The checklist for dealing with me on race weekend

The countdown is into single digits for the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas.

Oh my. Where did the training time go?

It was just a few weeks ago I was recovering from a disappointing half marathon in Miami with the big race events on my schedule — the 70.3 in Texas, the 70.3 at Musselman and the Iron Distance Esprit Montreal, seemingly eons away.

The question most frequently asked: Are you ready for Texas?

The answer: I really don’t know.

I mean, I think so, but it’s difficult to tell. Training in a cold weather climate poses some challenges. There will be no open water swimming under my belt for 2010 before I head for Texas and while the majority of my running has been outdoors, not nearly enough of my cycling has the road for me to feel confident in my legs.

But I feel fit. I feel healthy. And I feel as if the weekend will be one big adventure.

Actually, I know it will be since I’m competing with a good friend of mine, heretofore known as “Walker.”

Walker and I grew up together. She was a swimmer in high school and has since taken to running, qualifying and completing her first Boston Marathon last year.

She deferred her Boston Marathon qualification for this year and entered the 70.3 race with me. For her, it’s part of training for Ironman Lake Placid this summer. For me, it’s preparation for Esprit Montreal.

For both of us, it’s a chance to share a fun weekend, an event that’s part race, part training and all friendship and laughter.

And as a public service to Walker (and to any other friends who in the future may be with me at races) there are some important things she should know about me, triathlon, preparation and race day.

1. Food is important. It will likely be the only thing I remember on a consistent basis about a racing trip. I need to eat every 2-3 hours and I will be thinking about where to eat dinner the night before the race starting, oh, Thursday morning.

2. Water and gatorade are important. I will drink often and consequently need to go to the bathroom a lot.

3. I will be obsessed with getting in the water the day before the race. I need some semblance of confidence in the water. This is a general rule. This is more important for this race where (a) not have gotten in my wetsuit or open water yet this year and (b) have never been in salt water and hence need to get used to the lovely taste.

4. The sight of the big orange buoys will freak me out.

5. I will get up obscenely early because I’m afraid of oversleeping and I need to have coffee in the morning.

6. I will worry about making the swim cutoff.

7. I will likely hug my bike before I leave it overnight in transition.

8. No matter how evolved or confident I can be otherwise, I will feel uncomfortable when I first put on my tri suit.

9. At some point, I will realize this whole process is really pretty simple, rendered more complicated by our brains and the marketplace.

10. After hyperventilating at the sight of the big, orange buoys, I will remember how fortunate I am to be a triathlete. I will remember how much I love this. I will be filled with gratitude. And when the race is over, it will seem like it all went by too quickly.

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