It’s 7:35PM as I start to write this. Swimmers will start hitting the water at 7:30am tomorrow. I won’t be in first, but somewhere in the next 45 minutes I’ll be there.
I spent yesterday touring some of bourbon country. It was traumatic (for me) to leave Scully in doggie day care, but she did fine. Meanwhile, I visited some of my favorite distilleries in Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace. We did tastings at two of them and a tour at Buffalo Trace. It was a really neat experience! Even if you don’t like bourbon, its neat to see the history.
Four Roses was under construction so we didn’t do the distillery tour, but instead did a short tasting event out on the veranda near the visitor center. We tried all 3 of their products, which was fine by me, since I love them all. They let us keep the glasses afterwards too. It was really kinda neat, and we picked up some tips on other ways to use bourbon (but I doubt I’ll be pouring it over a bowl of M&Ms, as one suggestion went). Here are a few shots from there:
Next up was Wild Turkey, and there was a long wait to get a tour so we didn’t do that, just poked around the grounds and visitor center. I love this shot with the warehouses in the background–there were photos inside that were 100 years old that had the same buildings. Tons of history here.
Last was Buffalo Trace, where we did a tour and tasting. Free tour, and really neat also. It finished with a tasting of two bourbons, bourbon cream, and bourbon chocolates. We ended up buying 3 bottles of the bourbon cream. I think Baileys is officially dead in our house.
On the way back we stopped by a highly rated local liquor store, where I picked up 4 bottles, all things I can’t get back home. All in all an expensive but fun day.
Today started with a big breakfast taken out from a place called Wild Eggs. I highly recommend it if you come out this way. HUGE pancakes and excellent breakfast fare. Then it was a practice swim in the Ohio River. I was able to get in the water and see what the current would be like. It’s probably about 1-2mph, not a ton, but still a little bit of a boost. The swim is mostly downstream and I feel confident about it. Scully got nervous about what I was doing, but was happy to see me come out of the water.
The rest of the day was mostly rest and bike/gear check in. I got out on my bike for a few miles JUST to be sure the mechanics did a good job. It feels great. It is now sitting on the rack waiting for tomorrow.
Both my bike and run transition bags are there too, waiting for me to go through. Along with 5000 other bags.
I spent tonight looking through some tips, and I am about to read all of my cards again. I’ll be up at 5:30 to head down to the transition with a few last-minute things (like my water bottles) and my special needs bags. Then, it’s off to wait for the swim. The swim is a rolling start, so faster swimmers go first and slower go in the back. I imagine I’ll be somewhere in the middle.
My strategy is simply to go slow and try to enjoy the experience. This is my one time doing this. I want that tattoo. I want that finisher shirt. All I need to do now is not do anything stupid and gut it out for 13 hours or so. For the swim, I plan to take it easy, kick only enough to stay level to save my legs, and use the current to my advantage. For the bike, I read some great advice which said “If I think I am going too fast, I am”. This is easily the riskiest part since I normally ride very hard on the bike. I need to take it slow. Painfully slow. Take breaks. Eat the ride in about six 17-18 mile chunks. Keep up my nutrition and remember I have a marathon to get to.
It may be a bit challenging because of the rain in the forecast, but in a way it’s a blessing because it will keep it cool and encourage me to stay in control on slick roads. But stay cool and forget the clock.
For the run, I am already planning on running about 5 minutes and walking 1 minute the whole time. This will keep me on a reasonable mental schedule where I am taking good breaks and not trying to jack-rabbit. Stay within myself. Walk when I need to. Enjoy the atmosphere. Smile. Say hi to people.
I guess what I am trying to say is my focus is on really, really LIVING this experience and not trying to zip through it. Not only will that be more likely to fail, but it will defeat the whole point. Slow down, look around, live this 13 hours like I’ll never live it again. Because I won’t. And that means if it takes 14 instead of 13, that’s not a failure. It may even be a success.
If for some god awful reason you have nothing to do Sunday, you can track my progress at this link. I am bib 2309. If you have a spare second or two, throw positive thoughts my way. It will be the toughest and best day of my life if all goes well. Let’s hope it does.
See you on the flip side.