Athlete check in at an Ironman race is kind of a rite of passage. This is where you get your wristband that will identify you to anyone and everyone who is in on the game that you are one of ones putting yourself through this stupid thing this weekend. It makes me wonder whether the athlete wristband is a symbol of bravery or temporary stupidness. Maybe it’s not a symbol at all but only what it is: your admission ticket to the field of play on race day. But it’s a pretty big field - covering a fairly ridiculous 226 kilometres. What were any of us thinking??!! More specifically, what was I thinking?
On Thursday, the race expo opens and athlete check in begins. That’s when the race venue starts to come to life and the nerves start to kick in.
The race expo was relatively small and it was pretty quiet when I registered early on Day 1 of registration and I am glad for that as I could get wander a bit, take it in and then just get out and relax. But I did find one booth that pulled me in and I’d go back in a heartbeat if it were possible and polite. But one 15-minute stop was refreshing, rewarding and worth every one of those minutes.
Training for any ultra endurance event takes a ridiculous amount of time and covers a lot a lot of miles. It takes a toll on a human body: repetitive stress on the same muscle groups concentrated primarily on one plane of movement can cause imbalances and compensations that pull us into or close to or predisposed to injury. In most of my triathlon career, I have been blessed to remain relatively injury free, barring the odd bike crash or fall on the run. This year, though, that has not been the case and I’ve been a fairly regular visitor to my physiotherapist as well as having had to take time off running a few times.
At this race expo, I allowed myself to fall onto the table at the Restore booth for a complementary 15 minute full body stretch by once of their therapists, Louis. Without going into detail, I will just say that I am 100% a convert on the benefits and this is something I will absolutely seek out in the future: injury prevention could prove to be a more efficient path to positive performance than injury induced training interruptions. After this short treatment I felt refreshed, balanced and almost taller, if that makes sense. I’ve shared a few pics from my treatment.
Now, I’m not sure what I was really thinking when I signed up for this gig but, right now, what I think is that it’s time for some poolside reading and relaxation.
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