Tomorrow I will. I will go down to the beach/swim-start area and photograph it empty. I'll go to the upper parking deck of the Boardwalk Beachfront Hotel and shoot it with vendors' tents in the setting-up stage. And the computer-printed sign that says, "Parking Lot closed for Ironman." There's no one there. But there are definite signals that there will be.
The Panama City Beach News has little clips about these brave athletes undertaking this grueling event.
Brave? Grueling? Hmmm, it's just me and a bunch of my friends getting together for a swim, then biking all day then, hey, I got an idea, let's go run a marathon. Sure, why not? I was sick of the bike anyway.
I have been in chill-out mode the last few days. We've been traveling down here to FL, trailer in tow, which is such a normal activity for us that it's essentially no different than any other trip from here to there. With traveling, I haven't been training. Training is over anyway. Any further biking or running is just to stay loose, work off nerves (of which I don't seem to have any, not yet), and INCREASE the chance of spraining an ankle, wrecking my bike, or in some other way compromising the race. Swimming..... well, that will serve a purpose. I need to swim in the ocean, preferably before the race start.
The ocean's there, all right. Right across the road. Last night, our first night, Steve and I went down to the beach and watched 3-foot breakers roll ashore. We watched silently for a few minutes. Then Steve said, "So, you're gonna go jump in that and swim, huh?" I said lamely, "Well, once you get past the shoreline breakers, it's smoother....." Today it was lovely. We went and looked and it was beautifully calm. A swimmer in a black wetsuit was swimming back and forth parallel to shore.... bet I know what he was doing.
A group of about 20 bikers, a few of them with disc wheels, rolled past as we were on our way back to our campground. Bet I know what they were up to, too.
We're an easy 5-minute casual stroll from where it happens. Steve can sit in our yard in an easy chair with a cigar, a beer, and the day's crossword puzzle and watch the bikers go by twice and the runners 4 times. I guess he's going to track me on the internet so he'll know when I'm coming, then he'll get up, stretch, saunter to the fence, cheer me on, and go back to his cigar, beer, and crossword puzzle. The penultimate IronMate. Sit under a beach umbrella for 2.4 miles. Relax with a beer, cigar, and crossword puzzle for 112 miles, maybe catch a nap and a movie as well. Then watch the evening news, weather forecast, and the Man Show re-runs for 26.2 miles. It's tough, being an IronMate.