OK! I AM AN IRONMAN!!!! I'll break my race report into several sections; this one being the pre-race one. MyKaren, Shelley, Lisa and I all flew down to Panama City on Wednesday. Nothing much to do that evening since we got in after the expo and registration closed. I managed to grab my bike from TriBike Transport before they closed. We fed TriKate and Sharon dinner that evening in our condo as their people were not arriving until the next day. The Boardwalk condos are nice and very close to the action, but still quiet.
We all agreed to a practice swim at 8 am, so we all met up at the Gatorade bag check-in. A pre-swim is a must and the bag check-in is great since you also get free gatorade afterwards. We swam one loop; it was lovely! There was some chop out by the turns, but not too bad. We swam over schools of little fishes and I nearly swam into a jellyfish that was purple and pink. After the swim, we ate breakfast and got our race packets. Reality began to set in about that point, even though I kept thinking I was there for MyKaren and Shelley. Several of us rode our bikes on the run course (another must) so we knew how the run course looked and how far it was. MyKaren, Sharon and I also drove the bike course (yet another must) which showed that the course was not in fact, dead flat. There are some sections of rolling hills, not terribly hard, but rolling hills nonetheless.
Friday was bag check-in day. My sherpas took control and got me all organized and packed up which really reduced my stress! Thanks Sherpas! It was still scary for me to actually drop off my bags and bike in the transition area with all the other really expensive bikes and their zip wheels or disk wheels. My poor little Sweet Pea looked kind of out of place, but we did find a couple of bikes that were really low end and poorly maintained. Dinner was pasta and I tried to get to bed at 8 pm. Tossing and turning and dozing was about all I could manage Friday night...the alarm at 4:15 am was not a surprize.