The distance isn't intimidating to me, but the thought of parsing out my energy over about 5 hours has me giddy. Couple that with the fact that it will be in the upper 80's when I start the run (13.1 miles after a 1.2 mi swim and 56 mile hilly bike course) - and I'm actually pretty interested to see how things pan out time wise.
I like that 'digging deep' feeling that comes with longer endurance events. Where every fiber of your being is telling you to stop, lie down and just wait for someone to carry you back to a bed - preferably in an air conditioned room.
I like going past that limit where you 'see Elvis'. The point where you really can't escape to your happy place. Where it's better to make the place you are in 'happy'.
If the temperature was going to be in the 60's, then I'd still be excited, but in a different way. The higher temperatures and lack of shade though is what will make this event really interesting. Throwing up is not off the table.
The real difference between this race and others is the focus on getting the nutrition right. Right for the duration, right for the intensity and right for the temperature. Here's what I'm planning:
Hammer Sustained Energy on the bike - two bottles (one 2.5 scoops, one 1 scoop) iced down while it sits in T1. Once I clear the aero bottle, I'll refill from the cage bottle so that I can continue drinking without leaving aero. Will pick up a water bottle at the third stop. Food will be a Honey stinger waffle cut into 1/4ths and a stack of Shot Blocks in my little food bag behind the stem. Tried and true things that I know I can stomach at pace, in the heat.
That works out to the following on the bike:
64 oz water
On the run, more Sustained Energy (1.75 scoops) in a flask and water off the aid stations.
20 oz water (8oz in the flask, 3oz every 3mi) - every other aid station will be water in the face and over my head.
I've experimented with a lot of different nutritional products. The Sustained Energy just works with my gut really well at intensity - so I'm sticking with it.
Afterwards - some Mexican food and margaritas. Let Paige drive home that night.
After that, it's recover a few days and then start with some fun 5K training (12x400s come to mind :-) - Get back in the gym and lift weights. TRX work. Mountain bike rides with some friends (already have a Moab trip planned). Maybe a week (or two) of just giving up the car and commuting everywhere by bike. I'm really, REALLY looking forward to the end of this season. Not burned out in the slightest - just really had a blast and want to blow off steam in a HIGHLY unstructured way for a while.
Been also thinking of taking a month and commuting to work 100% by bike. That would be cool too and put me at a whole 'nother level of love with the saddle.
I'm jazzed and can't wait for the gun to go off on Sunday morning! Bike is washed and gave it the once over. Got my hair cut short. Hay is all stacked high in the barn.
'A' race time - time to have fun.