Well, it’s finally here. The sprint triathlon I registered for back in January is this coming Saturday – only 2 days away! I posted about my training plan a while back… and haven’t mentioned anything about it since. So here’s the down-to-the-wire update:
Long story short: I didn’t train as much as I had planned or wanted to, but I feel ready enough to give it a go.
Short story long:
I failed miserably at going to the pool to swim (I went 4 times all year). I just couldn’t often find the 1.5 hours it took to drive to the pool, swim, change and drive back. BUT being as I live in northern Minnesota and am literally surrounded by lakes, I did swim in open water 4 times. They weren’t long swims (probably 400-800 meters each) but they served their purpose: strengthening my mental poise. The swim in this triathlon is only 400 meters, so the biggest hurdle for me will be mental. My natural instinct in open water is PANIC because I can’t touch the bottom, or worse – the seaweed might touch me. One of the open water swims I did was in the lake I’ll be swimming in for the race, so that helped even more.
After discovering that the beach we usually go to is only 6 miles away and that there’s a back way with less traffic, I biked to and from the beach a couple of times, for a total of 12 miles each. Those were my longest rides. Similar to my excuses for not swimming more often, I found it hard to carve out more than an hour for a workout. Also, biking and swimming both require additional things to make them happen – a bike and water respectively. July was a crazy month for us – we were out of town or had out of town guests for all but a week. So I’m not as strong on the bike as I would like to be, but it is what it is. At least I have been biking a fair amount of hills so I’ll be ready for those!
Ah, running. My favorite because it’s just so convenient. You can pack everything you need in a duffel bag and use it practically anywhere. I was definitely the most consistent with running out of the three. I went on a handful of runs with Annabelle on Emma’s daycare days, went on at least a handful of runs with friends (at the crack of dawn no less), and ran by myself a few times. I mostly ran 2-3 miles at a time, but I did run 4 once. Also, after my longer bike rides, I ran up and down our driveway just to get used to the feeling of running on bike legs. (I liken it to the feeling of trying to jump on the ground after you get off a trampoline – you feel like you can’t even jump a centimeter.)
With training behind me, it’s on to race day preparation and goals. I feel about this race like I felt about having a second child – I feel confident because I’ve done it before, but that feeling of confidence can lead me to forgetting the basics, like needing to buy diapers or bring my bike to the race. I’m mostly worried about forgetting the small things – like my race belt (that old chestnut) or tape to use for attaching shotbloks to my bike.
So the other night while I was waiting for Emma to fall asleep, I mentally rehearsed the race and my transitions. Back when I first started doing triathlons pre-kids, I actually practiced my transitions. Now, I’ll have to settle for my imagination. It definitely helps anyway though! I remembered that I want to bring 2 big towels – for putting my stuff on in the transition area and to wrap up in until my wave starts – and 1 little – for drying off my legs after the swim (I hate having water drip down into my socks). Oh and a wash basin to rinse my feet. Races usually provide those, but your feet still get stuff on them between the tub and your bike.
I also realized that oh yeah, there will probably be packet pickup the day before the race (they do have it race morning too though). Oh and I’ll have to get body marked. What if my sunscreen causes the body markings to smudge like that one time? Are they going to have swim waves because the website doesn’t say anything about that. But I can’t imagine them having 250 swimmers start all at once. Though that is how Ironman does it, right?
You see that I have some race day jitters. Never mind that I’ve done 5 sprints and 1 Oly, or that I worked for a triathlon company for a year and have worked over 20 triathlons. Race day is both exciting and nerve-racking… and that’s what I love about it!
So my goals. I swore up and down that I just wanted to finish and who cares about my time. But I can’t help it. Nevertheless, I am leaving my watch and bike odometer at home so that I can’t worry about speed or time while out on the course. Out there, I am just going to focus on keeping an even pace, enjoying myself and cheering others on.
But after the race, I can dissect my times. 🙂 This race is a 400m swim, 14 mile bike and 5k run. I’m hoping to do the swim in 12-15 minutes, the bike in 50-60 minutes, and the run in 35-40 minutes. Add in 3 minutes for T1 (there’s a GIANT hill between the beach and transition area) and 1:30 for T2 and that puts me at 1:41:30 and 1:59:30. I realize that’s a big range but I really have no idea how the race is going to go. Even my previous times (from back in 2009 or 2010!) don’t really help because I was in WAY better shape back then. So we’ll just have to wait and see!
I do know, though, that for me, being obsessed with my speed or time for an entire race takes all the fun out of it. So similar to when I ran my full marathon and did my Oly tri, my main goal is HAVE FUN and remember why I love endurance sports in the first place.
Wish me luck! I’ll be back in a few days with a race recap!