I have never been to St. George but it is absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately the wind today was blowing about 25-30mph which made our pre race bike ride a little less than pleasant. However we did go to a gorgeous place called snow canyon where the scenery was truly breathtaking. (see photos in the next email). We did a photo shoot at this canyon for the company that actually made it possible for us to come out here and do the race. The company is "Young Living" and they produce amazing essential oils and a super antioxident drink called "Ninxia Red" which all of us have been enjoying to help us with our recovery as well as our general health. They filmed us both riding and running up and down the hills of this gorgeous canyon and it allowed us to experience some level of exercising at altitude as well as work out some pre race jitters. We did see some interesting wildlife and nature such as roadrunners, eagles, wild flowers and "frabbits"...........lol ok this is a small rodent that we couldnt' really see as it was fuzzy and small but hopped and sprinted at an amazing speed so we figured it was some interesting combo of a frog and rabbit. It was a good source of humor to lighten the mood anyway.
So the race begins with a swim in Sandy Hollow resovoir and it is basically melted snow so it's definitely going to be a cold swim and wetsuits are a must. I think the water temp is "up" to 59 degrees now............that is really not much improvement in my book but there will be close to 2500 of us that have to deal with the same conditions. We will then bike out of the canyon and head thru downtown st. George and up in the mountains for a hilly 2 loop bike course. This race is unique in that there are 2 transition areas. Typically there is only one transition area and that is where everything takes places. You have your bike set up on a rack and then your bike and run gear are in color coded bags that you pick up on your way to the changing tent. This time we start the swim and get the bike stuff but finish the bike at another location to start the run. For those of you who don't know, the Ironman consists of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running which is 140.6 miles you must travel powered by your own body. As I said before, I have done 10 of them and yet, when I think about what I am about to ask of my body, I tend to question my sanity. Perhaps that is what lures us back to this crazy event. It's obviously a physical challenge, but more definitively, a mental challenge. Your mind can play crazy tricks on you and one minute you are on cloud nine and you are feeling stronger than you ever thought possible and the next minute you are filled with self doubt and suddenly aware of how bad your body hurts and all you want to do is "stop". But the race itself is such an amazing event that it is actually really difficult to "quit". The volunteers are absolutely amazing and the encouragement of family members and spectators make all the difference in the world. I think that is what makes Ironman unique. You will not find anything so inspiring as the volunteers and race officials as you will at an Ironman. They will cheer as hard for the first place pro as they will for the last place amateur and that will bring the strongest of heart to tears. Perhaps that is why I love this insane event.......everyone is on their own yet we are all facing the same daunting task of completing such a difficult challenge. And to finish, well that will be as rewarding for me at number 10 as it was for number 1.