I've arrived the day before the race. I'm feeling nervous and excited. I've trained consistently for months and months to the best of my ability. I have no regrets. I've built the structure for race day one training session at a time. Now it's time to execute the plan. I found some tips from Mark Allen:
The first tip: Realize that no race will ever go as planned. Have this be part of your race strategy, and be prepared to deal with the unexpected.
Second tip: You don't have to feel great during the race to have the race of your life. In fact, you could feel bad the entire day and still come up with the race of your dreams. Any negative effect that feeling bad might have on your race will be accentuated by placing importance on having to feel good to race well. [NB - Embrace the Suck.]
Third tip: Eating, drinking and pace are the three most important variables that you can work with to maximize your body's ability to keep going. Reach for those first if you are feeling like you need something extra or that your energy is dipping. Eat a little to get energy, drink a little to make sure you are hydrated and slow your pace down just about a half a percent so you relax for a moment and see if this brings things around.
Fourth tip: The most important element overall is going to be your attitude. With a positive attitude miracles can occur. With a negative one, disaster is certain. The catch is that in the midst of going as fast as you can and having your body going into full mutiny over it, a positive attitude can be just about impossible to conjure up.
Solution? Think no thoughts. Yes, stop that brain of yours from getting in the way of what you are trained to do. Have no thought. Have you practiced it? Can you do it under pressure? This simple skill will help take you past impossible moments when your logical brain is telling you your goal is way out of reach. It keeps you on track when thoughts would derail your efforts. Simple yet powerful.
Race day essentials
I've filled the training bank. Now it's time to make the withdrawal.
The fear peaked and dissipated. I did my last two training sessions: 30 sweaty minutes on the bike then a 15-minute run. The sea was too rough and I couldn't be bothered to ride across town in a hurry to the public pool that is open in the summer for a 30-minute swim. So I "air swam" a bit with elastic cords. Will review swimming focus points tonight.
Then I watched the time trials and cheered for Cadel Evans. What an inspiring ride. What strength. Though I wonder whether he left 8 seconds on the course. I wanted him to win the stage too.
Swim - Was a bit complacent with volume of pool training. But confident that I can make the time limit. Credit myself for learning Total-Immersion swim techniques and regularly swimming in open water. So much nicer than the pool.
Bike - worked hard here; found a lot of power and stamina I didn't know I had. That and sweat.
Run - I'm faster and stronger with healthy legs. Wish I was a bit lighter, but it is what it is. I need to break the mental barrier I have with 10-min. miles. I'm always surprised to see that I can run faster than a 6 min kilometer. So I will pace myself and hope that a Tri-Half Marathon is only 30 seconds a mile slower than a regular one.
Mental - I've studied the course, learned a lot from the DNF last year, and the duathlon this year. I feel like a total success already because I'm well prepared and healthy at the start. What more can I ask?
Leave it all on the course - saving some for the run. Pick up the pieces afterwards.
Send strength in every stroke, spin and step to the families of the children of Norway.