The day is just beginning and kids are still asleep. I don't find it easy to sleep in this heat. The sun rises early and IM seems to be up. Now he has headed off for to Dig-Me beach for a final stretch of his swim arms, some ART (active release technique - whole tent of practitioners here to work on athletes every morning) and soak up the the tension filled atmosphere. I sit and contemplate the day.
The day before is one of organising and planning for the support crew. IM needs to be well feed and hydrated. The race bags need to be packed and often you can help by talking thru what is needed and rechecking before they head off for check-in. They need to rest, ideally stay off their feet and start to focus on the big day ahead.
At the same time, you may have kids who need to be entertained and other family and friends who want to be organised for race day - planning view points, meetings points, and cheer squad essentials!
When you have young kids, these days can be stressful no matter how much you organise but you do just need to take a deep breath and go with the flow.
Our kids - aged 4 and 7 - are at age where unfortunately they just don't quite get it. They are on holiday and just want to chill out, while mum and dad drag them off to expos and parades and shops and dinners which mean late nights (and often grumpy kids). They do have fun most of the time and they are having experiences you hope they will cherish but what I have rediscovered this week is that you can't fit it all in and you can't always be with your IM soaking it all up as it just doesn't work for the kids. Ideally, with kids this age, having other family members with you helps to manage this, but it's not always possible. It's also great if you have other families you know nearby with kids of similar ages, so together you can manage the kids and give each other some adult time. So you work it out as best you can.
Come race day, kids also require planning. Waking them up early for swim start can be tricky, too much time out in the sun and on their feet results in moody kids, the crowds can be overwhelming (and the stress of thinking you might lose them!) - so there is a lot of coming and going and making sure you have food, drinks and entertainment (apart from the crowds and the race!)
Today, we will think this all through. Work out best viewing positions, head down to the expo to make supporter signs, iron-on names and numbers for our supporter tees, take kids out to write colourful chalk messages on the roads, and keep IM as calm as possible. Head is spinning but it will all fall into place and I just remind myself that at least I am not racing! There is a lot more for the IM to think about today in preparing themselves to tackle one of the toughest races on earth.
So now I will get stuck into my supporter role, knowing that for all of us - the wives, kids, families and friends, as well as our IM - the day that has been planned for for so long is finally upon us, and I am sure it will be filled with memories that we will cherish in our lifetimes.