I can hardly believe it, but here we are in April already and the Granite Falls Tri is on Sunday. That's three days away! Not sure how the heck this happened, but I have a few last minute thoughts to share.
First, I haven't trained nearly as much as I should have. The weather this week has been the first nice week we've had all winter and that is unusual for North Carolina, but true. So, there have been multiple day stretches in which I couldn't even get to the club to work out, and weeks in which outside training was not really possible. PLUS, my family has been SICK this winter! We're NEVER sick. But there it was - a stomach bug for my daughter, then myself, then my husband. Then a viral infection for my daughter this week, which has left all of us praying we won't catch it, at least not until after Sunday. All of which have kept me from training consistently. And I have realized that life gets in the way. That I have other priorities - my kids, my family, my other activities - that are just as important and I don't know how people whose actual job isn't in the fitness field find time to seriously train for these events. I mean, this is a sprint and I can't find time. To do a half or even a full Ironman - the training required. I know it's only an hour or two a day when you break it down, but it's nearly every day. And that's really hard to maintain.
So, although I have pushed myself, have run in 20 degree temperatures, and in 40 degree raw, cold rain it still has not truly been enough to get me where I wanted to be. There are members of my group who have been way more dedicated than me and who are way more competitive and I'm proud of them. They are the ones who have been at the club for nearly every cycle class, every run club, every evening Masters Swim class. They have done bricks on top of bricks, and practiced transitions in the rain. I, on the other hand, have been to Masters here and there and have been satisfied to know that somehow, my 400 yard swim time improved by a full minute, that I can swim 2800 yards without paying for it for the entire rest of the day, and figured out that I will go just as fast by swimming my nice, easy stroke as if I blew myself out trying to kill it. I somehow improved my run pace by a minute, and have probably run more than anything else during this training period because it's so easily doable no matter the weather. I have ridden the course twice and know I can average out at about 17 mph though I'll be pushing pretty hard to achieve that. Still, today I biked about three miles and followed with an immediate one and a half mile run and I was struggling a bit. I should have trained more!
Next, that this whole thing has been really great and informative, but also really overwhelming. I have learned so much - the benefits of lace locks and body glide for my running shoes, how to utilize a foam roller to stretch properly, the absolutely unequivocal benefit of decent running shoes, how clip-ins work, how to do dynamic stretching to warm up for a run, how to do an open-water turn properly and why I like them so much better than flipping. But this is an overwhelming process, and this is just a sprint! Who would think that a short swim, a bike, and a run would be so involved?? I am actually okay with all of it insomuch as I have done this once before. But still... And the folks in my group - only one of them aside from myself have ever competed before and so most of them are way nervous and overwhelmed about all of this. Our trainers have covered every aspect of the race in depth - packet pick-up, race day set-up including body-marking, timing chip, race number placement, transition area set-up. They've practiced how to deal with passing in the pool, the chaos that may ensue in the pool, the pool to bike transition, the bike course, the bike to run transition, proper pre-race and race-day nutrition. (All I can hear is Janice yelling at me "NO DAIRY! NO WHEAT BREAD! CARBS! CARBS! SUGAR!). Sigh. It's no wonder that even my very even-keeled husband is not willing to discuss the race at this point, that one of our group has been unable to sleep, and others have been on the verge of outright throwing up. I do want to tell them to calm down and keep things in perspective. Overall, it IS just a sprint. An hour and 15 minutes. They just need to swim. Then bike. Then run. They do this stuff nearly every day. No big deal!
Finally, I realize that I guess I'm more competitive than I am willing to admit. I have been checking the participant list, and I know that, at last count, there were about ten women registered in my category (female age group 40 - 44). I would really like to come in top three. I feel I can potentially finish this race in an hour and 12 minutes IF everything goes right. But I also know I'm not all that realistic. I can probably do the swim in five minutes, as long as no one in front of me holds me up. I would have to maintain an average 17 mph pace to finish the bike portion in 35 minutes. That's going to be hard with that hill on the 98 bypass. My speed will probably be faster than 17 mph going down Rogers, right at 17 mph on Heritage Lake and Averette, and 11 mph on 98. We will see. And then my legs are going to be tired with a capital "T" and depending on whether they've changed the run course or not, that's going to really slow me down. The original run course is all uphill for the first mile and a half, then downhill, then uphill, uphill, uphill. The revised course, if they use it, is more flat. Either way, I'll be lucky to keep a 10 minute pace and more likely it will be 10:30. So right there, with transitions, I'm at an hour and 12 minutes. So.
That's it. I feel bad for my husband. I know he's nervous and there's nothing I can say to him that will make him feel less nervous. I feel bad for me - I'm a little nervous, too and I know it will increase as Sunday approaches. At least the weather is still looking okay, and we know we'll feel better when it's all over. And we can start training for Smile Train in June! Wish us luck!