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...