Count down to Ironwoman
24 weeks of training down and only three days to go until the big race. This is my longest and most gear-intensive race so far and there’s a ton I need to get together in the next 24 hours. Little packages have been arriving all week, things like Tailwind (my favorite powdered drink mix), a box of carmel-salted Gu (the only flavor I can stomach and only available online) S-Caps (salt tabs for when all the other electrolytes fail), and a brand new pair of padded bike shorts (the ones I’ve been wearing all summer are now see-through in the back).
If you’ve ever prepared for a big event you might recognize the overwhelming urge to buy new shiny things right before, as if a new pair of hot pink calf compression sleeves will make everything ok. I have learned to resist this urge, but I did agree to rent a pair of fancy bike tires for the weekend. Fun and fast, what could be the harm? And instead of buying a new shirt I am sewing up my old one to make it less flappy in the wind. Oh yeah, and I spent a couple hours with Dick at Kingdom Bikes this morning getting my bike fit adjusted. He shimmed up my left shoe to make my hips more level and maybe, just maybe, to help with the nagging plantar fasciitis on that side.
The advantage of living in this rural area is that I have to go to at least five different stores to collect everything I need, and there are at least three people I know and need to chat with at each place so getting my food and gear together ends up being a highly social, all-day experience. For better or worse!
So far I’ve collected goat’s milk fudge from John Edwards (the store, not the politician). This stuff is pure sugar, but somehow feels more solid than Gu and hits the spot around mile 80 on the bike. Then off to the Blue Hill Wineshop for Tinderhearth Bread. I got a Focaccia for my cousin and training partner Sam because she just got back from France and at the Lobsterman Tri last weekend she was trying to prolong her Parisian culinary experience with a Trader Joe’s baguette. This is not a tragedy that needs to be repeated. Then to the Blue Hill Co Op for a few Sunspire chocolate coconut bars. And Tradewinds for a package of gluten-free vanilla sandwich cookies. Yes, I am going to be so ready for the fall cleanse after this!!!
Then to the hardware store to buy electric tape so I can re-wrap my handle bars (I tore the ends of the tape when I *almost* backed over my bike a few weeks ago, it’s a long story . . .) and spare batteries for my headlamp which I really really hope I won’t need.
Then to the drug store to collect bandaids, Tegaderm for the nasty blisters I obtained in last weekend’s race because it was so hot I had to wear shoes so I wouldn’t get burned on the pavement, but I never wear shoes and they eat my feet up . . .
Oh, and a bottle of Aleve, which I haven’t used since 2000, but might come in handy given how inflamed my left foot has been. And Epsom salts. I’ve been soaking my foot in scalding hot water every night for a week. I learned this brutal technique from the Curanderas in Central America who universally treat all my injuries by plunging them into a boiling pan of plant parts (toothlessly cackling and holding down the body part while I scream and writhe in pain.) So far it is working and my foot has been slowly healing all week. I’ve also been getting help from Dr. Sarah DePreter who patiently tries to put me back together after I insist on biking, running and swimming too far and too often. The problem is I tore a couple ligaments in my ankle 20 years ago and there’s not much left to hold the bones in place once she gets them where they are supposed to be.
After the bike fit with Dick I went for a 30mile ride to test everything out. My foot felt pleasantly neutral after the ride, and I ran a mile with Georgia around the track to try out my Hoka shoes. Aside from the incredible awkwardness of running in marshmallow-like casts, I was sort of pain-free. Unfortunately somehow between the end of my ride and tonight I mysteriously gouged my front bike tire. The actual tire is ripped, not just the tube, so now I’ve got to scrounge up a spare tire and tube.
I have one more day to collect and pack. One more session with Gerry to work out the fascia in my left leg, and one more day to help get the girls and Jerome set up for three days without mom.
I hope to get to Hunter, NY in time to preview the bike course and get a handle on gear and water stations. I keep telling myself, even if I don’t get that handle bar tape wrapped up before Saturday morning, even if the blisters on my feet don’t heal, and even if I forget running shoes (again) I will be fine. I will be fine. I can totally do this. I am well rested, and super strong and healthy and I have until MIDNIGHT to finish the course. (And I really hope I didn’t just jinx myself!).