Pre-race nerves…. Is this feeling normal?

Well here I am on the eve of my first ironman and the prerace nerves are at an all time high.  The bike is racked, the transition bags are packed, the training is done, I’m all carbo loaded up and all that is left to do is race!  I‘ve said a lot of thank yous in my blog recently and I’ll say it again I am eternally grateful to my family for their support during this journey. 

So what are these strange feelings in my my muscles, should my stomach be doing backfips like it is?  I have raced many triathlons before and yes these are all expected feelings.  I have had twitching muscles and strange bowel movements before plenty of races.  This however is a little more intense, maybe the enormity of the event I am about to undertake is adding to the sensations.  Building muscle glycogen storage (or tapering) is the most fun and athlete can have.  After banking all the training session, working hard through hours and hours of fatigue, all that is left is to is reduce the training load, recovery, allow the muscles to store lots of energy and get ready to race!

In the last 6 months I have banked approximately 215 hours of swimming, cycling and running in preparation for the Cairns ironman!  Now I am not a perfectionist and can cope with most things that come my way.  In triathlon, I have learned that no every race goes perfectly to plan.  How you deal with the hiccups will often determine how you finish the race.  I have been told that in ironman you need to be able to mentally hand the low point and believe they are simply waves that will pass and good times are very close.  Stick to your race plan and ‘anything is possible’.  I have struggled over the past 48 ours packing transition bags and special needs bags!  All things that are very different and foreign to me, even with my years int he sport!  I am greatful for the experience of the other athletes around me, in particular the guys from Redline, Renee, Iain and Richard.  Their knowledge and experience has been a fountain I have happily drunk from!  That said, I believe I am still making errors, but will only know tomorrow.  With all the unknow I face, I have been able to control certain aspects of my preparation, and I have done that meticulously.

I am carbohydrate loading and hydrating with a mix of drinks and food, all of which I have tried before on shorter races very successfully.  Metagenics Endura Opti is a old favorite of mine, its a nice mix of energy, protein, electrolytes that I normally use for recovery post sessions, I’m currently using it first thing and last thing in the day to help me feel recovered.  Endura magnesium re-hydration is also a long standing favorite from during my training sessions.  It is helping me build my hydration and energy levels, the added magnesium will hopefully stave off the cramping during the event.  I am also using a Shots electrolyte tablet, which is relatively new to me (say last two years) and is an awesome drink before, during and after exercise.  It help me build hydration, sodium and magnesium levels.  I am consuming approximately 7 to 8 bottles (3 to 4 liters) of fluid in the days leading up to the race.  This combined with lots of rice, pasta, breads and high energy foods should have me lining up at the start line fully hydrated, fueled and ready to race.   All these things are also contributing to the strange pre-race feelings.

During my race I will be drinking a mix of Endura Magnesium Rehydration (also on-course supplied), Shots Electrolytes tablets and a mix of Winners, Endura gels and Gu or Shot Blocks chews.  Maybe even a muesli bar or similar bonk bar (salted caramel is the flavor of choice at the moment).  All of which I have tried before and am happy I can consume with no discomfort on the bike or run.

The trick will be to keep my hydration and fuel levels up and not bonk during the race!  If you are interested in following my progress during the day my race number is 172 and it should be simple enough to enter at the following live tracking website:

http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx#axzz3col08iqD (site wont be active until Sunday)

Finally to anyone and everyone that has joined me in a training session over the past six months either in the pool, on the bike or running I say a massive thank you, your support has not gone unnoticed or appreciated.  All that is left to do now is RACE.  See you all in 24 hours, when hopefully I will be an IRONMAN!

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