As I write this only a few days remain until the biggest race of the year: Ironman Sweden. Most people would cringe at the mere prospect of doing one of the things that are part of a full-Iron distance race, let alone all three one after the other. But I did it last year and here we are again, one year later. Time sure flies.
You think you can prepare for everything, but there is always something you didn't anticipate. Last year my back started hurting on the bike and my stomach gave up on the run. Well, this year I've addressed both of those issues. I have a new triathlon bike, the Cervelo P3, which I really like, it feels like a dream to ride long distances on compared to the Specialized Tarmac with clip-on bars that I rode last year. I also intend to modify my nutrition by sticking to Indie Bars on the bike instead of the Snickers I relied on last year and by trying not to consume anything solid at all during the run.
Other than that, there isn't much that can be done because there's always the possibility for the unforseen to happen. When I did Mallorca 70.3 back in May that unforseen thing was forgetting to put socks in my T2 bag which made for a very uncomfortable 21k and abrasions on my feet that took 3 weeks to heal up. This time, I'll triple check what goes into my transition bags. But what else? As long as I survive the swim I can only hope that the bike holds together and that I don't get any flats. Just get on the bike and pray, sort of. If worse comes to worst I'll have a couple of Pit Stop and CO2 canisters taped to the frame and a spare tire under the saddle. Considering the hours of sweat and cursing I spent getting those tubulars on I sure hope I won't need it.
At least I don't have the extreme anxiety I had last year (especially with regards to the swim). I've done this before, I know I can swim fast enough, I know the course, the frequency of aid stations, what do go for in terms of nutrition and what to stay away from. All this means I can at least be more relaxed and see this as something fun and not an unknown. While I'd certainly prefer to be faster than last year I'll simply settle for finishing. After all, it is a full Ironman and anything can happen to anyone, even being a pro doesn't make you safe!
So, survive the swim, don't overcook those legs on the bike, stay to the nutrition plan and I should run (sort of) through that finish gate around 6pm Saturday after a 12 hour effort. I have bib number 1070 if you want to follow me.