Tuesday I made a big mistake. I started reading race reports from people who did Ironman Louisville the last time there was a major heat wave, and 26% of the field either DNS or DNF. (Sidenote: Currently Accuweather is predicting a race day high of 87 with rain... which to me sounds absolutely wonderful. Still 9 days out, and the forecast for Saturday is a ridiculous-for-running-a-marathon-at-4pm high of 92 degrees with blaring sun...) And news articles where people didn't just not finish... they died. I ended up going to bed terrified, tossed and turned until 3am, had to miss swimming in the morning because I didn't think I could function on 2 hours of sleep, and then spent the entire day thinking about What Ifs.
In Ironman Louisville 2011 a man died in the first 8 minutes of the swim. Athletes helped him to shore, but he had drowned after possibly having a heart attack in the water. There have been countless stories like this -- in fact, just last week in the NYC Ironman the same thing happened. This summer alone there have been at least 8 drownings in triathlon, and I read that statistically there are 18 per year in the US. I'm not sure how much swimming experience these people had, how much open water experience, etc. I grew up swimming in a lake, I did my first open water swimming at Camp Aloha when I was 14 (across thee lake swim), I carried lifeguard certification for five years, and I don't tend to panic in the water. Still... the stories are scary.
A little less scary but still disappointing -- I read a race report of a woman who trained hard and was doing well until the 15th mile of the run, and then her body just gave out on her. This was in 2010 when the temperature was well over 90 degrees. And she wasn't someone who lacked in running volume -- in fact, she was a 3:30 marathoner. I just can't imagine how I'd feel if I worked that hard and then my body quit on me at that stage in the race. It happened to someone in our Tri-Club last month, as well -- except he was at the 18th mile. Just about finished. And they pulled him off the course. His day was over, just like that.
And then there is always the bike failure what if. What if my chain breaks? What if I flat... or double flat... or a spoke breaks....
What if what if what if what if what if?!?