My alarm went off at 4:30am. I actually slept pretty well so I felt rested and anxious to get started. I at my regular breakfast of 2 pieces of toast with almond butter. I also made myself a 16oz bottle of Gatorade and drank that on the way to the race site. I tried to eat a PowerBar but I just couldn’t get it down. The night before the race we had a pasta feast that included Lasagne and Spaghetti. I stuffed myself until I was over full so I was sure I had enough carbs in me to last a while without the PowerBar.
We arrived at the race site around 5:30am. Tim dropped me off at body marking and him, Jamieson and Brenda went to find a good place to watch the swim start from. Body marking was relatively organized. The woman who marked me wrote the wrong number on my arms. When I corrected her she said she would just scrub really hard to get the numbers off. Funny thing is that when you want the numbers to come off, they never do. She ended up ‘fixing’ the error and it seemed to be OK.
Once through body marking, I was off to find my drop boxes for my bike and run special needs bags. Found these easily and was on my way to transition to load my bike with bottles and fuel for the day. Because I had been training with all the products they offered on the course, I loaded my bike with two 16oz bottles of frozen blue/lemon lime mixed bottles. Blue and yellow make green so the colour of my Gatorade was quite an intense green. I then loaded the Bento box on my bike with 2 PowerBars cut in ½ and 4 Gels. This was only enough for ½ the 180kms of the bike but I was assured there would be plenty of PowerBars, PowerGels and Gatorade on the course. This was the case and I was glad I hadn’t packed too much food that would weigh me down.
Once I was happy with my bike, I headed over to the Port-o-Potty line up. By this time, most athletes had the same idea as me and the line up was about 30mins long. This gave me time to chat with a few people in the line. Turns out there were many first timers and a few locals in this line. I was getting pretty nervous by this time so the chatting was a nice distraction.
After a quality visit to the Port-o-Potty (you can make your own conclusions about what that means) I was putting on my wetsuit and out to the beach for my swim warm up. Just as I was about to leave transition for the beach, I heard my name being called. It was Clint Lien who I met last year in Tucson, AZ at the camp I attended. Standing by him was Jonathan Caron. This is when I was sure I was going to have a great day. Jonathan is the pro who placed 2nd at IMC 2007 and whose bike I now own and would be riding that day (yes, that bike in the photos on his website is now my bike!) I had never met him until that moment and he was super excited about me doing my first IM with his winning bike. So was I!
A few moments later I ran into my club mate George (Trifunster's husband) who wished me good luck. It was so great to see these supportive faces just as I was about to start. I made my way down to the beach for a warm up in the lake. By this time it was 6:30am and the pros were about to start at 6:45am. The next 30 minutes passed like 2 seconds. Before I knew it, the pros were off. I positioned myself just behind where the pros started for the swim and the next thing I remember was the countdown…
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…air horn (no cannon this year, not sure why)