For an Ironman race, nearly everything is completed by two days before race day. Usually you can only check-in two days before the race (I believe that for this race, Ironman New Zealand, they opened up check-in at some point during the day before, but I think this is quite rare). If there is a welcome dinner or ceremony, it is two nights before race day. Thus you are in town, picked up your things, and should be fairly well set to go for race day.
The only must-do on the day before race day is to drop off your bike and gear bags. Here is my bike, Pure Happiness, racked and ready for the final touches tomorrow (pumping up tires and loading on some water and snacks).
Most training plans have something very light for the day prior to race day just to get your muscles moving. I think often people keep speed on these days, but keep it short. I personally don’t have much speed anyway, and with our travel and my 48 hour suitcase delay, the only exercise I did since leaving Alaska was a run and a bike ride 2 days before the race; and then I got in the water and went for a short swim the day prior – today. Otherwise, I think you want to rest as much as possible. I hear that movie theaters are often packed the day before the race.
I am nervous and also kind of dreading the pain that I know comes with race day. I am trying to dig deep and find something to push me along. I know that stubbornness keeps me moving forward, but I also know that when out there I have trouble moving quickly even when I know I can move more quickly. At some point it is as if I don’t care about time or maybe even finishing, but I certainly wont stop, so I keep moving forward and so far have been fortunate enough to have hit the time deadlines so that I have made it across that finish line. As I write this, I have 16 hours to find that something to push me more than just being too stubborn to quit. My first race it was the fear of not finishing. Perhaps tomorrow it will be that same fear as I have never done a course that wasn’t classified by Ironman as a flat course. (To be fair, the two races I have done since my first one were also bloody hot, so perhaps if conditions are better that will also help to keep me motivated). There are hills on the bike and the run, and the pavement is also less than smooth – much of it apparently is pieces of gravel that are sealed, but will be quite bumpy (chip sealed)…yippee!!!
We will see what happens, but one thing is for sure, I will keep moving forward as long as I can, and I am honored to get to participate in such an event with some amazing folks who pay massive amounts of money to spend a full day moving forward in the water, on wheels, and then our own two feet.