Yet another beautiful day in Taupo. Partly cloudy, sunny skies, slight breeze blowing. The air is once again super-fresh and it is just lovely country out here. The pace of life is so much slower. The stores are open only from 9 to 5 - something I'm not very used to at all.
Early this morning my Ironman group was supposed to meet at 8am to go swim part of the course. So I put on suntan lotion, get all my gear ready, bodyglide lube up everywhere. Then, I go to put on my wetsuit. I carefully shimmy up the legs, get my arms in there. Then, I go to zip up the back of the suit. It's a bit hard to pull the zipper up because sometimes the neoprene sticks to my skin and I have to stretch it around a bit first. But this time, I don't. I just give it a real hard yank and SNAP! the zipper pops off the wetsuit!
Holee moley! Here I sit at 7:40a in the morning, with a wetsuit that can't close! I was pretty mad but after I calmed down, I impatiently waited another hour or so before setting out to the Orca store. I brought the wetsuit with me and the saleslady took pity on me and gave me $100 NZD off a new Orca Pflex Suit, a suit I've been wanting for some time now but just too lazy to get because I had a wetsuit. Now I need one! At least I walked away from New Zealand with a new very cool wetsuit!
I wander over to the official Ironman store and buy lots of stuff to bring back to my coach and others. Not much of a selection here which is too bad. But I would have had to lug all that back anyways. So maybe it's just as well.
Later at 11a, I join the tour group to ride part of the bike course. I have worried about this big hill on the elevation map provided in the race manual. I ask Andrea Fisher, our pro-Ironman tour guide about it and she says, "Oh don't worry! It's just a pimple!" Ha, I say. It's just her making me feel better. Probably the hill is monstrous and totally energy sapping. So we take off and there are rollers up to the "big" hill and once we hit it, I realize that it truly is just a pimple. It wasn't bad at all. What was kinda bad was the slight headwind on the way back. Just enough to slow you down and sap precious energy away. I just hope that on race day the wind is mild or non-existent. I feel better passing some of the tour group, thinking that my training had been a bit better than theirs. But then I am humbled by a few who dust me in headwind conditions. Still more work to do on my bike.
A little past noon, my two friends make it to the motel. We eat a wonderful lunch at a place overlooking the lake. It is definitely a relaxing environment, totally unlike what I came from back in California.
530p comes and the swim course is open for swimming the whole course, if you want. Too much to do for me so close to race day, but I did miss the swim this morning.
Man, was I sloooooooow. There was a 1 km timed swim and a 3.2 km timed swim, just for fun and some prizes. I didn't enter but I swam the 1 km for kicks. I came in at 26 minutes! Too slow for me - I should have been faster! Sure the water was choppy so hopefully on race day the conditions will be more perfect.
So I still wonder about my time on the race. I hope to not stress about it but can't help thinking about achieving some sort of time goal. I think I will just relax and enjoy the race. 13 hours, 15 hours, 17 hours - as long as I cross the finish line, I'm good.
Sign up for Pacific Grove is tomorrow and I hope I can get in. Already I am thinking of another Ironman and exotic place to do next year. Maybe Ironman Brazil or Ironman Western Australia. Maybe to Europe for Ironman Germany, although that is REALLY hilly I hear. Even though, I am not sure I will do another Ironman, I need to still plan ahead now or else it won't be possible at all to do another one next year due to the popularity of these races.
Off to dinner and then to the Internet cafe for blogging this entry.