Like everything in an Ironman race , it comes down to the preparation.
There is the training , the equipment , nutrition and transitions . In addition it helps to have a Checklist. I am now putting my gear together and this weekend will be the final check and packing in preparation . Testing the equipment and preparing for all aspects of the race is crucial even for the regulars.
In addition I have worked off a checklist from the Internet and for those super keen , there are even better super list. my-ultimate-triathlon-and-ironman-checklist
body glide (for back of neck)
goggles x 2
heart rate monitor strap
tire pump (pump tires up day before, adding a few psi to compensate for overnight pressure loss)
chain lube (apply day before)
Profile Aerodrink bottle
2 water bottles
Sweets and dates
cycling shoes x 2
race belt w/ race number
seat pack with tubular, tire irons, multi-tool, and CO2 inflation system
running shoes x 2
gel belt with 4 gels in flask
a change of run top (in case)
The next crucial aspect of preparation is the mental aspect of racing. All the hard work is done but as Chrissie wellington said on her website in a piece titled Peak Performance
“It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn’t have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough—and it will get tough—you can draw on those images and have peace of mind.”
Heather Wurtle , who came in Eight in Kona and has two Ironman wins this year , Placid and St George talks about finding that happy place in a piece she wrote about The mental game .
The race is hard but with clear thinking and strategies in place , we can do our best. In her piece on the Mental game , Heather goes on to comment :
So much about success is about belief, and so much of what I love about sport is the ability to overcome: injury, doubt, your own mental hangups, fatigue, negative factors/people in life that seem to want to drag you down or make you feel like you can’t achieve your goals.
I think that one of the hardest things about tapering before a big race is that you actually have more time in the day and mental energy – our brains are glycogen burning machines after all – to reflect. This can lead to confidence and to doubt, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t harbor negative thoughts.
I love the sentiment she portrays. That is what it is about , not the tortuous training sessions and the runs and ride in the rain , the number of hours of training . it even isn't about winning for me . We are all competitive and it is great to be in front but more importantly it is about over coming all that is put in front.
As Chris McCormack in his book "I am Here to Win" states , at some point it is going to hurt and embrace the suck ...whatever that means I hope I will be in my Happy Place.