Breathe in, breathe out. That's what I've been telling myself for the past few days, every time I start to think about competing in my first triathlon tomorrow morning. I've prepared myself physically for the event, but I don't know that I have fully prepared myself mentally for the event.
I had a great 9.5 mile easy ride last night that really boosted my overall confidence. Throughout the ride I tried to visualize getting in the water, swimming the course, going into transition, getting on the bike, riding the course, getting off the bike, transitioning to the run, and then crossing the finish line with my hands held high. This is really out there for me, but I am trying to visualize myself completing the course and finishing strong. It would be very ease to visualize myself flapping through the swim, struggling on the bike, and crawling through the run - landing in a soggy heap at the finish line, but I'm not going to let myself do that. I am physically prepared, and I will be mentally prepared.
Training for this triathlon has been fun, really fun actually. I've tried to compare it to marathon training, but there really is no comparison. When I first got into running, it was a huge challenge physically and mentally. After two years of running seriously and completing 1 marathon, 5 half-marathons, and countless 5ks and 10ks, the "challenge" aspect has kind of faded. By no means am I a fast or even good runner. I know that I can always, always improve - I need to work on getting faster, having a more efficient form, setting new PR's, all that. But last spring I realized that what I really needed was a new challenge, something to shake things up a bit.
When my sister sent me her Specialized Allez bike last fall, it solidified my desire to compete in a triathlon. When I was able to join a gym with an Olympic size pool for only $60 a year (yes, a year!) it further solidified my desire to do a triathlon. So this spring, I set to it. I taught myself how to swim, and found a great cycling coach in our friend Cody. I spent so much time learning my new trades of swimming and cycling that I let my old friend running slip to the back burner. During my brick workouts, I could really tell that I needed to focus on my running as much as I focused on swimming and cycling. So I began adding in more miles and now I am back in a good place.
I keep thinking, wow I am only training for a sprint triathlon. Really, it is a little shorter than the standard distances for sprint races. It is a .54 mile swim (roughly 1000 yds)/9 mile bike/2.6 mile run. This has been my basic training schedule since May:
Monday: run 3-5 miles (am); ride 15-18 miles (pm)
Tuesday: swim 800-1000 yards (am)
Wednesday: run 4-6 miles (am)
Thursday: swim 800-1000 yards (am); ride 22-25 miles (pm)
Saturday: run 5-7 miles, swim 600-800 yards
Sunday: ride 9-12 miles, run 2-4 miles (brick workout)
I have absolutely no idea how someone would train for an 70.3 race or an Ironman while balancing work, family and other obligations. I've had a hard time balancing things, and I'm just doing a teeny sprint race!
But I do feel prepared for the race tomorrow. I certainly have lots of butterflies and quite a bit of nervous energy. After getting off work at noon today, I am going to go home and get my bag packed and practice setting up my transition areas. I will go pick up my packet tonight and preview the course - something I am really excited about being able to do.
I will be up at 4:45 tomorrow morning to get dressed, and eat a good breakfast. I will head to the race site at 6:00 to get marked and to get my transition area set up. I will be getting there really early, and I am hoping to be able to ride a little bit on the first part of the bike course (if that's allowed) so that I can be in the right gears when I start out on the course.
Chad will be coming to cheer me on and I can't wait to see him as I exit the swim and head into transition. He has been extremely supportive of me in my training, and I hope to make him proud! I also want to thank those who read my blog and are always so supportive of me - mom, Megan, Michelle, Kelly, Kat, Sarah J., Sarah M., Dru, Jen, and I know there are more that I am forgetting right now, but I really, really thank you for your support.
My ultimate goal for the race would be to finish within 1:30-1:45, and I will be happy to finish under 2 hours. I am excited to see how I do in this race, because I am already thinking about registering for another tri at the end of September. Once I get my first one under my belt, I will have a really good idea of how I can improve, what I need to focus on, how I can speed up my transitions, etc.
Whew...breathe in, breathe out! I will be updating Twitter and hopefully posting "Twitpics" from my phone in the morning, so check out the sidebar for updates. A race report will hopefully follow in the next few days!