There may be a high degree of randomness in this one – hang on! First some quick context via a back door brag. I’ve done 9 Ironman Distance Races and about 50 1/2 Ironman Distance Races. Back in the day, when these events used to have a carbo – loading dinner the tone was often like this picture. Whose is bigger, faster, longer, stronger? It gave the athletes (primarily male) a chance to let all the other athletes know (before there was Strava and Facebook) just how good their equipment was and how much they were training. Talk about Power V’s and Deep HEDs and 25 hour taper weeks were table fodder.
My impressions from the Ultraman meet and greet (not really a carbo – loading affair) were much more like this picture. Steve Brown has really crafted a family like (dare I say cult like) vibe. With only 12 other participants, there is no opportunity to be some anonymous blow hard big shot, which I sometimes am at triathlon socials. I did not see one “I raced at Kona, so look at me you poor mortals and despair” t-shirts. Instead, what I saw, heard, and participated in were just a bunch of genuine conversations about why people decided to sign up for the Ultra, some advice giving from those who had done it before, and talk about their home country (there are quite a few non-Canadians doing the race). Not once did I hear a reference to an 11/58 fixie that dude rode all winter for base training! Just like a group of junkies chatting to each other about their favourite way to rig up, by being with a group of peers who had done eight hour bike rides and four hour treadmill runs seemed to normalize or validate my experiences of the past months.
Right now it is almost 8 AM on Friday August 4th. I’m not really thinking about the race. That is partly because to me, right now at least, it isn’t a race. It is more of an expedition. I have my supplies and my crew. The training did NOT go well but it is done. As average of an athlete as I am right now (2 minute and 10 seconds for 100 metres of swimming, a 5.8 miles per hour running speed average for a half marathon, and an FTP on the bike of 200 watts) one thing that I am good at is playing the hand that I have been dealt wisely. There will be no athletic acts of heroism this weekend, just a relaxed but focused drive for each day’s finish line. To get there here are a few things I need to remember
- Slowing down is ok, so is stopping – but no longer than 1 minute.
- Your stomach is going to hurt, but not for the whole event, peaks and valleys.
- Just because your stomach is hurting doesn’t mean you stop eating, keep trying different stuff.
- Puking is ok. Try it. You may like it. Hit the reset button. Get ugly when needed.
- Draw on tusk power every day.
If your energy or interest is crashing, it means you need more sugar.
That’s it for now. My next post will likely be when this is all done, I might have a few things to write about.