but I am also more prepared than I have ever been for this day. Never before have I had the pleasure of racing such a big event in my own hometown backyard, and that is going to be amazing! I know all the in’s and out’s of the course, I’ve got home-altitude advantage, and I can hardly believe the number of friends and family members who will be out on the course cheering me along. It is going to be SO fun to see familiar faces out there, and I am so grateful for the amazing support, encouragement and well-wishes I have received from near and far! This also makes me a little more nervous in some ways, as it won’t be quite the usual Ironman experience where I am just out there on my own, experiencing the normal ups and downs of a long race day, isolated to my own experience. The pre-race experience is also quite different, as I’m still trying to balance other work obligations and “normal life” this week leading up to the event, whereas normally I can be more exclusively focused on the race since I’m away from home. So while I have the comforts of home, I’ve also got some of the ‘stresses’ of home, too. But perhaps having some distractions is a good thing. For now, I’m just focused on staying as relaxed as possible, staying in the moment, and enjoying this experience of being part of such an amazing inaugural event right here in Tahoe.
Things will definitely be interesting tomorrow. The weather has made it clear that winter is on its way, and today brings rain, very high winds and cold temperatures. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for clear skies and less wind (fortunately!), but very cold temps in the morning (freezing) that will lead to an extremely chilly first part of the bike, but hopefully no ice on the roads — fingers crossed!! People are pretty stressed about the conditions, but I am trying to take it in stride and remember that it is the same for everyone. Besides, I am a mountain girl, and we tend to love anything that is not for the faint of heart, so I will just try to make the best of it, and be ready for anything!
With Ironman racing, and especially here on such a challenging course and in tough conditions, anything can happen on any given day, regardless of what you have done to prepare. There are no guarantees. All we can do is give our best in the moment, and leave it all out there, and that is exactly what I plan to do. I have done all I can to be ready to achieve my goals. I don’t know what my competitors have been up to or how they are feeling, but I cannot worry about that. All I can do is control my own race, and make the very most of my experience. Kona spot or no Kona spot, I plan to give it my all, have as much fun as possible, and race with 100% of my heart. But when we hit that crystal clear water at 6:40 a.m. tomorrow, you’d best believe I will be gunning for that spot!
Thank you so, so much to all of you who have called, written, sent texts, etc. to wish me well. And to all of you who will be giving up a part of your day tomorrow to come see me on the course, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. This is going to be one very special event thanks to all of you, and I am so very excited. Bring it on, Ironman LT! See you at the finis line. 🙂