July 10, 2009
Welcome to Providence
I got on the road an hour later than planned because I decided getting seven hours of sleep was necessary and worth the small sacrifice. I paid for it with over five hours in the car crawling along with beach traffic, but I made it to Providence and race weekend has begun.
My check-in was blissfully line-free and I spent a bit of time burning a hole in my wallet at the expo. I found the Wigwam socks that I'm so head-over-heels in love with but only have one pair, so I bought six more. My TYR Nest Pro goggles were there so I grabbed a pale blue pair to wear indoors or on cloudy days. And any good expo trip wouldn't be complete without some sort of new compression garment. I bought the Zoot calf sleeves and they are amazing. I've been using the 2XU sleeves since last September and love them, but the Zoots felt so much better. The seams are more comfortable and the level of compression is much stronger. I can't decide if I will race in them on Sunday. They would be time consuming to put on in T2 and I'm not sure I want to wear them on the bike. Decisions, decisions.
I went for a short run and used it to scout local restaurants and get a peek at the course. I was humming along and saw a super steep hill ahead. I wondered if it was "the hill" that everyone talks about in this race and toyed with the idea of running it. I got to the bottom and stopped. It was steep. Really steep. And long. I decided I had two chances to enjoy the hill on Sunday so I turned and continue on a flatter stretch. After the run I walked to the finish line and got a look at the empty T2, all set up and waiting for our bikes. It was the first time I felt that incredible pre-race feeling that is almost indescribable. Now that I'm here, I can't wait.
I decided to have dinner in Federal Hill, a little neighborhood near my hotel. I was tired and wanted to go somewhere close and quick. I picked an Italian place I'd run by earlier and grabbed a seat at the bar. As soon as I sat down, the woman next to me asked if I was in town for the Ironman. I said yes and asked if she was as well. She said no, that she had guessed because of my jacket. I realized I've turned into that person who wears running gear like it's regular clothing. I was in my beloved Sugoi Firewall jacket, something I never leave home without. As we started to chat, she turned out to be an avid cyclist and one of the most interesting dinner companions I could have asked for. I never got her name even though we shared a meal and countless stories, but it was really great to cross paths with her.
I'm planning a good night's sleep tonight and then a busy day of race preparation tomorrow. I have to drive to Narragansett to drop off my bike and hopefully get in a practice swim while there. Then I need to get back to Providence and check in my bike-to-run transition bag. I've never done a race with separate transitions so it should be interesting. I may spend some time at the pool or I may just nap and relax. I'm hoping it will be a day filled with rest, something I desperately need to get ready for Sunday.
Distance - 2.35 miles
Time - 20:03