Long ago, far before there was any hint of Iron Pol, there was another entity. Let's just call him Drama Geek Pol. This was one of my many roles in high school. You know, debate geek, forensics geek, drama geek. Oh yeah, I played football, too.
Any good performer knows that every show has its big dress rehearsal. The final chance to practice the performance without having an audience to see the little mistakes that are bound to happen. And any good performer knows that dress rehearsals rarely go perfectly. In fact, it is rare for ANY performance to be flawless. The key is to make it LOOK flawless. That's why it's called acting.
Fast forward about 20 years, and I'm still doing dress rehearsals. Today was the final big test run prior to Ironman Louisville. Though short of last weeks fiasco training, today's workout was an opportunity to redeem myself, and get that final boost of confidence about putting all three disciplines together. In short, a 5000 yard swim, a 90 mile bike, and a 30-minute run off.
Today, there were no map issues. There were no nutrition and hydration issues (well, at least as far as actually having it). There were no missing gear issues. The entire workout was completed and I've proven that I can get off the bike and start running.
Still, it was a dress rehearsal. So it is a given that there were lessons learned. Like the dropped line or missed entry that is bound to plague any theatrical performance, I experienced things that remind me that there is always room for improvement.
The two most problematic issues that I see center on my toes when biking and dehydration. The toe issue has me perplexed. And anyone who has some suggestions, feel free to start giving them. Every time I get up over 60-70 miles on the bike, my feet start to burn. Until today, I thought it was a function of rubbing. Now, I know the real cause. My toes are having circulation cut off and going numb. Basically, they are falling asleep. After hours of this, they start to feel like they are on fire. If I stop, remove my shoes, and massage the toes to get blood flowing again, I'll be fine for another chunk of miles. Unfortunately, the number of miles is far less than that first 50, closer to 20. Part of me says to leave the straps looser, but I know that can't be the proper solution. Besides opening me up to rubbing and blistering, power transfer to the pedals will be affected. So, I'm at a loss. Other than stopping on the course every few hours, I don't know what to do.
The other issue is more problematic. I'm taking in the fluids, but know that I'm being affected by electrolyte levels, primarily sodium. However, all the sodium pills I've found are too large for me to swallow. And just in case anyone is considering it, don't bother taking a sodium capsule apart and dumping it into a bottle of sports drink. That just makes a salty, nasty sports drink. Gatorade apparently makes a solution called GatorLytes, but they're only available through sports nutritionists. Unless they're handing them out at Louisville, that option is out.
So, again, anyone have any bright ideas. I'm at a loss. The one positive I do have is that I've been training with Gatorade and now Accelerade. On the course, they'll have Gatorade Endurance, which has a much higher sodium concentration. I'll also put some high sodium snacks in my special needs bag. If anyone knows of a good alternative to pills, I'd appreciate the suggestions.
In the end, the big performance is little different than a dress rehearsal. There will be more people watching. And there will be more tech support for the performers. But there are bound to be some mistakes. When they occur, what matters most is the response. As an actor, I learned to adapt to whatever was happening on the stage. Cover others who make mistakes. Change stage directions if the rehearsed actions won't work. But above all, don't let the audience know that something just went wrong.