Countdown and Quotes

Race minus 3.5 days. I’m relaxing and actually haven’t been getting nervous, although as soon as I counted backwards on the calendar just now to come up with “3.5 days”, I could feel that faint tightening in the chest. No worries, though.

What’s done has been done and I can’t do anything else to get me ready. But I can throw it all away (I won’t). I have had a niggling pain behind my left knee for about a week now, so I’ve kept away from running. I’ve been getting my bike and swim in though.

Friday night I checked the water temp and saw that it was down to 80F, five degrees colder than the week before. We had a good couple of days of thunderstorms, so the heavy rain helped drop the temp. Of course, the “what if’s” kicked in and I realized I needed to think about renting a wetsuit. Turns out that I needed to order it by Friday noon in order to get it in time. So much for that idea. There’s no place local to rent, either. So what must one do? Punt.

I got out to the lake Monday morning, sans wetsuit. Conditions were similar to what they’re forecast to be Saturday, so it was a good test. I jumped in and it was fine. The beauty is that I generate so much heat when I exercise that I’ll be plenty warm. A wetsuit probably would have made me overheat.

The beach where we’ll race from is closed for the season, so I parked down the shore then hiked the path most of the way to the beach. I found a spot that let me spot a dock about 1/2 mile away and I figured that was a good swim plus sighting test. Straight line all the way, baby! And that’s what I swam. When I got the the dock, there was a couple bundled up in fleece jackets and jeans, looking at me like I was nuts. But the water was about 15 degrees warmer than the air, so I was good. I smiled, turned and spotted my way back to my starting point. All in all, a good swim.

Traipsing back through the forest to the car, I realized that I was walking in sandals through prime copperhead country, since I decided to depart the path. Not a good feeling, especially since I was out there alone and my goddess was in the airways between Oklahoma City and Chicago at the time. Not much she could have done for me there. Oh well, at least they could have used my Road ID to identify my body.

Water temp today is 79.

Yesterday, a good friend of mine surprised me with a wonderful e-mail. Apparently she’s been waiting for this week to send me some inspirational quotes. And she started off with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Ayn Rand.

In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice your world to those who are at its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man is at his best with uncompromising values, and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.

Today she sent her favorite poem. Amazing words here:

by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

Thank you so much for the inspiration and support, Beth!

I’ll continue to share throughout the week.

Time to go get my bags ready…

6 thoughts on “Countdown and Quotes”

  1. Feel free to discard this advice considering my reputation with wetsuits, but it sounds like the water temperature is high enough that they’re probably prohibited anyway…

    Sounds like you’re really feeding that fire in your belly, GOOD LUCK!

  2. Uh oh, now I have come up with good quotes!

    You’re very much welcome for the support…knowing all that you have to juggle with work plus finding time to do the family stuff and you’re still able to do an Ironman – you’re my hero! Definitely something that i’ll never do.

  3. @NO Wetsuit Girl,


    According to USAT rules, wetsuits are forbidden when the water temp 84F or greater. They are optional 79-83F (but racers aren’t eligible for prizes) and anyone can wear one when the temp is 78F or colder.

    I was worried that it would drop significantly this week, but it hasn’t happened yet (it’s still 79F today).

    One of the funny things I’ve watched over the years is the panic that folks get into the week of the race, worry about whether or not they’ll be able to wear a wetsuit. Most want to so they can use the advantage of the suit. I’m not worried about such things. I just didn’t want to get too cold that morning. But that’s not a concern now, thanks to the swim on Monday.

  4. Water temperature warm enough not to need a wetsuit just to ensure survival beyond two minutes? Gosh! I didn’t know you could get that. The water temperature here is currently 53F. And people DO swim in it without a wetsuit. Not me though – I’m not that stoopid.

    We don’t have snakes here – I actually had to look up what a copperhead is! You can take heart from the fact that (according to Wikipedia, so it must be true), “bites are almost never fatal. Bite symptoms include intense pain, tingling, throbbing, swelling, and severe nausea. Damage can occur to muscle and bone tissue, especially when the bite occurs in the outer extremities such as the hands and feet, areas in which there is not a large muscle mass to absorb the venom.” So it probably wouldn’t kill you – just really mess up your race.

  5. Oh, and I guess this one from Roald Dahl is for No Wetsuit Girl:

    A woman who my mother knows
    Came in and took off all her clothes

    Said I, not being very old,
    “By golly gosh, you must be cold!”

    “No, no!” she cried. “Indeed I’m not!
    I’m feeling devilishly hot!”

  6. Hehe. That’s funny, Karl.

    I remember my first winter learning to surf in southern California. Water temps dipped to about 47F (08C). No wetsuit. We got through it sheerly on willpower. Looking back at it, I know we were clinically hypothermic several times and should have been admitted (take that how you will).

    Yeah, a bite like that would have definitely put a crimp in the race plans.

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