So. First triathlon. Sunday. Yup.
To say I’m freaking out would be an understatement. To say I’m excited would also be an understatement. I can’t freaking WAIT for Sunday to get here! There’s just something about a new challenge that has me totally jazzed. Jazzed? Yes. Scared? OMG YES. All those fears that I had before I even started training are still in the back of my mind, although they have quieted themselves a teeny bit. (Regardless of how many triathlons I end up doing, I’m pretty sure I will always be scared of falling or being hit by a car on a bike – or while running.)
My main goal? Finish. Finish and don’t die. I’m more worried about the finishing than the dying part, which is probably a good thing. But, even though I’m slightly worried about finishing, I’m pretty sure that I’ll make it to the finish line unscathed.
So, that leaves me with setting some real goals. (OMG, teacher friends can agree with me on this right now: if I hear another thing about SMART goals, I will throw a MacKenna-sized tantrum, which is quite larger than her petite little frame.) Yes, I want to finish and yes, I feel like that should be my number one goal, but I also am pretty sure that is easily attainable.
Instead, I have divided my goals for each of the 3 sports. I haven’t done a lot of real bricks. I’ve done A LOT of swim + run bricks, but very few swim/bike or bike/run or even swim/bike/run bricks. After the swim, I really have no idea how I’m going to feel on the bike and especially on the run. The one bike/run brick that I did, my legs felt like jello all 2 miles but I was able to keep a pretty decent pace. My goals are therefore attainable, but I think will also be challenging enough to really push me.
The Swim: I actually think the swim will be my weakest sport on Sunday, although (like I said on Monday) I have come a LONG way over the summer. The swim is 300 meters, which is about 275 yards. It is in a pool but I don’t know exactly how the swim takes place. I think my biggest fear is swimming with other people since I haven’t had to do that very much in my training. I think I’ve figured out how not to choke on the water though.
In my training, it took me roughly 5 minutes to swim 200 yards, so my goal is to complete the swim in under 10 minutes. Um, totally attainable, but with other people, I wanted to give myself some leeway.
The Bike: I think my biggest fear on the bike is the distance. I think the roads are closed on the bike, but I’m not positive. It’s also a pretty hilly course, but hills don’t really scare me. I haven’t spent more than 40 minutes on the bike on the roads and my longest “ride” was 60 minutes on the spin bike. Yup, 18 miles is gonna be rough.
In my training, it took me 42 minutes to ride 9 miles on the hybrid bike and 40 minutes to ride 10 miles on the road bike. I’ll have the road bike on race day, and given that nothing crazy happens during the bike part, I am setting my goal at 1:20:00. Again, totally attainable, but you never know.
The Run: Biggest fear on the run = my legs. I know how my legs felt after a 9 mile ride on the hybrid bike. And while I kept a really great pace (hello quicker turnover!), I’m really nervous what 18 miles will do to my legs.
So, I’m keeping my run goal another extremely attainable goal at 24-25 minutes for a 5K. Eight minutes miles? Yeah, I can do that.
What’s left but to focus on…
Transitions: OMG. Now I’m nervous! My goal for tonight is to figure out exactly what I need for each transition (not much) and how to do it quickly. I’ve tried 2 trisuits and hated the way both of them fit, so I’m going to be swimming in my tankini with a sportsbra underneath, shedding the top on T1, pulling on some running shorts and a running tank, shoes and socks, and I’m done. Oh, and slathering on some Body Glide or Vaseline since running shorts aren’t exactly the greatest thing to wear on a bike. Will my booty hurt? Probably. Will my shorts be soaking wet? Most likely. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend money on a trisuit that I didn’t find comfortable for my first (and possibly only) race. Now, I might change my mind after Sunday, but for now, I’m going to be the runner posed as a triathlete.
Any last words of advice on goals, transitions, racing a triathlon in general?