6/28/14

Race ready for Ironman Austria!


After another good night of sleep, I woke up around 5:45am and had a good pre workout snack of WASA + PB + Banana slices and granola/raisins and water and coffee and then we got our bikes ready for our last warm-up ride. 
We drove to the race venue and parked before things got busy for there were two athlete meetings that morning (9 and 10am) as well as the Iron Girl race at 11am (run). 


We rode about 50 minutes total on the back part of the course (headed out first backward on the course) so that we could see the last 5 or so miles of the course. After the bike we did a short 10 min run to wake up the legs and then walked to the athlete briefing (in English). 
I always encourage athletes to go to the athlete meeting before a race for you never know what information you will need to hear that is important for your race. I always want to be prepared and many times, attending the race meeting can ease many pre race nerves (always good to control the controllables). 


After we came home around 10:30 (after a quick stop at the grocery), we had a good morning meal and then officially packed up our race bags. Since we can access our bags on race morning, we can put our race nutrition in our bags (and on bike) on race day morning. 
For my bike bag:
110% Flat out compression socks
Giro attack helmet
Commit sunglasses (Oakley Women)
Bontrager cycling shoes
Race bib (required on back) w/ belt (and safety pins attached)
Hand towel

For my run bag:
Brooks pure flow run shoes
My dad's favorite Corvette hat (Karel will be wearing my dad's other favorite hat)


We were told no ribbons on bags so even though I brought them I was unable to tie them on my bags to easily locate my bags.
There were designated times for checking in our bikes so I checked in my first, followed by Karel. 
Karel and I are both All World Athletes (award given to us and many others from Ironman) which allowed us to check in our bikes at 12:30-1pm with the pros but we decided to wait to check in our bikes when we could see a crowded transition area to help us visualize for race day. 


The volunteers checked our bike to make sure it had all necessary parts and was race ready with numbers attached. 
We then walked through a tent (men's changing tent) and a volunteer took a picture of our bike.
Next we racked our bike and run bags in the designated areas according to our numbers. There was no order to racking the bags, just in the range of bib numbers. 


After racking my bags, I located my bike rack near the end of the transition area (what a huge transition area for 3000 athletes!!) and found a spot in the middle of the rack. 


After I racked my bike and covered her up with the bike bags that were given to us (in case it rains), I waited for Karel. 


As I waited, I mentally walked through the swim to bike, bike to run transition over and over, including getting my bag, going into the changing tent, etc. 


Even though this is Karel's 2nd Ironman, let me tell you that even with 7 Ironman's behind me, it is still a bit overwhelming to put everything together for 140.6 miles of racing in just two bags, the day before the race. But it always feels good when you walk out of transition area with just yourself and all you have to do on race day morning is arrive with your swim gear and anything extra for the bike/run. 


I was totally jealous of Karel's end of the rack bike spot but when we walked over to my bike to let out some tire pressure due to the heat today/tonight, I noticed there was a free spot that just opened up on my rack!


YIPPE!


We can not thank you all enough for your continued support with our international IM journey. I still can't believe that the day is finally here for it feels like so long ago that we registered for this dream race. 
So much has affected us in positive and negative ways over the past year and we could not be more grateful for the ongoing kind words and enthusiasm as we continue to love life and to make great memories together. 

It was only 32 days ago that I said good bye to my dad. 
There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my dad and wish he was still here with me, enjoying life and making the most of every day.  He was always so proud of me and my "real athlete" husband (Karel earned that title from my dad after he finished his first IM.) :) 

I know that if he was still here, he would be loving all my amazing pictures in beautiful Austria and we expect daily Facetime calls with him and my mom for they always got super excited when it came to my triathlons, especially the Ironman.


Back in 2011 I was able to share my Ironman World Championship experience with my parents and this was the last Ironman that my parents were able to physically be at with me. 

However, even with IM Lake Placid and the IM World Championship last summer, it was still great knowing that I was able to speak to my parents before and after the race and know that regardless of how I did, they were super excited to track me and to celebrate another amazing accomplishment with my healthy body. 


The Ironman journey is different for everyone for we all have our own reasons for committing to the journey of training for a 140.6 mile race. I know that for some people, it is to do the impossible but for a large number of people, it is for a greater reason than just earning the "Ironman finisher" title. 

There is always a mix of emotions on the day before an Ironman and many times, it is a mix of nerves, excitement, uncertainties, fears, worries, relief, happiness, joy and positive energy. 
One thing I have learned throughout the past 7 years of Ironman racing (starting at the age of 24) is that there are no certainties on race day and a lot of things out of your control. There are guarantees as to how the day will turn out for the IM day is all about constant motion and overcoming obstacles. 
My dad never wasted a day of his life and even when he was diagnosed with an incurable case of cancer and battled this horrible cancer for the last 10 months of his life, my dad continued to celebrate life with me. 
Despite uncontrollables in his life, my dad never ever gave up. He continued to fight when others would have probably given up. 
I know tomorrow is going to be a special day for many reasons and I look forward to racing with Karel and celebrating my dad's amazing 67 years of life. I have only lived for 32 years and have already created mountains of memories.
I look forward to everything that tomorrow will bring to me, knowing that my dad will give me strength when I need it and he will have the best seat in the house for 140.6 miles. 

Swim 2.4 miles
Bike 112 miles
Run 26.2 miles

Thank you body. 

Marni bib #857
Karel bib #1598

Live Stream TV: CLICK HERE

Ironman Austria website (Athlete tracking, photos, live coverage, finish line video, etc.)
Race start: 7am local time (1am EST)