At least once before every Ironman event I like to do a "shorter" course. Typically that would be the Great White North triathlon, but this year none of the 70.3's worked for my schedule. Consequently I decided to run my own for the sake of testing my mechanics: the process of doing a triathlon. That day this year is tomorrow and as always the night before is one full of nervous energy.
First there's the mechanics as an athlete. Do I have my shorts and my watch and my goggles and my wetsuit (damn I forgot my earplug)? Do I have my bike and shoes and helmet and glasses. What about 7 hours of nutrition? Do I have my running shoes and hat and ibuprofen and salt? Are they all in the right bags? Then there's nutrition and lifestyle. Am I eating, drinking and sleeping enough? What time do I need to be awake? What time do I need to be asleep? What about my wife and my kids and the dog? Do I have enough for breakfast without disrupting everyone at 5 am? It's enough to drive you nuts even when you've done it a dozen times.
But this year I've added race organizer to the list of duties. Are the maps accurate? Does the support crew know the route? Do I have enough on-course water and powerade? Do we have the locations of aid stops sufficiently well organized? How unreasonable is traffic going to be? And in both roles, what is the weather going to do? In this case, I've had to move race day by two days because of torrential downpours. When you add it all up, I'm sure there's a totally unreasonable amount of cortisol running through my system.
At the end of the day, though, the point is to have all your failures happen before the big day. Tomorrow is the day that we've granted Murphy free reign. We can only hope that of the two days tomorrow is by far the worse. I can only hope that all the preparation has worked and that this time tomorrow I'm sitting down basking in a successful half ironman. And much like the subject of the famous poem, thinking through it all in my head soon gave me to know I have nothing to dread. To all a good night.