Well, as I type this there’s 24hrs until the big kick off and I’m feeling sh*te!!! Yesterday afternoon out of nowhere I developed a headache. I took a Nurofen and it disappeared, this morning, after my worst nights sleep of the holiday it’s back. I’ve taken another tablet so it’ll be gone soon but I’m not a headache sufferer so it’s damned annoying. I’m sure sitting in front of the computer isn’t helping but it’s killing a bit of time while it’s still dark out there. Yesterday morning I went out for my last pre-race run. It was 4 miles keeping my HR below 150bpm and I averaged 6:45’s. I finished the run at the group swim, pulled on MY wetsuit and went out for 15mins. After Wednesdays 2XU trial it felt awful! My shoulders felt restricted, my legs felt restricted (not that they do anything). I was still motoring along compared to others in there but it was so much more like hard work. I knew then that my big purchase for the year was on the way. After the swim we bummed around the Ironman Village, saw Bella and Torbjorn Sinballe (I nabbed the Thunderbears Gatorade after, now I’ll bike like him – NOT!) at the Elite interviews and pondered my wetsuit dilemma. I mooched around the 2XU and BlueSeventy trade stands comparing suits. The BlueSeventy for some reason ‘felt’ more supple and I couldn’t help wondering what it swam like compared to the 2XU. Both stands were busy but the woman I’d spoken to on the 2XU stand almost seemed to be avoiding me, there were so many athletes about that she probably wasn’t but in the time I was there I had 2 people from BlueSeventy speak to me and offer to either loan me a suit at todays swim or let me try one in the Endless Pool. You can’t really compare Pool to Sea but I didn’t want to leave a decision until the last second so I agreed to try the Endless Pool. 10mins of swimming later I was sold. I told the Endless Pool man (who actually remembered me from 2005) I swam around 1:20/100m pace so he set the pool at 1:12/100yard pace which is roughly the same. I jumped in and swam solid for around 10mins. There was no effort at all, it felt as though I was swimming a warm up at 6:00+ pace. I actually wanted the pace turning up as I kept crashing my fingers into the grill of the water jets but without stopping there was no way to ask and it wasn’t a training session, just a wetsuit test. Once I’d stopped I ditched the wettie and jumped back in with just my Trisuit on. The difference was apparent immediately, for the first time ever I was officially faster in a wetsuit that without one, there’s video too. A short section taken by Shelly which I’ll hopefully get on youtube later (I’ll link at the bottom of the page) and a proper underwater one off the Endless Pool boys ( I didn’t even notice the camera until near the end). We had some food and went back to our apartment to ponder the wetsuit dilemma. A bit of internet browsing showed that amazingly a wetsuit seems to be the one thing that costs less in the UK than in America (typical!!!) so now I was even going to have to pay over the odds if I wanted one. A couple of texts went off to club coach/equipment geek Toasty and he recommended the more expensive BlueSeventy over the 2XU. Could I justify the expense?????? After many hours (actually days) pondering I decided that ‘if’ I swim to my potential I’ll not only get out of the water up to 5mins quicker in either suit but I’ll also get out feeling much much fresher. That’s as much time if not more than I’d expect to gain if I spend 3 times the amount on a Disc wheel so therefore it’s worth it. Once I’ve finished writing this I’ll be off for my first ever swim in my brand new shiny BlueSeventy Helix Wetsuit. My bank balance has taken a kicking, but hopefully but 8am (7:55 hopefully) Saturday morning it’ll have been worth it. Last night was the Pasta Party with all the normal pomp and ceremony, oldest and youngest competitors, some loon who’s done over 100 Ironman races ( how the hell does he afford it) and somebody that’s lost over 9stone (127lbs) on the way here – Wow!! Today is my wetsuit debut, the Ironman breakfast, last bike tweaks and maybe a 30min spin, then chill chill chill chill chill followed hopefully by a better nights sleep. Next post will probably be post race. Good Luck to anybody who’s racing here tomorrow, I hope you all have a great race but finish behind me. Good Luck to the folks back home, especially those going out in the now Arctic Exmoor weather to race the Exmoor Beast on Sunday. Here’s hoping that the sun shines for you all.