This is a special time before any race where you have to believe you have done everything possible to prepare you for the BIG day. With all of the 'hard' workouts behind me, the taper phase often leaves me feeling somewhat antsy. It's funny, during the active training phase, I look forward to the easy days, and during the taper, all I want to do is 'give'er' , probably because the body is resting and remembering what it is you have trained it to do.
Even though event organizers insist water temps will be in the low 60's (15C) race day, on last check, the water temperature was a mere 13C (55F). Either way, it will be a shock jumping in - but I'm ready for it.
I have spent the past few weeks doing a lot of visualization, deep breathing, and head-checks. Any athlete will tell you that if you don't have your 'head straight' on race day, you are doomed. I have been working on staying 'relaxed & focused' both in and out of the water. Self-talk works well for me, so I have created a mantra of sorts to help me stay true to my goal it is: "Long, Strong, Easy" or L-S-E for short. The "Long" reminds me to stay lengthened in my stroke, "Strong" is for a strong pull-thourgh, and mental strength, "Easy" is for my breathing and to remind me to stay relaxed (ie: to not fight the water). I used only 3 words, or 3 beats, (in contrast to my Ironman 70.3 "Strength, Determination, Anything is Possible" with 2 beats per word) to match my stroke count. I'm big on rhythm. It helps me focus and stay present. Must be my musical background that insists on beat and rhythm being part of the equation. My mother will be so proud. HA!
So it's down to the last 5 swims. 6 if you count the dip I'm planning to take in San Fran on the 25th or 26th. Ok, 7 if you include the 28th at 9:10am when the ferry horn sounds launching the start of the swim from Alcatraz.
Whooop! It's gonna be a crazy-amazing countdown from here on in!