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Ironman Race Day in Kona – Best Advice, John Post, MD

…………………………Bill Bell


“Just once in his life, a man has his time. And my time is now, I’m coming alive!” St. Elmo’s Fire


Race Day is October 13, 2012. Batter up!

The above photo of Bill Bell reminds us to learn from those who’ve walked this path before us. A number of years ago at the Thursday evening carbo dinner, they had on stage the oldest man and woman standing with the youngest man and woman in that years race. Emcee Mike Reilly asked the two elders if they had any words of wisdom for their two young counterparts in the event 36 hours hence. Never bashful, or at a loss for words, Bell strode to the microphone and uttered words I’ve never forgotten. “Enjoy your day. You may never come back here or do this race again so I feel strongly that you should just enjoy your day.” He was right of course. Don’t forget.  Enjoy your day.

In my August 26 post, I tried to sum up many years of mistakes so the first timer and support team – family and friends – could have the best Hawaiian experience possible.

This week I’ll focus on race day. Actually, this will begin at noon on Friday. You’ve packed your blue bike bag and red run bag without distraction. You’ve had your bike inspected at the base of the pier under the big Banyan tree, and racked it with a volunteer. Now you hang your two bags – remember, no bag access race morning. Although the volunteer’s job is to gently guide you back off the pier, this is the perfect time to see the steps being built into Kailua Bay that you’ll use in the morning. Why not pretend you’ve just exited the water and simulate the swim-to-bike transition by following the same steps you’ll do in the morning? Shower hoses, changing tent –No, not that one guys, it’s the ladies changing tent. You’d get on NBC for sure…but in a pretty negative light. Understand the path you’ll take out of the water, around the end of the pier, and then again when getting off the bike at the start of T2. Understand it cold.

You already have a pre-race plan including supper, sleep, what to eat and drink race morning before you get in the water. And, you’ve planned for months what you’ll eat and drink during the event. So, the important thing here is to get started earlier than you think. There’s always a line at the port-a-potties, you may have an early morning bike need, back ups have occurred at body marking and the like. Get there early. Get everything done and then relax. Again, get in the water, swim easily to your predetermined place in the ocean relative to your expected finishing time, early thinking lines may form there as well. Plus, you can stand in knee deep water as easily as on the pier, and not risk the bottle neck that always forms there.

When the gun sounds, you’re relaxed, you’re experienced, you’re ready. Ready for a challenging day, but a great day none the less. You will remember this day for the rest of your life. Really, you will.  And as Bill says, enjoy your day…and say thank you to every volunteer.  And the police.


Bill Bell photo WTC

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