It’s just three days until my race. Three days before I’ll stand shivering on the shore of Lake Nokomis and try to visualize the strokes, the turns and the hills. I will be nervous. I’m always nervous before a race or a game or sometimes even a long run. I’ll have to pee about 10 times. Which means long waits for the port-a-potty with hundreds of other nervous athletes. I’m starting to figure out what time I’ll have to leave now that I live across town from the start. I’m starting to make lists of what to pack. Of what to eat. Of what to NOT forget. Tomorrow I’ll pick up my race packet and place the stickers on my bike, my helmet, my race belt. Saturday I’ll pack my bag, put the bike rack on the truck, put the bike on the rack. I’ll load up on pasta and water and encouraging words from daughter and husband. Sunday I’ll wake up at the crack of dawn, head east and try to relax. It’s my fourth time doing this race, yet nerves win every time. While I try to relax, I’ll remind myself this will be fun. I’ll be surrounded my old friends and new friends. By encouraging spectators and screaming kids. And then, after I cross that finish line, I’ll be thankful for the early morning runs, the long bike rides and the laps in the pool. And I’ll be grateful that my 42-year-old body can do this with relative ease.