+: Volunteering at the Columbia turnaround aid station was amazing! I mean, parts are a bit boring and your feet get tired, but it was daunting and inspirational in equal measure. I really liked the people I was working with; it was fascinating getting to make my own up-close-and-personal observations about the state one can expect to be in at mile 23 of a hot humid hilly Ironman marathon; and it's my true home turf, the place I start the huge majority of my runs and one block from where I have lived and worked for over a decade.
-: I was truly set on registering, privilege of volunteer wristband one received at end of full shift. I got there just before 8 this morning, full of some trepidation but more excitement and feeling that this really was going to work out this time (I've registered twice now for IM races and twice not been able to race, ugh). BUT there was considerable unrest in the line, due to two factors. NEITHER of which we had been informed of in writing - and I still am going to feel like a sucker if it turns out I was misinformed and didn't register for a slot. Irk factor #1, which doesn't immediately affect me (it's still cheaper than adding hotel, plane fare and bike transport): race fee raised this year, with no notice, from $900 to $1200 (namely, twice what a "regular" IM-branded race costs - usually $595, up to $650 I think for next year) - and more like 4x what a small local non-branded iron-distance race might cost. Irk factor #2, for me a deal-breaker: course limit for next year will be 15:30. Reader, I walked away - it was immediately clear to me that this isn't sensible (especially I had just seen virtually the entire field of finishers walk past our aid station!). It's a fast swim (tidal/current assist), I saw last night that nobody in W40-44 had a swim over an hour, so call it a :50 benefit potentially on the swim - but I've done quite a few NYC Swim races in the Hudson where there was a huge notional tidal assist that literally didn't materialize, and I think racers shouldn't count on it.
Anyway, I felt like it was a victory for common sense that I didn't waste $1200 on what seemed to be very poor odds (right now my goal is just to get to the START of an Ironman race, I will take a DNF with as much grace as I can muster, but I think I should within reason maximize chances of an official finish). I'm not outraged at the price raise per se (I'm sure they are correct that the race will still fill up near-instantly), but I'm annoyed that none of this information was included in the copious emails about volunteer registration that we received.
I think I'm looking at IMWI again - that was the race I initially thought I would do two years ago, and Madison of all IM locations seems most appealing and accessible (for a person with no driver's license!). My year's a little unusual in 2013, as I have teaching leave in the spring, but I also have a novel coming out and NO way of knowing right now how extensive travel/publicity obligations might be (could range all the way from NONE to VERY BUSY FOR EIGHT WEEKS) - an August or September race is basically the way to go. I have raced well and enjoyably without getting sick in September and October, even in a teaching year, but I tend to be very burned-out and exhausted in April and May, so a June race is contraindicated.
Rode my bike the rest of the way to Chelsea Piers, had a nice short swim and then went to the final meeting of the meditation class, which has been highly worthwhile.
In other news, I literally didn't sleep a wink last night (is a wink literal in that sense?), as I was too keyed up from volunteering and anxious about getting to registration early! ARGHHHHH, and I have to leave for the airport at 5:45 tomorrow morning, which often means I don't sleep THAT night either - might just have to go to bed for a few hours now...
10 miles bike
1000 yards swim (3 x 200 free, 100 drill; 100 IM, one-arm fly)