Honestly I'm at a loss for words currently. I really anticipated blogging more frequently this week, but my mind has been a jumbled mess. The packing, the nerves, the doubts, the last minute tasks, the overwhelming excitement. It's been very hard to focus. I flew into Louisville on Thursday morning and did all my athlete check-in requirements before the crowds arrived on Friday. Thursday evening was very relaxing and my parents arrived with all my gear. Friday morning I slept in until 8:30 and then went for a short ride on the first few miles of the bike course. My parents and I then drove the bike course to get a lay of the land before heading back to the hotel for a couple of hours of relaxation before the athlete banquet. Friday evening we attended the welcome banquet and then I had a mandatory athlete briefing at 7:30PM where they went over points of emphasis about the course, pre-race, post-race, and everything in between. This morning I woke up about 6:45AM and hit the Ohio river for a quick practice swim at 8AM. The rest of the day has been spent icing my Achilles, packing my gear bags, and now writing this blog. My nerves are definitely starting to build. I've been fairly calm all week until now. I think it's finally hitting me that it's about to happen. The atmosphere in town is interesting. You can feel a lot of nerves. You can feel a lot of energy. There is movement all around. People running, people biking, people swimming. It's really cool to see all the active lifestyles merge together for one big event. I've tried to avoid being on my feet all the time. My Achilles isn't happy with me the last few days which is concerning. I know it's going to hurt tomorrow. I just hope it holds off hurting for at least part of the run.
As far as expectations for tomorrow, I do have a few. I'm fairly confident in my swim and bike currently. I feel like I've put in the time there. The big question mark is obviously the run. I haven't ran since the first part of July. I've definitely put in the time on the elliptical, but it only goes so far when you are trying to run a marathon. I'm hoping that physically my legs and Achilles will hold up long enough to make it through most of the run. My plan is to run/walk as much as I can and hopefully avoid an all-walk fest. I'll use pain as a guide and alter my plan accordingly. The big goal is to finish. Finish before midnight and complete this chapter in my book of life. I really want to say thanks again for all the support. Each swim stroke, each pedal stroke, and each step will be powered by the support from all of my friends and family.
For those of you wanting to follow along. You can go to www.ironmanlive.com to follow me throughout the day. My bib number is #1001 or you can search my last name : Sloan. I really have no idea when I'll cross the line, but here are a few estimates:
Swim - 1:30 to 1:45 (All three 2.4 mile swims during training were around 1:30 to 1:35)
T1 - 10 minutes
Bike - 6:30ish (Not sure how the hills will show up in my bike time so this is a conservative estimate)
T2 - 10 minutes
Run - ??? I'm guessing it's going to be a 5+ hour day on the run course.
Who knows what tomorrow will hold? I'm hopeful that the race day adrenaline will help ease some of the pain in my Achilles. I'll control the parts I can (nutrition, attitude, and heart) and let the rest of it fall into place. Dream big. Work hard. Make it happen. Let's do this.