.... and saw the water entrance and exit and the bike entrance and exit and the transition areas and practiced running up the really big hill that starts our run (after our swim and our bike) as well as a couple more miles, after breaking one of the cardinal rules of training: don't switch shoes, but I did switch shoes, because my left foot has hurt so much, and in fact I ran both miles (we did them separately) without having to stop, in 9 minutes each, which makes me think the shoes were a good broken rule, and then after all that, I got my guts up to ask one of the coaches what he thought might help for someone (me) who is completely prepared, has gone to almost every practice, is fit (lame, but fit) and yet is dreading the race. He looked a little scared of my question, but he went for it, and he said -- well, you have come this far, and you've done it for charity, for people who need you to be there for them, and so I guess you should just go the rest of the way for those people who need you to be there for them. I found this to be on the one hand, incredibly useful -- because I do in fact know how to go into the mode of shutting down and pushing through and being there for other people, and in fact, that might be what I do next Sunday. On the other hand, I found it to be incredibly sad because I was looking for some other guidance -- something outside of my head-down plough-through bullishness -- something that could open a window to my own enjoyment, pride, and sense of accomplishment. I thanked him, and we kept talking a bit, and then he said something interesting. He told me he loves to train, but he doesn't like to race. He doesn't like the crowds (me either) or the pressure (me either) or the high levels of stress (me either.) So what he does is he finds small races -- mom and pop races -- races where he feels like he's getting to do what he likes to do without all the crowds, pressure, or stress. And for some reason this helped me. I don't think I'm likely to go find those races and continue in the sport, but it gave me a little hope that I can take the parts I like from this experience, and transform it into something meaningful and enjoyable to me.