Tuesday, 21 August 2012

This is it - the eve of an amazing day

I have been telling myself that all day, trying to push away the nervous and scared thoughts out of my head. There is a part of me that wants to run away from all this and return to what is safe and comfortable. Have a holiday with the family. Sleep in. Not get up at 4:30am. Not swim 4k in a morning at 7 degrees Celsius. Not punish myself over 222km after that. Be a spectator.

But that isn't why I signed up for this. These thoughts have made me forget the 6 months of hard training and dedication. Made me forget the years I dreamt of this very opportunity. Made me forget seeing Scott in the 2003 World Championships. Made me forget the support of family and of friends.

Today has been an emotional rollercoaster. Fear, excitement, joy, terror, regret, pride. Lots of second thoughts and second guessing. Hundreds of athletes still getting in rides and runs and swims today. I have done nothing for the last 3 days. Walking to the beach, realizing that tomorrow will be my first open water swim of the year - bad decision? Did I do enough hills? Did I do enough run training? Did I eat the right stuff today?

Thankfully, things here are organized and controlled in a spectacular manner. Bike and bag check-in were easy. The volunteers are exceptional. Today I realized that I have the wrong bracelet - one of the key elements here, and it was taken care of immediately and efficiently. I certainly am in good hands here, and it helps calm the nerves.

I dropped off my bags and bike before lunch today wanting to get the formalities out of the way so I could start to relax and prepare. The rest of the day was family time and fun. My wife and daughter made cheering signs, we enjoyed lunch and supper outdoors in the Village, we played in the hotel pool for a while. It made me happy and calm, but sad that I won't really see them tomorrow. Until this is all done.

And I think that is where some if the nerves come from. I want to share this day with them, and I want them to see me. I really don't know how much they will see me for, and I don't want to miss them when I go by. I want to see them every chance I can, and I don't want them to be waiting all day and never see me. I don't want them to miss me at the finish. We did this together and I want us to experience it together.

They want that too. My wife wrote "We are always with you" on my bike's number tag. My daughter drew a picture of the three of us at the finish line and put it in my bike box on the top tube. That made me cry, and I was happy I was wearing my sunglasses.

The weight of the day feels heavy right now. I hope like hell that I am ready. I keep telling myself "Piece by piece it will get done.". Ficus on the swim. One bike loop at a time. One run loop at a time. And remember who is traveling with me, and remember Robert. And remember what Mike Reilly said - "Think of it as a long training day with 2500 friends, and I will see you at the finish line."


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