Monday, October 13, 2008

Departure Day

Well, this trip certainly went by quick. But hey, I get to sit on a plane again for 10 hours! Our flight leaves today at 5pm and we fly through the night – typical of all the flights I’ve had out of Hawaii. I don’t sleep well on planes so it looks like it will be an all nighter.

I remember back in 2002 on departure day, Lisa and I were killing time in the early afternoon walking around the Waikoloa Hilton. Lisa didn’t feel well and I suggested jokingly that maybe she was pregnant. At first, she joked with me, but soon enough, we were in the pharmacy purchasing one of those home pregnancy tests, and found out Lisa had our daughter in her belly.

Baker and I were going to head out for one last run here in Hawaii and then get in a swim at the pier. Megan shot me a text message saying she and her husband Chon were having breakfast in the resort restaurant if I’d like to join them, so I stopped to chat before beginning my run. Megan looked great considering she raced here just 12 hours prior. She was still fired up on adrenaline and we rehashed the day.

I then ran back down into the pit. As I was running out, I saw Chris Leigh and Luke Bell running in. These two guys are very cool. I felt a bit sluggish, but was moving at a decent clip. The run along Alii felt crappy, but again, my pace was solid. I try not to put too much weight into an odd shitty run, especially considering that I haven’t been sleeping much and have been very busy. And to be honest, it’s hard to have a shitty run when it’s sunny and warm and your views are of palm trees and oceans.

There were a lot of people out training this morning still – non-racers of course. Baker and I met up at the pier and headed out for a swim. I have swum three times since a tri I did in June, all in the past four days.

Some of my race day/week observations: All week when I’d ask an athlete how their prep went for Hawaii, 90% of the time, the answer was not as great as they wanted – they have a small injury or missed some training here or there. This was then followed up with “I’m just going to give it my best shot and do what I can” in a self doubting kind of way. The race week nerves gets in an athletes head. They start looking at all the fit hard bodies and start doubting themselves. Before you know it, they are tossing out excuses to give themselves an out in case something goes wrong on race day. I’m not being critical or judging here, just stating the obvious and pointing out that it’s a normal psychological reaction. There are 10% who have figured out how to firmly believe that they are ready to rip it up. Learn from their self confidence and how they change or create this state and it’ll erase your own race day self doubt. On race day, I continue to see many ignoring their bike pacing, riding at an effort that they can ride, but not one that will set them up to run well. At Kawaihai, I witnessed lots of drafting and also lots of very clean riding. Those that say it’s hard to ride clean now in these races don’t want to. If you attend this race and aren’t moved in some way on race day as a spectator, than something is clearly not right. You may think “it’s just not that person’s thing” but there is something powerful and remarkable on race day that rubs off on just about everyone. I have, in time, including this year, witnessed those who don’t cheer for the athletes and are there out of what seems to be obligation or other binding reasons but would rather be elsewhere. Strange.

Baker and I were driving out to the airport and saw a woman on a bike with an EH jersey! I have no clue who she is. Never saw her before. Traffic prevented us from stopping to ask.

Baker took a bunch of pictures that I’ll put up as a gallery on the home page.



1 comment:

megan said...

Eric, fun to read your perspective on the race. It was truly an event of a lifetime. Definitley worth every bit of sweat, every dollar and every sacrifice to get there. The course is everything that it should be and truly is the toughest Ironman race out there. The wind, the heat, the lava, there is NO exaggerating needed, it is for real!

Thanks for being there. Your knowledge of the course, the race day atmosphere and how to race it was priceless. I still think however, you might have really been planning to go to Lava java in your speedo! Hmmmm....