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Cafe Latte Jerry


The carbo dinner was moved indoors - festival seating for all!!


The boys - race announcer Whit Raymond with Chris Lieto and Petr Vabrousek


Cultural exchange at the local Elementary School


Chris Dmitrieff - an up and coming Aussie who will be chasing Chris Lieto on race day.


Move over Taylor Hicks - Heather is looking to be the next American Idol - Japanese style!!

   

Broke Back what - now back to us in Ironman Japan

Here we are already, the day before the race. Today is the day to do the final preparations for the race - checking and rechecking the transition bags to make sure that nothing has been forgotten. It is always a relief to check in the bike and hand off the bags – the obsessing can then be over. Until you actually get rid of the stuff, all you can do is keep thinking about what you have forgotten, whether or not to add in this or that, etc. It is still raining here, but it looks like the weather is supposed to be better for race day – we will keep our fingers crossed.

We have had a busy couple of days. On Thursday I (Heather) went and did a cultural exchange at one of the elementary schools. It was myself and 4 other Japanese athletes. We had a little introduction, then out to the play field to run some relay races. The kids of course kicked our butts – nothing like the pure unbridled speed of a 9 year old to put you in your place!!! After we went back into the gymnasium where the children performed a song wishing us all good luck, and then presented us with a personalized flag with all of their signatures and well wishes. I was asked to take my bike and gear so that they could look at it. It was pretty funny as my demonstration was riding around in a circle in the gymnasium. They kept warning me to be careful as the floor was slippery, all I could think of was that I had better not fall – it would be hard to explain to everyone that I was out of the race because I injured myself riding at 3 mph inside a gymnasium. It was awesome to see how excited the children were about the Ironman – most of them have been waiting all year for it.

Then Friday arrived with pouring rain. We woke up at our usual 4:30am with hopes that we could get on our bike for a little ride – it didn’t seem like mother nature was going to co-operate. We waited around until 10am and decided to go for a run. I was pouring down rain and very windy – glad we were running and not cycling. It stayed rainy for most of the day which squashed any riding plans we had, and swimming in the ocean was a little out of the question as well as the wind was whipping across the swim course. Race organizers were a little concerned – if we have conditions like this on race day there would be a good chance that the swim would have to be cancelled. We decided that we would head to the pool and do a little swim instead. Being that we had already been to the pool once – we had the routine down. Take your shoes off at the door – get the locker key, shower off and put your swim cap on before leaving the locker room. The staff felt confident enough to let us find our way – unlike the first day when they chaperoned our shower etc to make sure we were doing everything according to the “rules”. We walked into the pool to be greeted with some grooving 60’s tunes and a water aerobics class. Paula immediately became the hit of the pool as she showed them some of her disco moves. They wanted her to join in on the class. When we told them we were here for the Ironman they were very excited, we even got cheered as we left the pool. As with the children at the school, the people of the Island are very excited about the race and it is certainly a highlight for them.

After a lunch stop at Mos Burger, Paula and Chris Lieto were off to the pre-press conference. I must point out that this was the 3 meal in a row that we had at Mos Burger – and a first for Chris Lieto. I think he was only a little grossed out. They had a good cross section of international and Japanese athletes alike at the press conference. It is the usual press conference – lots of questions and answers about nothing!!! But apparently the Japanese were making it a little more exciting – they are all very confident that they can win on Sunday. You know what they say – the mind can take the body a long way!!! It is always fun to see someone laying it out there – rather than the usual “I am just going to go and do my best”. While this was all going on, I got to put my feet up, read a book and relax while this was all going on – it was great!!!

The day ended with the race briefing for the English speaking athletes followed by the Carbo dinner. The meeting was uneventful – just the usual final instructions etc. Unfortunately, the carbo dinner was supposed to be outside but with the rain, they had to move it into the gymnasium. It was first come first served as far as the floor space went. The food was “interesting” and it was a challenge to figure out what to eat. All in all it was an interesting evening and we walked our way the mile or so home. Once again, Paula could pretend she was walking the dog. We made it home to be in bed by 8:30am!!!

We will check in with you after the race – I am sure we will have some interesting stories for you!!!