So. I’m doing a sprint triathlon in 5 days.
I’m not exactly what you would call “prepared”.
Oh sure, when I went on a one week vacation to Seattle and Vancouver just 3 weeks ago, and took 8 days off of training, I still did some biking.
And I’ve swam one mile or less, five times, in the past TWO MONTHS. (seriously, I just went and looked at my Runkeeper, where I journal all my workouts, and nearly had a heart attack. I’ve gone to the pool 5 times since February 3rd. Oh dear.)
My best friend, remember, the one who inspired this little trip down lunatic lane, insists that since I ran a half marathon four weeks ago, I’ll be fine. Something about aerobic capacity and muscle memory and cardio crossover and blah blah blah.
I’m pretty sure it’s going to hurt. A lot.
We decided to meet up last Saturday for a mini-practice tri. We did a 275 yd swim (same length as the tri I’m doing for real), followed immediately by a brisk walk to the parking lot where we hopped on our bikes and did 7.93 miles – 8? can we call that 8? – then jumped off and ran 2.25 miles. She even made me stop 50 yards or so before the car and “run” in my bike, to simulate transition.
It was pretty close to the distances I will do for real on Sunday, and while it was not fun or enjoyable (despite her chipper affirmations to the contrary every few minutes), I survived.
Look how happy I look. That’s because I was DONE.
Here’s the thing. I know I will finish the tri. I mean, not finishing is not an option (pretty much ever). I’m not afraid of physical pain or exhaustion – I spent all of my formative years swimming myself into asthma attacks and occasional poolside vomits, and the last 2 years doing weekly 2-2.5 hour long runs (and if you don’t think I hate those to the core of my being, well, you don’t know me at all). So it’s not the physicality that I’m anxious about.
I hate being in new situations, for one. I’m not what you would call “adventurous”. I basically have to build myself up to try a new restaurant. I don’t like the unknown; I’m that person that will spend years in an unhappy situation, rather than just take a risk and leap off the cliff into uncertainty. *cough* Triathlons, even for a former competitive swimmer and now-running veteran, are a very different beast than anything I’ve ever done. There’s so many rules, and so much equipment, and so many places to mess up.
Even worse, for a perfectionist (and slightly competitive individual) like myself, I don’t like to half ass anything. I am not trained. I could (and probably will, post-tri) write an entire blog post about why I have put off doing triathlons in the first place, when it seems like such a natural fit for someone like me, but the cliff notes version is that I knew I wouldn’t have the time to train the way I should. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to become proficient in three different disciplines – I’m usually pushing the limits of my schedule and motivation just to stay in running shape.
I am not a fast runner, and never finish with an impressive time or place in any of my races (truly, my benchmark for success is somewhere in the top 50%). But I’m okay with that – I am a slow runner, and do it just for fun, and to stay in shape.
But swimming? Even as the shortest third of a three part competition? I can be great at that, if I just trained. Oh, but that “if”.
Ready or not, Sunday is coming.