My first Ironman 70.3. At the finish line between mistakes and fears. Part 2 °

Preparation for the race

I’m ready, I know my potential and my limits perfectly, I have no more doubts, I’ll make it!

For days now I have been telling myself that I want to finish it, I tell myself and I also tell the people I talk to about the race. I tell everyone what my strategy will be, and every time I tell it I imagine it clearly, with the arrival on the finish line included. In doing so I am designing my future, this practice is defined as ideomotor training.

I often talk to sports friends and athletes from various disciplines who, on the eve of a race, tell about past experiences and situations that have negatively affected their performance. Returning to those moments with my memories, they are creating fertile ground to generate concern and disempowering beliefs, both of which are of little use in preparing for a race.

This happens during the dinner in the company of, Annalaura Maurin, Annamaria Plizzardi, her son and another friend who will also be at the start of 70.3 and with Marco Lorenzi who will participate in his first Olympic. The respectfully non-alcoholic evening passes between tales of competitions and various sporting adventures. Our expert triathlete say they are “agitated” and for most of the evening, chatting, they report stories of bicycle accidents, encounters with jellyfish while swimming and other not very reassuring anecdotes.

Both the attitude and the words used to describe their mood do not help to develop positive energy. My parkinsonaut friend Angelo Gualtieri, who accompanies me on this journey, listens with curiosity to stories of a world that is all new to him, he has been a triathlete for two months and two races.

In the evening, before going to bed, everything is ready, I want to wake up calmly and approach the time of departure calmly. The red and blue bags are ready in the afternoon, the stickers are already placed on the helmet and on the bicycle, the bottles with salts and maltodextrin are in the freezer to freeze, doing so tomorrow, when I leave by bike, I will have fresh water even if they will be in the bottle cage on the bike for a couple of hours already. Clean goggles and goggles, bars and gels chosen and ready and positioned on the bicycle, bib filled in and hooked to the bib holder, inflate and repair ready under the saddle in the event of a puncture.

In the refrigerator there is brown rice with tuna, ready with a light dressing of EVO oil and lemon, which I will eat about two and a half hours before departure. Tomorrow morning for breakfast, I’ll make myself a wholemeal sandwich, with honey and peanut butter, which I’ll put in the cycling bag. It will be an excellent ration of energy at the start for about 3 hours of cycling, I also use it in training, eating it during the swim / bike transition will also help me to eradicate the nausea that I often feel when exiting open water swimming.

In the days before the race I changed the inner tube of the rear wheel because it was not holding the pressure, before going to bed I double-check the situation and I realize that the problem still persists. So, at 11 pm, in the room, I decide to proceed with a further change of inner tube, so that by the morning I will know if the problem is solved, so as to still have room for intervention before departure.

For me, the night before a race, whether it was tennis, sailing, marathon or triathlon, has always been a night when I sleep little, I can’t wait for it to be morning and the adrenaline is already high. I am already a light sleeper and the average of my hours of rest is around 5/6, this time I decide to take a few drops of sleeping pills that allow me to fall asleep quickly, it happens around 11.45 pm and I do not set any alarm, I will have all the time to wake up when I want.

Unfortunately, however, Angelo, my roommate, between 5.15 and 5.30 decides to listen to the whole collection of ringtones of his wake-up call that he forgot to disable and my night of rest before the pre-match ends there. The first thing I do, right after going to the bathroom, is to check if the pressure has been maintained correctly, well everything is ok.

I go back to bed, we have a laugh, then he goes for a swim at dawn, I roll around in bed, take the first drug of the day, do some breathing exercises while I meditate for 20 minutes and get ready for breakfast, when Angelo returns at 7:30 we go to have breakfast. It will be a king’s breakfast, even the morning will be marked by various moments of refueling for the race.

Let’s go back to the room, I double-check the weather forecasts that continue to be uncertain, I do a mental review of the whole organization, I relax a little while lying on the bed while I check the results of my teammates who competed in the Ironman on Saturday, they were very good they all completed their race.

Even Aldo Rock , once again, ended his fatigue, shortly out of time but there were still friends, Dario Nardone and Fabio D’Annunzio, waiting for him together with race director Max Rovatti, who then accompanied him in the hotel with a golf course vehicle.

After 16 hours, Mauro Cennerazzo also completed his incredible challenge, who arrived here after having accompanied Sara Rubatto on the “Più Giri più Vivi” Solidarity Tour of Italy which he organized with her. I had cycled with her in a couple of stages in August between Anzio and Paestum, telling you about it in the article, A week of Solidarity Triathlon . Theirs is a beautiful and ambitious project that they have completed in Cervia, with the final icing of the red carpet covered by Mauro upon his arrival of the Ironman.

The morning slips by between a few posts and a couple of phone calls until the procedure that I have established begins. I start wearing the heart rate monitor, I put on the racing suit, I eat the rice that I had put in the sun to warm it up a little.

I go down to the bar to collect the water bottles, put on a T-shirt and a pair of Bermuda shorts that I will leave in the white bag that must be delivered to the village to find it on arrival, I put all the bags in my backpack and on my bicycle I set off towards the change area, my access time is between 10 and 11. I am happy and excited, on the road I meet fans and other athletes who are heading towards the starting area, I smile and sing and I get ready for a new fantastic sporting adventure.

I arrive at the entrance to the? Of the transition area with the helmet on my head well fastened, I am asked to remove the blue and red bags from the backpack and to enter keeping them in view, I enter and calmly head towards my position, through this endless row of beautiful and colorful bicycles that shine in the sun. While I look for my number 2520, I look around, the air around me is electrifying, as always there is someone who has forgotten something and is looking for help.

Here I am in front of my space, I position the bike, I take off my helmet, I place it on the bike, I take the bottles out of the cooler and put them in the bottle cage, I put the bags on the ground one to the right and the other to the left of the front wheel. I put the levodopa in the running shoes that I will take between the bike and the run, I open the bars and place them in the container on the tube behind the handlebars, check that the gear ratio is the right one to start with momentum and off I am ready. A few meters away there are Annalaura and Annamaria, we take a photo and off to the delivery of the bag, there is the appointment with Alberto for the last information and the last “good luck” before the race.

Continues…. we meet again on the beach ready to go