Tuesday, December 21, 2010

IMWA: The Day Before

You're less than twenty-four hours from the biggest race of your life. You've completed all of your important training runs, rides and swims. You're trying your best to rest and reset. There are only a few things left to do.

Groom. At this point, I hadn't shaved in weeks (and hadn't cut my hair in months), so in keeping with my typical swimmer's pre-race tradition, I spent some quality time with my razor (and the barber's clippers).

Shave and a haircut, two bits. (Before)

If I had been at home, it would have been easy - I have my own set of clippers there and a buzz is pretty simple to do on your own - but I wasn't. We found the oldest, most authentic-looking barber shop in town. If I'm paying for a haircut, I figured, I might as well have them do something I couldn't do myself. Besides, how many times in your life do you get to go into the shop and say something to the barber as crazy as, "Give me a mohawk?"

Prep. Streamlined, I took to giving my bike a final once-over and packing my transition bags.  You pack two bags - one for the first transition and another for the second - and check them in the night before the race. As you're coming into transition, volunteers will pull your transition bag and hand it to you as you enter the changing area. As you can imagine, it's kind of important that you pack everything you will actually need during transition, and pack it all into the correct bag.

Check-in, like a monkey ready to be shot into space. (After)

Pray. It was the night before the biggest race of my life... but it was also a Saturday night, and on Saturday nights, I go to church. Needless to say, I had a lot to pray for (and a lot to be thankful for).

Eat. There's not much more important than you're pre-race meal, and much to the disbelief of Russ, the other competitor sharing the chalet, mine wasn't much of a departure from my usual dinner. Kristine helped me assemble a massive, hearty salad - greens, broccoli, some avocado, chicken, dried cranberries and diced apples. It contrasted greatly with Russell's more traditional carbo-load meal of gnocchi and eggs.

Sleep. Bike and bags checked, stomach full, gear laid out for the morning and a ridiculous 3:30 AM wake-up on tap meant an early bedtime. I wasn't sure I'd be able to sleep, but honestly, I didn't have those nervous jitters that used to keep me awake before big swim meets. In fact, I had no nerves at all. I slept like a baby.

Transition bags, neatly racked and organized for tomorrow's race