I don't think there is too much you can do to mentally prepare yourself for a 12- or 14-hour flight when you are already uneasy about flying. However, our flight over to Abu Dhabi (12 hours) was actually pretty enjoyable for what it could have been. Our airline Etihad was very nice. The flight attendants were kind and welcoming and we had movies, blankets, eye coverings, ear plugs and a lot of drinks and snacks offered to us. It was a smooth flight and a smooth takeoff and landing!
When we arrived, it was 6pm and dark outside, we were a bit uneasy in the airport. Me being back in the Middle East for the first time and my wife unsure of what mannerisms were appropriate for being a woman. We were happy to link up with other teams from Russia and Italy and all be transported to the hotel on Yas Island. This area was very touristy and made the both of us feel very comfortable.
While on Yas, we had the blessing of being able to watch the F1, F2 and F3 cars run on the Ferrari Track that our hotel was in the center of. The buzzing of the cars all weekend was something some found to be annoying after a while and others (such as my wife) enjoyed the sound that never got old.
Race day was a little warmer there than it is here, it was roughly 90 degrees. But I had spent the past two months heat training for the event. The weather was nice, and the water was warm. I was honored to be competing against the best in the world. My swim was good. I'd say that this was one of my better swims. This was an area I knew I needed to improve on, and we did just that. Transition out of swim was long. The distance from the water to the transition area was a bit of a hike but our time was good and we were smooth.
Out on the bike, I was able to move up two positions. I was able to thrive out on the bike as usual. Bike always seems to be my best event and this time was no different. We transitioned smoothly into the run, and it was all left out on the course. I had nothing left at the end. I definitely have room to improve, but as far as this event I feel as though I did the best I could, and all my training showed on the course. By the end of the race, I was done and ready for the air-conditioned tent and some ice water.
Home Sweet Home
It is no shock that we were glad to be home, after a 14-hour plane ride and 24-hour travel day. We were beyond excited to see our girls and give them gifts from our travel. We spent the following week transitioning back to Eastern Time and most of those days were spent awake throughout the night. Tes and I enjoyed leftover Thanksgiving dinner at 4am and pies at 12am. It was not normal, but most of the situations we find ourselves in are not "normal" and that is what makes life together so much fun.
As for now, I am enjoying hunting season and enjoying the foods I have missed out on the past year. We are preparing for Christmas and all the joys that come with celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to March and racing again.