Race Day Eve and Race Eve Meal Ritual

Turns out I have race day rituals now! Who knew that if I'd starting doing a few, I'd start getting a system down.

It doesn't even matter to me anymore that I'm not the race "type." You know the ones, the track stars, the life-long runners, the lean, long legs kind. The ones who fly past me on race day or start at the front because they're actually competing.

It used to bother my competitive self that I was a mid-to-back packer, but I'm one with it now. Just finishing and finishing in a time that's faster than my last finish is what matters to me now. An army of one. Or something like that.

But my guts are all nervous. The harder the race, the more nervous I get. I went back and read my post from my last triathlon, my very first one ever, and I remember just the plain old hard-ness about it. It was so freakin' hard. That makes me a little nervouser. Kind of dreading the hard. But excited about the finish. And the beer. Also a little curious to see if anything is easier. Hope so.

Every step leading up to the race makes me even more nervous. The picking up of the packet with my swimcap and numbers and signing all my forms, and especially looking at all of the other competitors filing in and out of the place. The hardcore ones. The sleepless night beforehand because I always panic the entire night fearing I won't hear the alarm clock and I'll miss the whole race. The nervous stomach. The breakfast I can barely eat but need to. The coffee which most people would think would be a mistake but not me. The fear of forgetting one of my hundredty thousand things like my bike or my race number.

But my husband and I have a ritual now on race eve. It's all kind of cool that we've grown to have this and if we don't do these things now, it just doesn't feel complete.

It usually goes like this: my parents come over the night before because my dad is usually in charge of bringing one of or both of the kids to the race in the morning. We have our ritualistic race-eve meal that includes some sort of pasta and protein. Tonight, I'm making Maggie's Chicken Piccata (7 points total and thank you Maggie, this is a staple up in here now!) and a Weight Watchers version of Penne with Vodka Sauce. The whole meal is kind of a lot of points but whatever. I burned nearly a thousand calories in the last triathlon, so I'm thinking I'm ok. I'm going to need the fuel. And yum.

After dinner, I make sure I have everything all together in my bag and ready to go and I check my list about a hundredty million times and I will still feel like I forgot something important in the morning even if I didn't.

Then, when everything's in order, we sit down and we watch the old 1990-something Ironman Hawaii video my husband has. The one where they documented the competitors overcoming the most amazing obstacles to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile marathon. Yes, a far cry from my little sprint triathlon (1/3 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 3.1 mile run.)

In the documentary, one woman comes back after getting hit by a Mack truck or something. Then there is one man who takes his wheelchair-bound son with him the entire way. He swims pulling his son in a little boat. He bikes pulling his son on his bike. He runs pushing his son in the wheelchair. The entire distance. I cry every time.


So amazing what one can do with their mind and their body.

Their struggles in life and in training for a race much longer than mine fuels me. It reminds me that any one of us can do anything. Literally. If we will it to be so.

After the video, we head to bed early, wake up a 4 a.m., drink coffee, eat our pre-race meals which for me is a bagel with peanut butter and coffee and water and then a protein bar when I get to the set up area at the beach at 5.

And where I will also proceed to set up and make about a hundred trips to the porta-potty in my fullbodyspandexsuit, which I'm really looking forward to. Yes, really excited about stripping down in the porta-potty. Yikes. Last time I wore my bathing suit, spandex shorts and a bike jersey. This suit functions as all three and I won't have to change in between events and I pretty much feel like a superhero in it. Or catwoman. Because it's black.

So I'm nervous. I'll spend the rest of the night being nervous and I won't be able to sleep. But I'm excited. Here we go, round number two. I just hope it doesn't rain, I don't get a flat, and I don't finish last.
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