Friday, December 18, 2009

The Plan for 2010

I met with Coach Pain last week to discuss the plans for 2010. She spent an hour with me, talking about goals, and not laughing out loud when I told her I'd signed up for Arizona. That in itself is amazing, because I can't always stop myself from laughing. It's one thing when you have a goal, it's another thing when you can actually verbalize to a coach and they say, yes, we can help you reach your goal. Wow.

So, she looked at my race times from this year, which were surprisingly the same, regardless of the distance. Of course, mostly sprints at the beginning of the summer, and with training, able to keep the speed as the distances increased. And she said that my swim times were good, and so were my run times- if I can keep those paces during the Ironman, I'll be in good shape to finish on time. The problem is the bike. So to improve my cycling, she listed a number of things- two indoor spins and one long bike per week. During the spins, focus on pushing a higher heartrate- wear the HRM! During hill portions of spins, focus on hitting the right cadence in the big ring as this will be more like a strength workout. And when there are intervals, take as short a break as you need to catch your breath and get a drink, and then get back into aero. The quicker you can recover, the better, and this will help improve your form outdoors. And when you are outdoors on the long rides, especially during the winter and spring when the distances are shorter, push harder for 50% of the ride. During the winter and spring, the focus will be on increasing speed and strength, so that come June, I will have that fast base, and can focus on endurance and distance for IM training.

Of course, I bitched a little about spin, how I have a hard time maintaining focus and not getting bored and I asked if I could ride outside inside. Surprisingly she said no, practice mental focus is a skill, and you can go harder inside because you don't have to worry about pushing it, bonking, and getting stuck miles from home. Good point.

For the running part, twice during the week and one long run on the weekend. And here she said another surprising thing. I'd always heard that a 5:1 or 8:2 interval run/walk is good. To walk early and often. She said that if you walk 1 minute for every mile, that 26 minutes of walking in the marathon and that may be close to the cutoff for me. Now, walking is okay when you need to do it, but if you don't need to, then don't. And a shuffle will always be faster than a walk in the marathon of an IM. Which is perfect, because I don't know how to run that isn't a shuffle! I will still plan to walk the water stops, just because it's silly to spill drinks on myself when I don't have to.

Swimming, twice weekly, one pool, one open water swim (OWS), starting now. The pool should be for speed, the OWS should be 1600-3000m, and that the workout progression will be posted on the website to follow.

Core, continue 3 times weekly, add in a yoga if you can.

So, she started putting a weekly calendar together for me and ran into the same problems I had, with having mornings, Tuesdays, Fridays, and weekends available. So she made up a two week rotation, how smart is that! It will bump up my weekly hours from 8 to 10-12, depending on how long the weekend stuff goes. And to pencil it all in, and track what gets missed, and make adjustments from there. Because that's another thing to get set now so you don't have to fiddle with it come June.

And speaking of June, the race calendar will be
Now- January- practice the schedule, winter training

Jan- Half training starts

April- Lonestar Half

May- OFF

June- IM training starts

July, Aug, Sept- maybe a sprint, Austin Tri for sure because it's on a Monday and doesn't conflict with weekend training

Oct- Redman Half as a tune up, or Longhorn Aquabike

Nov- IMAZ!

So that's the plan. It seems so easy on paper, now it's just a matter of putting it into practice. I've already had some trouble with the new schedule, mainly due to the fact that it's December and there are all sorts of Christmas parties and obligations. And then I got sick. But hopefully, I will back to full strength next week, just in time to take off for Christmas. I am planning to get a couple of workouts in over the break, hopefully limit the damage all the goodies are doing!

Monday, December 14, 2009


It's been over a year since I've been sick with a cold or the flu and I've attributed it to living well- regular training, followed by regular recovery, good nutrition, etc. It couldn't last forever though and now I'm down with a bad cold. But much much better than when I was smoking and would get a cold that turned into bronchitis every quarter. Yet another reason triathlon has improved my life! Back with more once I get better.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 10

Things to learn and remember:

1. The finish line in the dark is burned into my brain. I can elicit the goosebumps and watery eyes just picturing it. I want to get there.

2. When I get there, I want to savor it. Slap the hands of the spectators, raise my arms and wave, and smile and cry at the same time! There is no need to sprint it in, unless of course, it is 16:59!

3. Swim: long sleeve wet suit, neoprene cap, and ear plugs. It's fucking cold! And wait as long as possible to get in- stay on the edge of the concrete until you have to actually swim.

4. Use the volunteers- let them help you up the stairs, wet suit stripping, in the change tents.

5. Disposable sock arm warmers and/or jacket. It's really cold coming out of the water, but it will get hot as soon as the sun comes up. And change completely out of anything wet.

6. Practice 3 loops on the bike and run. Lap 1- yay, I'm done with the swim and on the bike, lap 2- yay I'm almost half way done and I know the course now, lap 3- yay, I'm almost done with the bike and I'll be glad to start running!

7. Change completely again. Use spray sunscreen- their lotion doesn't get rubbed in all the way and looks really thick and gross.

8. Run- practice longer walk breaks. Practice running in the dark. Head lamp and long sleeve in special needs bag. Reflective stickers on shirt.

9. Have sherpa pick up your bike- they have a release paper they can sign. Have sherpa bring you a fleece jacket for immediately after- it gets cold once you stop moving. And keep moving. Stop and you fall down.

10. Hug everyone in sight, Mike Reilly if you can. Otherwise, the finish line volunteers, friends, family, photographers, sherpas. Cry and blubber if you need to. Get the finish line stuff and hand off immediately to sherpa.

11. There are cabs 50 ft from the finish line. And the athlete food tent shuts down before midnight- have sherpa bring hot food to you at the finish.

12. Find someone willing to be sherpa.

13. Thank all the volunteers you see- they may be future Ironman triathletes and are so stoked talking to the athletes actually out there right now. Thank your family and friends for supporting you. Hug everyone and tell them you love them.

14. 11/21/10, 11:30 pm...

Monday, December 7, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 9

Onsite sign up for IMAZ 2010 was scheduled for 7-9am. I arrived at 6:30 am, and the line was at least 100 people long. The most interesting thing was there were separate lines for volunteers and non volunteers, and all the volunteers were signed up first. So even though there were 100 people or so in line in front of me, it was moving quickly and I was able to sign up at about 7:30. When I left, the non volunteers that had lined up first, maybe an hour before I got there, still hadn't been allowed in, and the volunteer line had filled up with probably another 200 people.

And really, there are so many easy volunteer jobs, there is no reason not to do it. They were checking for wrist bands and T shirts, so you couldn't just say you had volunteered. And volunteering was a really fun thing.

The actual registration process was easy. They typed in your name off your driver's license and swiped your credit card for $577.50. And gave you a confirmation code to use to finish the registration online about two weeks later, which I've already done now. After all the on site registrations, they opened the online registration though, and it sold out in 25 minutes. So from 7 am to about 11:25 am, the event producers made about $1.2 million dollars. Wow. And the race isn't for another 12 months. And that's not counting all the sponsorships- Ford, Avia, Tmobile, Gatorade, etc. And the merchandise. They had Ironman branded dog biscuits, and mouse pads, and cooking aprons. Really. So it is a big business, and apparently not affected by the recession at all.

So, the purpose of the weekend was done. It is official. I'm in for IMAZ 2010! Let the training begin, because I have a lot of work to do!

And the last section, things to learn and remember...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 8

I felt much better after my three hour nap. I did worry that next year I won't get that luxury, but I appreciated it this year. I drove down to the site, and was able to park in the nice Airline parking lot right behind the finish line. I met up with T3ers and we watched the last of our people finishing. They had staked out a good spot in the finish chute, and it was cool to watch. Athletes came across the line as Mike Reilly said "So and so, you are an Ironman" and then a catcher volunteer picked them up and escorted them down the line to pick up their medal, finisher T shirt and hat, wrap them in a foil blanket, and then hand them off to their family or friends. It was a really good setup. They had medical volunteers there too to move people to the medical tent if needed.

There was a complete range of emotion in the finishers. Most were ecstatic about finishing- smiling and hugging everyone. Some were crying. Some just thrilled to be done with it. Others were more workman like about it, or maybe they were not as happy about their finish time. A couple of people had trouble right after finishing strong- either cramping, or needing to sit, or feeling dizzy. But the heroic feeling about it was back, and so were the tears.

After the last of the T3ers finished, everyone who had been up since 4 am with me without naps were done and headed back to their hotels. I was ready to complete the night at midnight with the last finishers. My people. I needed to see them finish. I got a sandwich for dinner- being a college town, there were quite a few places still open. I cheered the finishers in the stands for a little while, and then walked up the last half mile with my cowbell and plastic IM branded clapper. These are really useful, because your hands get tired, and you lose your voice if you keep yelling. But the cowbell and clapper make a lot of noise with minimal effort.

And it was so amazing, that most of the athletes finishing at the 10pm and after time frame are just as excited for you to be cheering them as you are to be cheering. I got a lot of thank yous and comments when I walked out to a quieter section about a half mile from the finish. At that point, they know they will finish and finish in time. But the same heroic feeling is still there, maybe even more so in the dark, quiet sections.

I didn't come home with the right picture, the one I have in my mind of the turn into the finish chute. And maybe that's for the best. The one I have in my head is much more vivid than a photograph. And as it got closer to midnight, the crowd at the finish line surged and got louder. The signs for sponsors lining the gates make a loud noise when the spectators bang on them, plus the music, and Mike Reilly working the crowd. It was electric. And the finishers were coming across individually, rather than in packs like it was for the 12-14 hour finishers. So each athlete got their own spotlight coming down.

Some were so focused on the finish line, they did not stop to acknowledge the spectators. The ones that slowed, raised their arms, pumped their fists, and slapped hands got a much bigger reaction. And really, if it's not yet midnight, time doesn't matter. It's much better to stop and savor the moment. And I was crying with each one of them as they were coming down the finish chute.

I was in particular looking for the larger women, thinking "that could be me next year." And there were more than a couple slightly overweight women that were making it to the finish line of an Ironman. Some older men, one of whom Mike Reilly said: "here's a leaner coming down the line, let's cheer the leaner on home!" And then some ideal weight people too. At this point, you have to be a slow plodder like I will be, or have had a medical or mechanical issue to be finishing at 11:30. But they were finishing. The tears were just a constant thing at this point. But it was so overwhelming and amazing, I couldn't turn away.

One really cool thing was that Jordan Rapp, the men's winner, and Samantha McGlone, the women's winner, both came back at about 11:30 to hand out medals to the last finishers. I'm sure they showered and napped and ate first, but for them to come down and cheer on the last athletes is really cool.

As the time clicked down, the crowd got more urgent. They had 2399 finishers, out of about 2450 starters, which is the most in Ironman history. The perfect weather and flat course probably really helped with them. One woman came down the finish chute with about 5 minutes to go and slowed to a walk at the first timing mat that flashes your name on the computer for Mike Reilly's assistant to read out. Mike Reilly himself was down in the finish chute jazzing up the crowd. So when she stopped before the real finish line, the whole crowd jumped up and said "no, keep going" and really scared her. But she jumped and started running again and finished.

The last finisher, number 2399 for the day, came across with about 3 minutes to spare, and that was it. We all counted down the last 10 seconds, waiting to see if there was anyone else coming, but I think the handlers and volunteers keep pretty close tabs on the last finishers to get them across in time, or they are way far back. I heard of at least one woman that finished at 17:30, but I had already left. By 12:05 pm, most of the crowd was out of the stands, and the event staff were already started the tear down process.

In a word, spectacular. I want it to stay fresh in my mind, and I am excited to get back there next year as a finisher.

Next up: sign up day...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 7

Spectating is harder than it looks! After watching the athletes go off on the swim, we walked down from the bridge to the water. Already there were swimmers struggling, and it was the start of many tears for me. It just hit me so hard, watching them swim, then having to stop and rest already. There are many, many hours to go. And I do understand there are a ton of triathletes that have a really hard time with the swim. Growing up a swimmer and spending a lot of time in the water, both in the pool, and later in rivers as a whitewater kayaker, I'm really comfortable. But I do understand the panic and anxiety some triathletes have to fight through. And it was just so heroic- that's the best word I've come up with to describe how Ironman athletes are. And having such close access- they are not even 5 feet away, so you can make eye contact and they can hear you cheering. It was very emotional. I was glad when our group decided to head back to the swim exit to see if we could get close to watch the T3ers get out of the water.

Our volunteer T shirts got us access everywhere, which was super cool. We waited around and watched the pros come up, then the melee began. A ton of athletes were getting out about the hour, 1.5 hour mark. Wetsuit strippers were in action- if you look at the left side of the picture, you can see the force with which the strippers pull off the wetsuits. And the chaos. The medical volunteers were around with blankets to escort hypothermic swimmers into the medical tent to warm up with heaters and warm broth. There were a lot more cold people than they first expected, and one of the head volunteers sent a couple of us to the transition changing tents to retrieve blankets. They didn't have enough cloth blankets and started using the foil reflective blankets, which were on a big roll in the changing tents. That was one of the few areas where it seems the organizers didn't plan as well.

After watching the T3ers get out, we were hungry and went to Tavern on Mill which is a bar that was doing some brisk breakfast business. We had the fair to middling buffet and afterwards we wandered around a little, and then headed over to the VIP tent. One of the Austin triathletes was a member of the Ironman Executive Challenge, which I never did figure out exactly what that meant. He did get passes to the VIP tent so he gave them to Chris and Kevin, who along with Natalie who was volunteering there, were able to get all five of us in. They had some nice Ikea couches with blankets, which we promptly took over and I had a nice little snooze. Spectating is hard work I tell you!

After the break, we headed over to the "hot corner" to watch the cyclists. The hot corner is where the bike course turnaround is, plus a turn on the run course. So if you want to camp out in one place all you, you can see most of the action. People were geared up for this, almost like a tailgate party for the most prepared. We pulled out of cowbells and yelled at everyone passing by for about a while, catching most of the T3ers as they finished their first loop. It had really warmed up, and once we ran out of water, we tried to get back into the VIP tent, but it was a no go. Only Chris and Kevin with their special VIP badges could get in. The rest of us went to hang out in the volunteer food tent, which was still pretty nice, with free pizza and sodas for the volunteers. And wearing out volunteer T shirts still got us in, even though our shifts had been over for hours.

We relaxed a bit, hanging out, and chatting, then wandered around a bit more. The transition area was hopping again, and the process for taking the bikes in was pretty cool to watch. The top of the line grabbed the bikes from the athletes and passed them off to other volunteers who read the race number and put the bikes back on their designated racks. They were all wearing gloves, which I initially thought was for all the bodily fluids that might be on the bike seat. I later learned it was more for the sticky factor, that race nutrition would spill all over the bikes and your hands would get sticky and gross very quickly.

We met up with the rest of the T3 spectators under the tram bridge to cheer on the runners. Catharine is the ultimate cheerleader, as she is tireless, has a loud voice, and cheers them on by name. The names are on their race bibs, but it's hard to maintain that level of enthusiasm, especially for random people. When T3ers came by, they were treated like rock stars, and hopefully that picked them up a little on the long run.

I was losing steam at this point, but the pros were about to finish, so I went to the finish line. It is a cool set up, with stadium seats on wheels brought in, and a big screen with live video of the racers on the course. We saw Jordan Rapp running the last mile and then coming down the chute to finish about 5 minutes ahead of second place. He had already won IM Canada and only entered IMAZ for fun and because he was still in great shape. And he wins it! He was really nice with the crowd, coming back for a victory lap and to slap hands with the spectators. The next guys came in, with Austin local Richie Cunningham coming in 4th. He won Longhorn about a month ago. After that, I was tired, so I rode Jamis back to the hotel for a shower and a nap.

Tomorrow, the end of Race Day: the finish line...

Friday, December 4, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 6

I didn't sleep well, afraid I would sleep through my alarm, miss the race, and not be able to sign up for next year. Wow, the race day worries start before I've even signed up! The alarm went off at 4 am, and I was out the door by 4:15 on Jamis. I met up with the other T3 bodymarkers right when I got to the race site, and we wandered around a bit before finding where we were supposed to be. The head volunteer had apparently never bodymarked anyone, or done a triathlon, as she was giving out bad instructions. But we got it figured out and picked up our enormous sharpies and waited for transition to open at 5am.

The main problem was it was cold, probably about 50 degrees. I was pretty comfortable, but the athletes had to take off their warm jackets and pants so that we could write on them. The race numbers went on both biceps, and their age (or a P for professional) went on their left calf. They were all goosebumped and shivering, but I wrote quickly. I think it's really important to have good handwriting when you are a bodymarker, but it is really hard to write, especially when guys have large triceps and it's not an even surface. I told a couple of them that. I also wanted to write my phone number on a couple of them, but I figured they would be a little too busy to call. I also tried to be encouraging, asking if they were pros to most of the guys, and chatting about if this was their first race or where they were from. A lot of first timers out there, and a lot of nervous people. I did mark two pros, one a German woman who was racing her first Ironman and really nervous, and one a French man- Rene Goehler, and he wound up finishing in 8th place.

I did get a picture with Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman. He was up there at 5:30 doing the race morning announcing- what the time was, where stuff was, did anyone have an extra pair of goggles or running shorts. Really, someone had forgotten to pack their running shorts. Another athlete had an extra pair, but imagine running a marathon in borrowed shorts! He's pretty amazing, as he is there announcing the finishers at midnight too. He must take a nap from 7 am to 3 pm when the pros finish. And he does have an assistant, but still, he's pretty amazing. He doesn't know it yet, but we have a date for November 21, 2010 at 11:30 pm.

About 6:45, we finished up with the bodymarking and moved to the bridge over the swim start to watch them go off. There are two bridges, one for northbound traffic, the other for southbound, though there were so many people, cars were not able to move. There was a helicopter, and then the cannon went off for the pros. 10 minutes later, the cannon went off again for the main field, right as the sun was rising. It was amazing.

The next part of the day: spectating...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 5

After the race preview, I went back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. This Ironman spectating is hard work, and I needed to pace myself. And it wasn't even race day. Once refreshed, I headed out on Jamis the 3 miles from the hotel to the race site. I found a nice back road with bike lanes that added about a 1/2 mile to the trip, but was well worth it to stay off the big roads. Tempe is a college town, home to the Arizona State University Sun Devils.

Tempe is a college town, home to the Arizona State University Sun Devils. Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix though, so the college town vibe was mostly swallowed up by the suburban feeling. Because it was the week before Thanksgiving maybe, there really didn't seem to be a lot of students around. Maybe they'd already left on vacation? There were some benefits to Tempe- lots of bike lanes, which was especially nice considering there were 2500 triathletes, most of whom seemed to be trying to ride part of the bike course before race day. There was also a cool tram, though I ran out of time and didn't get to ride it. I love these things!

The campus area of Tempe is cute, lots of little shops, restaurants, and bars, all within walking distance of the race site. Had lunch at a cute little Greek place. And dinner was at P.F. Chang's, which was fine. They were able to sit all 16 of us with a reservation and the food was okay. Good times though, and all the athletes that came out were relaxed and excited for the next day, some even having a glass of wine! But we did have dinner at 5pm, so it was still a pre-race dinner!

One problem: I was having a hard time trying to wrap my head around living in the desert. I read a very good book years ago called Cadillac Desert, about the perils of living in the desert, far away from water, and all the problems getting water to the people living there. The dam building, and water rights fights, and the native desert being overrun by golf courses. And it's true, Phoenix is home to 200 golf courses! That's just a ridiculous waste of water in an arid environment. And I think the part that makes me the most angry was the amount of new development, high rises, and office buildings. A huge number of companies are moving to Phoenix from other states. It's one thing to try to make a living and adapt to the desert. This is completely different by purposely relocating hundreds of thousands of people to a place that is going to run out of water.

And it's not like I can't understand the beauty of the desert. Georgia O'Keeffe's pictures, and the beauty of the desolation. But the desert is supposed to be deserted! These people and these skyscrapers are not supposed to be here! Anyway, enough of that rant. I can't change it, might as well appreciate the good parts.

I rode back to the hotel on Jamis in the dark, though with my helmet, headlamp, and two blinkie lights, so yes, I was being safe, Mom (and PS, Happy Birthday!). I had a fitful night of sleep, and I wasn't even racing! Though it turns out, most of the other spectators did too. Maybe it's just practice for next year!

The next chapter starts Race Day: bodymarking...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, part 4

After the swim, I walked around the race course, following what the flow would be. On race day, you start the swim in the water- it's a deep water swim, and you head out east into the sun, which is just starting to rise. You turn north for the short leg, then back west, and the final short leg south to exit the stairs. The stairs are hard because the last step is at the top of the water, but there are volunteers that apparently pull you out. So that would be a job for a really strong guy. Note for next year, sight on the biggest, strongest guy and head straight to him!

You run out on carpet and pick the biggest, strongest pair of guys for wetsuit stripping. Unzip and pull out your arms first, then lie down and they down the rest. Of course, they are no longer allowed to be called strippers, they are now pullers. Not nearly as much fun.

Head out on cold concrete (though your feet will be numb from the water, so it won't matter!) to the change tent where a volunteer will meet you with your bag. It will be busy and crowded. Bring a towel. Change out of everything wet. Bring throwaway arm warmers and a windbreaker, because it will be really cold at first, but hot in the afternoon on the bike. A volunteer will help fetch your bike for you.

The bike is three loops, the first quarter is in the city, but the majority is on a blacktop highway on the edge of town. Very flat, except at the turnaround in the desert where there is an up and down to the turnaround, and then an up and down to get back to the flat. Watch out for wind.

Each time you come back into the city, you will turnaround at the "hot corner." There will loads of spectators camped out to watch the bike turnaround on one side, and a turn on the run course on the other. Wave and smile at your supporters as they ring cowbells at you. Once you've done your 112 miles, head back into transition where there will be more volunteers to take your bike away. Walk or hobble back into the change tent where a volunteer will meet you with you bag. Change out of everything again.

Head out on the run course, which is 3 loops of concrete, and surprisingly hilly. It is rarely flat, with lots of rollers and some real hills. The sun will set around 5:30, so be prepared to run in the dark- headlamp, reflectors, glowsticks. And it will get chilly quickly, especially if you are moving slow. Pack a jacket or long sleeve shirt in the special needs bag.

Finish the third loop and turn up through a parking lot. You will have heard Mike Reilly and the finish line crowd three times as you pass by on your loops. Now you get to turn left into the finish chute.

It's short, so take your time to savor it. Raise you arms, pump your fists, smile, and cry. Slap the hands of the spectators lining the chute and banging on the posters- they get a charge from watching you finish. Try to get a good finish picture if possible. Listen to Mike Reilly say you're an Ironman. Find a friendly finish line catcher and have them help you get your medal, finisher's shirt and hat, and picture. Hug your friends and family and tell them how much you love them all. And you did it! You're an Ironman!

Next on our journey, the last meal...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

IMAZ Spectator Report, Part 3

Saturday morning, I got up around 5 am, piddled around on the computer (another advanatage of the Hospitality Suites, free wifi in the rooms), and then had the free breakfast in the restaurant. I could never find the times of the practice swims, and assumed they would be open all day. I organized all my stuff and drove down to scout the course.

From the first moment, the energy was electric. Everything was just bigger and more exciting than the triathlons I've done so far. And the emotion was just overwhelming. Tons of people, both athletes, spectators, and race organizer helpers- all out getting ready for the race the following day. All the Ironman M dots and signs, and how big and organized it was. This was a huge production- 2500 athletes, 3000 volunteers, probably double that the spectators. Just amazing.

So my plan to swim later in the day was wrong. They have a supported swim only in the mornings on Friday and Saturday, so I would have to go now. They had kayakers and a gear check, and it was off limits at any other time, though I was not at risk of disqualification like the triathletes racing the following day. I ran into two other T3ers who were just getting into the water (which is another advantage of T3- they're everywhere!) So I got into my wetsuit and tried to ignore the looks from other people- "she's doing the race?" I wanted to have a sign saying "Next year! I will be ready for it next year!" And really, it was most likely all in my own head. The other athletes were all probably in their own heads, worrying about themselves, not about me!

Into the water, which was supposedly 64 degrees, though I heard it was 60 on race morning. It was cold! Painfully cold! So cold you can't catch your breath. Burning your face, hands, and feet cold! And I have a sleeveless wetsuit, so that didn't help either. Note to self- get full sleeve, neoprene cap, and ear plugs for next year! I only lasted about 15 minutes in the water before I had to get out. And the air temperature, which before had been chilly at ~55, now felt tropical getting out of that water!

I changed back into dry clothes and went over to the volunteer meeting. They split up the huge group into what position you were doing. I had signed up for Body marking just about the first day volunteer registration opened. It is a coveted position, mainly because you get it done early, it's short and easy, and you get to feel up all the athletes! My meeting was already over, because all they had to say was show up at 4:45 at transition. After that, I went over to the Women's Change Tent volunteer meeting to find Catharine and Christine, who had signed up for that after Body marking was full. Their meeting was much more interesting, with how to help the athletes get stuff out of their bags when they were cold and tried, or how to talk them out of quitting. I was hoping to get a chance to see what went on the change tents and how to prepare best for next year.

After the meeting, I wandered around looking at the course, which will be the topic for tomorrow...