There’s something to be said for ignorance, especially when it comes to triathlon. You pull up the race website, you look at the cutoff times, and you think to yourself “No problem! I can do that. I’ve been biking at x miles for x hours and I can swim x distance in x time and plus, I’ll have a wetsuit on so that will make me faster, plus there will be a current, so I’ll be fine. Oh, and the run? No problem! I can always walk it if I have to. La dee da, this is going to be great, this is going to be just fine. I’ll train when I want to, still have a summer, la dee da”.
And you do. You train during the summer, you go on bike rides occasionally, you get your long(er) runs in, you swim almost every week, you got it.
Then race day comes. And somehow it’s an absolutely beautiful day, with a gorgeous sunrise, not too hot, not too cold. You see a friend of yours who is doing paddleboard support and he tells you that the current is flying(!) and you think “Oh, I got this.” You breeze through the swim, see a girlfriend doing paddleboard support (you stop and say hi(!)), see your friend you trained with throughout the summer (who’s even in your corral-yipee!) getting ready to get on the bike as you make it to the transition, and off you go. You finish the bike course with no problems, no flats, no instances, and you get ready to knock out the run.
Until the dreaded wall hits.
Have you ever read Dr. Seuss’s Oh The Places You’ll Go?
That’s till mile six. And then, you run into this:
From what turned into “Wow, I’m feeling great, I can keep up a sub-9 minute mile the whole run, it’s only 13 miles!!” Turns into “Walk through rest stop, run to next mile” turns to “Run 20 steps, walk 10”, to the dreaded “Walk 20 steps, run 10” to even “F**k it, who am I kidding? I just need to show some respect and be able to cross the finish line running”.
That was last year. This is this year.
This year is a real training plan that is actually followed. It’s long bikes and runs on the weekends. It’s missing beach time with the kiddo. It’s getting up at crack of ass to go swim. It’s not sleeping in. It’s making wonderful new friends and looking at their finish times from last year and wanting to be in that same time bracket. It’s wanting to do better, to move faster, to work harder. It’s swim clinics. It’s work. It’s worrying about the weather, and looking at the tide charts, and wondering how much push we’ll really have on race day.
But maybe, with all that work, it’s like climbing a ladder. Maybe all those rungs will bring me to the top. Maybe I’ll be able to finish faster than last year. I know that I’ve met some amazing people this year and have even made some new friends. There are people that I look forward to seeing each week and if I’m going to miss it (son’s birthday trip and party next two weekends- TWO??? what about my training????) I try to see them during the week.
However, there’s a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, like an ominous cloud, like that Dr. Seuss book when the main character gets into the darkness.
1- It’s raining
2- It’s cold
3- I have to pee
4- I don’t drink/eat enough
5- I get a flat
6- I hit a wild turkey (only mention this cause we saw a few last weekend)
7- I’m sick.
8- The tide is going the wrong way
9- There’s a 40 mph head wind. BOTH WAYS.
10- Add any irrational concern to the list here
You see where I’m going with this.
Trust. Trust in the mind, trust in the body. Trust in the training. Will the world end if I can’t make two weeks of bike rides? No. Will my training suffer. Hopefully not. I’ll add some weekday rides. Will I miss my friends? Yes. Will I have a very happy eight year old who asked me last night if i was going to do a long ride on his birthday? Yes.
Tick tick tick tick. Time to throw out the clock. And dig up my copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go again.