Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kona, Day 4: The Meltdown

The day before the Ironman. All the training is over. Nothing more to do. A day to relax and simply enjoy the moment. Yeah, that ain't happening.

I had a little bit of a meltdown during lunch. I had been up since 5, and by 10:30 I was very hungry and ready for lunch. The hotel restaurant didn't open until 11, so I sat by the pool adjacent to the restaurant and waited for them. They had a simple but nice breakfast buffet and was hoping for something similar for lunch.

11:00 came and I dashed inside. They gave me their menu, and I was horrified: no buffet. Just seafood platters and Prime rib sandwiches and all sorts of things that I just wouldn't eat. I just wanted a plain turkey sandwich. So I got up and left. Steve and Laura caught me as I walking out and i just started babbling about how I couldn't eat there. I realize that the obvious solution may seem to be "go somewhere else" but I pretty much knew I would not be getting the lunch I wanted. (which, by the way, is my own fault because I left my pre-planned sandwich fixings back at the condo.) And I was freaking out about it.

We went to a restaurant across the street from the hotel and the menu had a turkey melt sandwich. I figured I would try to turn that into a plain turkey sandwich, but I would have had a better chance of beating Craig Alexander tomorrow than to get the correct meal.

This is what I wanted: white bread. Turkey. Butter. Nothing else. I tried to explain this to the waitress, but I was completely frazzled to begin with and, God bless her little heart, she wasn't exactly Waitress of the Year. The turkey melt was listed as being served on wheat, and everything fell apart when I tried to question it.

"What kind of bread do you have?"
"It comes on sourdough."
"Do you have white?"
"I don't think so."
"Sourdough is OK, but white would be better. And I thought the sandwich came on wheat, which I'd rather not have."
"No, it comes on sourdough."
"Well the menu says wheat."
"It does? Well I think it's sourdough. Or maybe wheat."

I was trying to explain to her what I wanted, and she didn't seem to even know what my options were, which just got me more flustered. I literally had tears in my eyes trying to order a simple sandwich. She realized I was a basket case and asked me "do you need me to bring you a shot?" I told her "yes, but you better not."

She came with some kind of sandwich on some kind of bread which I couldn't identify. And yes, ultimately it didn't really matter but man did it seem huge at the time.

During lunch, we watched the athletes dropping off their bikes and I didn't think much about it. But then I went back down around 3 and it was an entirely different experience. The street was packed with people, and there were crowds lined up along the bike entrance chute just to watch people drop off their bikes. I had to walk through the crowd and then into the "athletes only" chute and I realized for the upteenth time "this is a really big deal."

I thought I would be OK if I could just make it through the chute, because then I would be alone with my bike. But no. Instead, you're given a personal escort who literally walks you through the entire transition process. We took the same paths I'll be taking tomorrow, and she was explaining everything. I was just trying not to  burst into tears. I can't really explain it, but I was just overwhelmed by the magnitude of everything. For starters, it's a freaking Ironman. And it's the World Championship. And I had 10 friends who would be watching me in Kona. Plus a ton of people tracking me online back in L.A. Friends from high school who barely even knew what a triathlon was would be following me. It was just too much.

My mental breakdown was complete when I got back to the hotel. I was literally hyperventilating and sobbing in the room for no good reason. We had plans to eat dinner back in the condo, and I texted IronmAnnie "Normally I don't drink before a race but I need some wine to take the edge off. Make sure we have some!"

Well I don't know if it was the wine or the food or just being around friends, but I calmed down tremendously during dinner. I went back to the hotel, and basically got about 3 hours of sleep.      


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