Friday, November 28, 2014

The week of Ironman Arizona: Day 4 (Saturday, 11-15-14)

We left P&K’s house today and would spend the next two nights at the Fairfield Inn. This would be known as Base Camp 2.

Today was swim practice day and also when everyone started dropping off their transition bags and racking their bikes. The Village would start humming and buzzing today.

We arrived around 8:30ish and got a feel for what was going on. If I remember correctly you could do the practice swim anywhere from 9:00AM-10:45AM. Athletes were required to wear their timing chip for this so that the event organizers could verify that the athlete that went IN the water and also came OUT of the water.

My husband was lined up and ready to go around 9:30AM. He hadn't planned on swimming very far or for very long.

007This guy seemed out of place without a wetsuit!010017018The water level was low and people were having some difficulties getting up on the stairs. In the photo above you can see the guy in the green cap trying to pull himself up. Look how high up his knee is. But in the picture below you can see where the athlete is actually boosting his butt up on the step first to get up. That was the better way to do it.020I did not know that a snorkel was legal but found out that it is!019

Yeah…you could say the water was a little dirty!022

After the swim, we walked back to the car where he changed clothes and grabbed his transition bags. We then went and got the bike from TriBike Transport and he got in line to rack it. Photos are taken of all the bikes as they enter.

024025027028(Better shot with the 35MM camera.)zCamera (27)

Back up on Mill Street bridge. It was interesting to see how everything was starting to fill up.


There really wasn’t anything else left for him to do. So we tried to hurry back to the hotel to catch the broadcast of the Triathlon World Championship in Kona. We missed about the first 20 minutes. Then it was just relaxing the rest of the day until we needed to find some place to eat.

Oddly, finding a place to eat for dinner was not as easy as we’d hoped it would be. We drove up and down University Drive and didn’t see anything. So we ended back up on Mill Street at the World of Beer restaurant/bar. Not really what either of us had in mind but he found something that sounded good. He wished he could have sampled a few but probably not the best thing to do the night before an Ironman. Sure, he’s knocked back 12 Mich Ultras the night before the half marathon in Vegas but that is like comparing apples to watermelons.

Back to the hotel and then it was my turn to get my “Special Needs” bag ready. I too needed to have everything I thought I would want/need for the day with me since the hotel wasn’t within walking distance.


Then it was lights out early. My alarm was set for 4:30AM.

The week of Ironman Arizona: Day 3 (Friday, 11-14-14)

Another early-ish start on the day. After my husband got up, he began organizing his bags for the race. He wouldn’t be able to check them in until tomorrow but it was good to lay them out, set things on top of them and see if there was anything missing or something that needed to be added.


We posted this picture on Facebook and it was there that someone there pointed out that two of the bags referenced “70.3” and jokingly asked if my husband was backing down already. We hadn't even noticed. I guess you just use what you have leftover.

Another breakfast stop at McDonalds (but a different location this time) and a stop at Circle K for coffee. Not only was the McDonalds from yesterday just “meh” but the coffee was awful! I need my fixins’ for my coffee! Circle K ended up being just the ticket.

Today my husband would take his pedals and have the folks with TriBike Transport put them on for him and then take the bike for a spin. Better to find out if a hiccup may have occurred during shipping TWO days before the race rather than on race day.

As we approached Ironman Village, we noticed they had finished painting the bike ramp like the Arizona state flag.


Getting the pedals put on the bike was as easy as 1…2…3. My husband joked that he wished they would give it just one extra crank because it was just so fast. But that’s what they do for a living; it would have taken him FOREVER to get them on by himself. He went over and aired up the tires, put the stickers on and then went out for just a quick short ride.


While he did that, I walked up on the Mill Street bridge and took some pictures of the Village.


After riding twice – about 20ish minutes both times – he gave the bike back to TriBike Transport and then we walked over to where the Athletes Meeting was to take place.

100zCamera (16)zCamera (15)105

It was all pretty standard stuff for him and no surprises. We walked around a little more since the run course seemed laid out. He was also able to walk in to the transition bags area and was able to see where those would be placed.

109111112They were also setting up the Finish Line area.113114

We decided it was then time to get some lunch. Mill Street has SO MANY options. Today we had a hankerin’ for some Mexican and went to Loco Patron. I was tempted to get a margarita but sadly…did not.


After lunch, my husband walked back up on the Mill Street bridge with me to check out the “overview” as well. Then it was time to head back to P&K’s house.

While we still had all of his stuff and it was in pristine condition, I did a photo shoot with it in P&K’s neighbor’s yard.

004Cactus needles make good race bib holders!007

It was then on to Maggiano’s for pasta and the beginning of carb loading.

Cheers to our future two-time Ironman!116 (1)

Tomorrow we would head to Base Camp 2.

The week of Ironman Arizona: Day 2 (Thursday, 11-13-14)

We both slept really well; exhaustion can be helpful like that. We had set the alarm but both were awake before it went off. That is more surprising for me than it is for him. We had a busy day ahead of us and we wanted to get an early start.

As we left the house I wanted to get another shot of him with the sign and balloons since the lighting was better.


A quick stop at McDonalds for breakfast and then it was on to Tempe Beach Park.  Today was the first day for Athlete Check-in!


The FIRST order of business was to check-in, get his number and wrist band. Thankfully the line wasn’t very long yet.



Then it was time to hit the Merchandise store! I definitely wanted to get a new Ironmate shirt but he tore through that place like the Tasmanian Devil. “I’ll take one of these and one of these and one of these.” We’ve learned that you need to get in these stores early and get what you want because the later it gets and the more days that pass, they can start to run out of sizes.

Side note: we were in stitches when - after the guy put the wrist band on my husband and gave him his bib and stickers – we were told that we needed to go though the merchandise tent to get the Ironman backpack. It reminded us of when you check into a hotel in Vegas; seems you have to go through the casino before you can get to the elevators and up to your room. They don’t want to miss out on the first opportunity to get some of your money!

We walked back over to the TriBike Transport area and it had filled up.


We then walked around the Village and checked out some of the vendors. We stopped at the Norma Tec booth and tried out their systems.  My husband used the lower body system and I used the hip system. If these bad boys weren't so freaking expensive, we’d buy them!

046Not a flattering picture of me but I’m posting it anyway.048

Those things must have also stimulated our hunger. We left the Village and walked up Mill Street to find a place to eat. New York Pizza Dept. looked like a good place…and it was. YUM!


Since we were energized after lunch we decided to walk through the Village again.

034Better view of the bike area during the day035054055061

We stopped at the Got Chocolate Milk booth and had some fun.

Choc Milk

But alas, it would soon be time to leave.  We were having dinner with the Arizona Chapter of the Skelton Family later in the evening.  We would need to head back east to P & K’s house to clean up and change clothes and then drive at least an hour west (maybe longer depending on the traffic – which had mostly been obnoxious) to Peoria, AZ.

Dinner was at the Cheesecake Factory. Everyone was able to attend except for S.S. and sadly we forgot to take a family photo! This dinner would also be when I’d get my Skelton team shirt and the “surprises” to be given to my husband later. As luck would have it, we sat outside and he was facing where we had parked so we had to wait until he (FINALLY) went to the bathroom before the cousins could break into action and put the stuff in the trunk of the rental car. Oblivious to him, we were texting back & forth during dinner trying to plan when we could get these items moved!

I was able to coordinate a Good Luck dessert for him that night.068