So, I've been watching some videos of Ironman swim starts. I can already tell that's going to be a big gremlin. Probably the one that poses the biggest threat.
Gremlins aren't a huge concern on the bike. They just aren't all that fast. I've completed some pretty challenging rides in my life, and know I'll be able to train for anything IM The Ville has to throw at me. Well, if they ever actually figure out what the course might look like. The most recent response I got was, "Soon." Not bad considering the previous response was "just after the New Year."
Gremlins generally leave me alone when it comes to running. They know how little concern I have for setting any kind of records and understand that I've lived with them for a long time. Going into Ironman, I have fairly low expectations for my marathon time, and feel comfortable with my ability to run in even the worst of situations.
The swim is another story. The gremlins know this is my weak area. They know it is the area in which I have the least experience. And they know all the right buttons to push.
What they seem to forget is that training, racing, and (most importantly) planning are effective at smooshing gremlins. The challenge is finding 2500 people to go out swimming so I can practice an Ironman swim start. Hopefully some of the smaller races will enable me to get a feel for this. My current plan is to start all my races right in the middle of the pack. If anything can prepare me for the IM start, that would be it.
Gremlins can be nasty little buggers. Their entire existence is aimed at ruining our day. The entire time we are preparing for a race, they are preparing, as well. We train our bodies, and they make us question our health. We gain experience and they try to convince us we are too green to succeed. We increase our distances and times in training, and they remind us that we still have to put it all together on race day.
But gremlins are weak. They only have as much power as we give them. Most importantly, no gremlin will ever be an Ironman. They can't go the distance. So always remember, any gremlin that shows up is only there for the short term. Put on a burst of speed or focus on your motivational mantra (you have one of those, right?) and they'll give up.
You are stronger than any gremlin. Even if it's a gremlin with a fixation on the swim start. If he likes the water so much, ask him to join you on your swim. Then splash water in his face or dunk him underwater. He'll get the message.