02/2/13

Panama 70.3 Prep Day

Well in just a few short hours, the 2013 season will start with a swim in the Panama Canal.  I must admit, the butterflies are starting to set up camp in my stomach.

I was able to sleep until about 8 o’clock this morning.  Waking up to breakfast already prepared or being prepared has been a nice treat.  I ate breakfast and decided to make my way down to the Trump Hotel early… not know how long it would take to get there with the traffic (even though it was a saturday morning) and not being able to count on the GPS for getting me there.  And let me tell ya… it was a good thing I left early.  My GPS, even with the coordinates plugged in from Google maps, couldn’t even get it right.  Thankfully, I knew the building I was shooting for by looking at pictures on-line the day before.  The GPS shot me way past it… about 3 miles or so.  I finally just turned it off and started just weaving my way around the city until I couldn’t get any closer to the hotel.  I parked the car and walked about 3/4 of a mile to the Hotel.

I did the athlete check-in as usual, nothing special here.  I made a lap around the race expo and didn’t see anything free to grab, so I went to the Ironman Store across the foyer.  I have a tradition that I started, sort of on accident, with my first IM race in 2007 in Wisconsin of buying a pint glass specific to the race.  Not every race has one.  But if they do, I make sure to grab one.  If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not a huge drinker or beer expert… so I’m not really sure why I feel the need to get one, other than adding clutter to my collection of race souvenirs, hats, and finisher medals.  I walked up to the cash register to pay for it, and noticed my credit card was MISSING!  I had a moment of panic and remembered that I had left them in my shorts pocket for when I went to the ATM the other day.  I did have some cash on me, and decided to just pay with that.

I walked back to my car to get the bike.  I made it all the way there and started digging around in my backpack for my keys.  NO KEYS!! This was a bit more than a moment of panic.  I tried retracing the steps in my mind about when I knew I had my keys and if/when I picked them up.  I remember having them in my had when I entered the Ironman Store.  I remember setting them down with looking for my credit card, but don’t remember them being in my had after leaving the store.  I walked back as quick as I could to the store with worst case scenerios running through my head of having Thrifty car rentals charging me an arm and leg to replace the key, not being able to race since my bike was locked in my car, and having no transportation for the rest of the trip.  I walked straight to the store once I got off the elevator and frantically asked if anyone had seen my keys.  Thankfully, the lady had them behind the counter waiting for me to come back.  I made another trek to the car, put my bike together and rode it back to the hotel and caught a shuttle bus to the pier where transition will be held.

The bus wasn’t exactly bike and passenger friendly.  We had to put the bikes on the bus on one side of the isle and sit on the other:

We set up transition and walked back to the bus… but not before getting a few pictures of course:

Who’s ready to play??

Paul Ambrose Bike at Panama 70.3

After the bus ride back, I had a couple hours to kill before the Pro meeting.  I listened to the age group meeting, and ran into a person from high school, Jessica Anderson, who is her doing the race for the second time.  I sat in and listened to the Pro Panel Q & A.  Lost of talent up there… Olympic Qualifiers, multiple 70.3 and IM distance winners.  I admittedly thought to myself, “what am I doing here??”  I pushed that negative thought out of my head and recomposed my thoughts.  “I am here living my dream, racing against the best.  I’m here to have fun, be it finishing first, middle, or last.  I’m here giving the sport back to God who first gave it to me to help me overcome depression and an eating disorder.  I’m here to escape winter and get a tan!”

The pro meeting went over some of the basics of the race, with in depth information about the course and what to expect on race day.  I was a little surprised to hear some of the questions the other pros were asking.  It made it sound like this was our first triathlon ever!  I was sitting next to Paul Ambrose and noticed he was a little frustrated with the questions as well.  One question did strike me as odd:  “Will you be drug testing the top 5 or so finishers?”  I was informed that last year when Lance Armstrong raced and finished 2nd, he was the only one out of the top 6 guys that didn’t get tested!  Crazy… it seems that even WTC was in on the Lance Armstrong scandal.  Is anyone out there playing fair these  days?!?

Anyways… the only thing left to do now is get some dinner, make breakfast for tomorrow and stay hydrated.  With these warm temperatures, that is easier said than done!