Like many things in life, it's all about the preparation. There is no way one could be successful at doing a race like Vineman Half Ironman unless properly trained and motivated. The following is my foolproof way to be ready by any race-day morning.
(1) Put an anti-chaffing substance EVERYWHERE humanly possible. Yes. Even there.
Personally, I'm a BodyGlide man, but whoever you are...you absolutely most cake every inch of your body...or suffer the consequences. On the other hand, you truly haven't lived until you have been chaffed:
A. Between your Butt cheeks, and/or
B. That area under your...well, you know...between your butt and balls (on men or very, very special women), and/or
C. ON the penis maximus (that is the Latin for it).
I use BodyGlide AND Vaseline on my privies. Works like a charm.
(2) Learn How to Self-Urinate
I think anyone who has ever gone swimming has probably warmed the area with last night's milk...but there is something to be said for being able to release your fury while on a bike or when running...Huh?
I mean...you have to learn to piss yourself during every aspect of the race. I'm serious. Why wait in line? This past race was the first time I was able to do this during the run...and while trying to undo countless years of potty training is hard, thinking about running water and having absolutely NO shame seemed to do the trick for me.
Finally...that "no shame" thing has a benefit!
(3) Push...If You Have To
The morning of the race, it is very, Very, VERY important to make sure you have gone #2 as much as possible. This is difficult when you are trying to eat higher quantities of food, water, and salt leading up to race day. During Vineman, I actually started getting stomach pains during the ride, and I thought I was going to have an alien push its way through my stomach. Turns out...I just really needed to go to the bathroom. I ignored this, and it kind of went away (kind of)...but one of the best ways to be a good triathlete, in my experience, is having good bowel movements BEFORE the race.
(4) Go Ahead. Freak Out! Be an Asshole! BEFORE the Race.
In general, I feel like I am a pretty calm person...but the two days leading up to Vineman, I found myself contemplating life, God, and my ability to move to Canada within the next 24 hours. This is normal. I say, let your inner asshole out. If someone cuts you off while you're driving the day before the race, why not run him off the road? Normally, this kind of reaction would seem petty, but not leading up to race day. That person deserved to be run off the road...in fact, he wanted to be! Why else would he cut you off?
Just don't be an ass during the race. No matter how fast (or slow) you are at something, there is someone faster (or slower). So don't be the guy who yells out "On your left means MOVE THE FUCK OVER." Nobody likes that guy or his small penis.
(5) Realize It's Supposed to be Difficult -- Literally and Metaphorically.
It wasn't until training this year that I got over the fact that swimming, biking, and running will never be easy. I had it in the back of my mind that one day, magically, it would all just feel like taking a nap. Like I was skipping along. Clearly, I was wrong AND an idiot.
This shit is hard. Very hard. And once I realized that...it ironically did get easier. There is this wave of energy that goes through me, and I assume everyone else too, and you ride that wave until it leaves you...it will come back. Seeing as I am not a professional athlete, my wave is probably relatively short, and that is ok. One mantra I kept telling myself is "I am where I am." I wasn't going "slow." In fact, many times during the race I tried to slow myself down.
Triathlons are such a wonderful microcosm for life. They are very, very challenging; there is always something to learn; there is always someone better than you at something; and you are constantly caked in stinky, yellow pee.
If that isn't life, I don't know what is.