It's the evening before the "Marines Ironman World Championships 70.3." all the training is done. All the prerace preparation is complete. Tomorrow's race will consist of a 1.2 mile swim in Lake Las Vegas, a 56 mile ride through the desert of Lake Meade National Park, and a 13.1 mile run through the streets of Henderson, NV. The weather forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies and a high in the 90's. Hot? Yes. I now know that the dry heat of Las Vegas penetrates your skin an inch deep. Of course, we'll take this forecast over the 114 degree days they've had recently.
The spectacle of triathletes here is awesome. Everyone looks like a World Champion with ripped calves, lean torsos, and bank breaking bikes. There are no slouches, and if the course doesn't wear you out, the competition will. But this is what a World Championship should be like. The whole point of coming here is to test yourself against the best. The best, most challenging course and the best most competitive, well-conditioned athletes. Triathlon reveals mental toughness. Who still "looks the part" when arms tire and legs cramp? Who remains strong while others question themselves and their commitment?
Many people believe in a "blinders" philosophy. You dont look your competitor in the eye because it causes you to question yourself. It's intimidating. Well, call me crazy, that's exactly the stuff that gets me jacked-up. Sure I'll be nervous at the start as we tread water waiting for the start, but once that "gun" goes off all the nervous energy rushes from your body as adrenaline powers your arms and legs and the test begins. "Here we go. Here I am. Let's race!"
Good luck to all racing this weekend. Believe in yourself.