Time is up. The “A Races” have arrived. It’s that glorious part of race season where you … wait for it… race! Anticlimactic, I know, but it’s also the most enjoyable part of all the brutal training.
It’s always nice to know that the more than 1200 miles of training and grind I put my body through since November are worth it. This year, my “A races” come sooner than usual, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.
For me, there is nothing more exciting then collecting my gear and my thoughts, and heading out on one of my epic road trips with nothing but the anticipation of a phenomenal race in my future. It’s my way of separating from the “real world” and zoning out away from my problems and stress. I’m not easy to be around when I’m in my zone, because I’m there for me and no one else. It’s my R&R, as ironic as that may seem. My “me time” …
It’s kind of fun to think about how I’ve changed since 2007 (my first tri). I went from a scared 20 year old to someone who plops down over $1000 a year just on race entry fees. I’ve re-prioritized my life, pursued a post-grad degree, and gone on to new things and experiences I never thought possible. Life has always thrown me curve balls, some I’ve taken more gracefully than others, and it’s always neat to look back on past experiences. This summer is already off to an interesting kick, and I don’t really know what to expect. Unprepared and anxious would be good descriptions.
A lot of people don’t really understand my drive or enjoyment of endurance events, and sometimes I think I don’t understand either. I’m an achiever, a futurist, and a maximizer, all traits that set myself up for success in endurance events. Ironically, I also seem to be the one out of my group of friends who finds an uncanny need to keep grinding through the good and bad times, no matter what happens, which has its ups and downs. Sure, I like to find the bright side of the future but I also can shrug off the grim realities of life in exchange for my own desires to keep plowing forward.
In high school, I was nicknamed “the Truck” on the swim team because I basically ran people over who couldn’t keep up (and it probably had something to do with my speed).
It’s not as cruel as it sounds, I was just known for giving 100% in the workouts, not sacrificing quality or quantity in my training, and feeling personally responsible for myself and my fitness. What a wonderful fit now that I don’t have teammates in triathlon! I have no one to blame but myself for my successes or failures.
Life, in itself, is a race. Sometimes we’re more prepared than others, and naturally we have our crashes, flat tires, and disappointments along the way. Even now, I’m sitting here visualizing my successes at the upcoming weekend in my head. I’m a strong believer in the fact that if you can’t picture it you can’t do it… and there’s some validity to that. When we started college, we came up with plans for graduation and essentially imagined what it would be like. We don’t know the details but we sure know where we’re headed. Of course we don’t know the minutia and things are bound to change, but the idea of “graduating in four years” was cemented in my brain.
The other unique thing about this race season is that it’s purpose is not to excel at the half Iron distance. That, of course, is an important focus of mine (I hate losing) but the real goal is to prepare for next year. Visualization in tow, next year I will compete in an Ironman. That’s 140.6 miles of pure awesome. I have a good idea of which race, I know where I need to focus my training to get there, and I have goals and expectations. Granted, many will change, but in general, I’m well on my way. This season is just the tip of the iceberg!
These two 70.3 mile jaunts will prove to me whether or not I have what it takes. I know that I’ve got it, but I need the reassurance too. It’s showtime and all downhill from here. Thanks to my friends and family for the support. Time to rock!