So in the 2 weeks that I had to recover from Hood to Coast, I managed to stay intact and make sure I monitored my workouts with moderate intensity, got treatment from SMT to flush any residual soreness, and get adjusted to time back on the east coast. This meant weather wise, sweating again and acclimating to the high dew points in the mornings. Gina and I got stuff done in a flurry that weekend and made sure we were all set and ready come Thursdays departure. We looked forward to getting away and putting an end to the racing season with a nice trip together.

Big thanks to EG again for taking care of Holmes for us while we are gone, and another shout out to Christine Hamlett for the lucky skirt steak she made for me to have on Tuesday and Wednesday night. It’s been a nice lucky meal before big events this year a and it’s good!!!! Also Jody Dennis for the cookies for the plane! The weather out in Henderson was a déjà vu of Lubbock with 95-100 degree highs and lows only in the 70′s. my kind of weather for racing, it also easy to pack for.

Thursday morning we had time to ease into things as our flight left at 11am. We took a direct one this time and was worth it. I was able to go for a shake out jog, and Gina handled any last minute items to be addressed. We drove to the airport, parked, got checked in, and with no lines at security, got to our gate all in a span of 45 minutes! Small snack and on the plane we were. No delays. Nothing. We had seats right next to the bathroom (which is a good thing since you can get up whenever and stretch), but the social phenomenon we encountered was that 8 out of 10 people do NOT close the door behind them after using the restroom. Unreal! Knowing someone is sitting right across from it too. Hilarious. We love observation when traveling, seriously, even if we get screwed too. I also don’t get the idea of serving the drinks and such in small cups with ice. I totally avoid it, opting instead for java to refill my big cup from the airport. Unless of course they give out the entire cans yo, then I take one. Less waste no?? We both read Gina’s HGTV magazine and had plenty of reading material to have the 4 hour flight pass on.

We both started to get butt restless even with stand up breaks, and landing couldn’t come sooner. Gina always had a hard time knowing what time she is at so at 2pm PST we were in Vegas, well 5pm EST. we were here just 2 years ago and it seemed like last month. The pop of the slot machines, bright lights, big airport letting you know where you are. No joke, THIS is the airport to people watch. We got to our bags, loaded up on a bus that took you 5 miles away to the rental car terminal. It’s 100 degrees already, but ok. Once at the rental car place we lined up for Hertz and a couple in front of us asked if we were here for the race. Now they were all decked out in there Ironman branded gear swag from other races. On the plane I told Gina my approach to ANYONE who started a conversation with us about racing, etc was going to go like this, and I followed through:
Racer: You doing the race too?
Me: He’ll yeah, here to kick some ass, you ready to do the same?
Racer: oh yeah, it was tough last year and it was hot.
Me: well, redeem yourself, lets get out there and kick ass.
Racer: yeah your right I will try
Me: if I see you I give you props we all out there in hell together.

And so it was. She loved it. Blunt, honest, no joking around. Gina and I are here to do some racing, but know we tune it out when not doing non racing obligations. Have some fun soak up the sights. Love it. So we got in our Chevy Mailbu with what else- Texas license plates ( shout out luck to Wilson’s in Lubbock) and drove the 10 minutes to the hotel. The Marriott was within 3 miles from all the action other than the swim start which was at the “host” hotel some 10 miles away. We stayed there last time for the ITU World Champs two years ago and knew NOTHING was happening there. What a great call this time. We checked in a it is a semi-suite room with a couch and business section. Great deal. And we got a great discount too on the rental car all for being AAA members. Score. And big props to Melissa and the crew at IOS for the bike shipping. The bike case was right at the front desk having just been delivered!
Still wired due to the sunlight, we settled in, went to get my race number stuff, walked around, then shopped at Whole Foods for stuff we would need the next few days. That place does real well this week as it is the place to get that healthy food shopping options if you have a fridge and microwave. Back at the hotel, we had a few hours so we just chilled a bit watching the news, I unpacked the bike, showered, and THEN as the sun went down drove to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Now that place is no joke. Serious good food. And the dessert. – damn, we both got a slice a cake – and I mean a slice, and ate half of it in the room afterwards! Talk about a travel day. We passed out in our comfy bed once the football game was over at 10pm. That’s 1am EST a full 20 hours ago.

Needless to say we both enjoyed a deep sleep. We got up around 7 and took a nice 45 minute walk together to loosen up. I have started having G using a Polar to check her heart rate out and I made sure my RC3 was satellite hooked as well. I then took an extra 20 minutes to jog and do some strides. We had a nice breakfast as the lobby was filled with triathletes everywhere. The tension from around was easily felt but Gina and I find it calms us down. No anxiety here. I will wait till tomorrow. Once done, I took the Black Widow2 out for a quick 30 minute spin to check the gears and adjustments but it was already 100 degrees. Then we took a dip in the pool and now we are off to a chocolate factory just to fill some time and get away from the hotel. Our only race obligation today is the pre race meeting which should really help me settle into race mode. Until then, I made sure all my stuff was laid out and organized ahead of time so we can enjoy the rest of the day. We did check out the Mars M&M factory and cactus garden, which allowed me more reinforcement and visual cues to how to formulate the TEAMMC joint I have in the business plan. oh and stock up on a few chocolates of course yo!! Then. with a storm brewing in, opted to just “chillax” in the room where she took a nice nap. Nothing like watching prime time sporting events at 4pm.
So we will dine home style here at the hotel with what we bought at Whole Foods and yes, we got a bottle of sangria of which we will tap into as a game plan meeting drink!! (And yes we have one for post race). Then it’s a solid good night sleep again, tonight being most important.

Saturday, I will do a quick trot and spin KISS style. Then we have to check in my bike and race gear sometime early afternoon as mandated by race officials. We should have most of that done early and you want to get that done and over with to avoid any and all of the race tension that hovers when you get 2000 athletes in an area the day before a race. This will allow us time to get in any miscellaneous stuff and really start to clamp down to business. I like to sit with her for some quiet focus time the evening before to dig deep and dial in. She reinforces why we are here, coach style, no BS. I will unleash a flurry of emotional, physical, spiritual feelings that fuel the engine within. Never truly to be revealed, it’s ME vs. MYself. Time to shred those layers. Embrace the dark side, emerge a new. Now race ready, I am looking forward to it. Yo.

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