The First Days Are The Hardest Days

Welcome to Florida. After an uneventful car journey and flight we arrived at MCO this afternoon and got settled into the hotel. Interestingly, when the pilot announced the temperature here it was lower than that at O’hare when we had left 3 hours earlier (and 1000 miles north-er). However, as is usually the case in Florida, once the door to the plane opened, it was glaringly obvious that the humidity was significantly higher here than back in Chicago – so high, in fact, that it was raining as we landed.

I will be picking up my rental bike at Bob’s Bicycle Shop about 20 minutes south of here and getting a ride in to get acclimated to the weather and surroundings. Not sure exactly what make/model it will be but should be something like a Trek 1 series aluminium road bike which is significantly lighter and quicker than the hybrid Trek 8 series Dual Sport I have been training on. I’ll take whatever advantages I can get.

The weather forecast for Sunday is looking to be good temps and some wind along the coast. Luckily, I live (and train) in a wind tunnel neighbourhood and am no stranger to a good 15 mph clip of breeze. Whilst I would prefer to bike with no wind for once, I am not too concerned about the implications of a breezy day. For those of you who know Florida weather it will come as no surprise that there is a chance of rain later in the afternoon (as there is just about every day), but seems to be clear in the morning.

I went into this race thinking that my only goal was to complete the race. That goal is still the primary one, but as questions arose from my wife around where she and my son should be at various times in the day to have a chance to see me pass by, I had to really think about the times that the various segments of the race would take me to complete. I am not considering these “goals” or “targets” but rather “guidelines for viewing opportunities.” There, disclaimer successfully issued. So for the swim, I am hoping for no more than 20 minutes for the 1/4 mile distance, 2 hours 30 minutes for the 33 mile bile ride and 60 minutes for the 5k run. These times include things like “getting back on course because the current took me a few hundred metres out of the planned swim lane,” plus “I stopped to get a picture of me on my bike in front of Launch Pad 39B” and most importantly, “I run like an elephant and must stop every 5 minutes to wheeze and ask myself what I am doing differently from those that actually enjoy running.” So if I don’t make those times, then you know the reasons why!

Hydration has begun and my trusty water bottle and I are now inseparable for the next few days when it will be replaced with a celebratory beer after successfully completing the race.

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