“Trust in Your Training”
Well… this is it. I am literally down to the last few days and hours before T-Day. All that’s standing between me and the “triathlete” title is a easy 2 mile run, a boot camp, packing, and a sleepless night in a hotel. “Trust in your training” is what my schedule says for Saturday… easier said than done. There’s so much I have to trust in. Trust in my swimming, trust in my lungs, trust in my legs and my bike and my running shoes. Trust that I won’t panic in the water… trust that I’ll actually GET into the water. So much to trust.
Last Saturday I woke up at dawn and headed out to central Massachusetts for an open water swim clinic. The further out I drove the more the temperature dropped and the more raindrops fell on my windshield. There has barely been a day under 85 degrees the majority of the summer, so obviously the weather was going to bottom out at 61 and rainy the day I have to face my fears of the lake. Thanks a lot, karma. I pulled into a lot full of SUVs with race decals and fancy bike racks and suddenly my little “mountain turned hybrid” bike and I felt very out of place… and very nervous. What was I doing here again?
As introductions happened I was happy to learn that several of the women there were participating in Iron Girl, and there were even a few other newbies. We learned some different start techniques, panic tips and then.. it was swim time. The first practice lap was TERRIBLE. I wasn’t ready for the lake to be so dark and I had a hard time navigating where I was going. It seemed like everyone else was so far ahead of me and I started to worry that I was incredibly slow. This resulted in some panicked strokes and having to stop every few feet. I remember one of the instructors asking me if I was okay as I panted and tried to tread water, barely able to squeak out a “I’m just really nervous”. He assured me that I wasn’t slow, and that I had lots of support overseeing me. The next few practice runs were a little smoother. I was pleasantly surprised at how un-dirty (clean?) the lake was, and I only got grossed out when I could finally see the bottom again (Which was also exciting because that meant I was done!). I stayed to the side and the back of the group which lessened the amount of limbs in my way, and I tried to focus on consistent strokes… no matter how slow they were. I kept telling myself “smart swimming! smart swimming!” … guess I did learn something in that swim class so many months ago.
As the clinic wrapped up one of the women I met mentioned that she lived right by the race site and offered for me to follow her back to her house so we could ride the bike route together. An hour later I had gotten a good feel for the course, had some landmarks to look for (like an Alpaca farm?), checked out the lake, and left with the phone number of a new friend. See all of the things you miss out on when you’re too busy watching TV on the couch?
I headed home with my shoulders feeling a little lighter and dare I say… a few butterflies in my stomach? Finally, after 9 months of planning & stressing, 7 months of swimming and 2 months of true training… I started to actually get a little excited. This is really happening, I am really going to do this… I (fingers & toes crossed) am going to be a triathlete, kids!
There’s still a pretty big cloud of anxiousness over me this week- I’ve been lying wide awake at 5am every single morning, I’ve had to force myself to eat real meals, and I have this on and off again pit in my stomach. When I’m too nervous to sleep- I’ve be trying to outweigh the nerves with a positive triathlon thought. I think about how the weather forecast is looking spectacular (knock on wood), how badass my sharpie number tattoo is going to look, the unconditional love and support I’ve had in training, what crossing the finish line is going to feel like.
And stemming from those thoughts, a flutter of excitement kicks every now and then. This is the day I have been waiting for for so long. The day I have trained for, cried about, read books and articles about. It’s the one thing my poor family and friends have had to listen to me talk about day after day. To not enjoy it would be a waste of what has pretty much consumed my life for the majority of the year. I’m trying to remind myself that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter where I place, or how fast I am (Just please don’t let me be last!)- this is about me- this is my race. Crossing that finish line is going to mean so much more to me than just a time on a clock.
If you’re an early bird and find yourself awake at 7:25AM on Sunday… do me a favor and think of me? I’ll be out in the middle of nowhere, in my orange swim cap, trying to hold it together, jump in the water… and do what I’ve been trained to do. 🙂