It sounds so simple…
Since Tuesday my stomach has been in knots. I have sung in front of sold out houses and played many different roles from chorus girl to leading lady. None of that has made me nervous like the combo of this swim, bike run.
Stupid Twenties Bucket List. I hate you.
I have been training for this for a while. It is called My First Tri for a reason. The distances are not long. 400 yard swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run. Individually anyone should be able to do them. It is when you smash them together that things get a bit tougher. The tougher part is what I had to practice and train for. Initially it was the biking that scared me the most. Training for the biking part meant spin classes and spin class scares me. I walk by the spin class every Tuesday and Thursday on my way up the stairs to where the sane people work out at the Y. The spinners are nuts. The room’s lights are dimmed, the music is cranked up and the people are alternately sitting and standing on a stationary road bike that sports a seat that resembles nothing close to a Lazy Boy.
The first spin class I went to I was glad to see the range of fit housewives to less fit senior citizens and everything in between. I walked in pretending to know what I was doing. I even wore my tightest pair of compression capris thinking I would blend in a bit better with the padded bum biker shorts everyone seemed to sport. I grabbed a sweat towel. I walked over to the wall that stores all the parked bikes and I put my water bottle in the holder on the bike. I then pivoted the bike forward to roll it from its storage place to the farthest possible back row in the classroom. Any of you who have done a spin class before can probably predict what happened next. My water bottle went flying across the room, nearly tripping one of the seniors who was much more gracefully and successfully stealing the last spot in the last row from me. My cover was blown. I couldn’t pretend any longer. I was a newb. At that moment a housewife called out, got the instructors attention (and everyone else that was already expertly adjusting their bikes) and pointed toward me, “You got a first timer!”
I was positioned in the middle row not far from the wall of mirrors. (seriously, who wants to see themselves sweat? Why are there mirrors in those rooms?!) The rest of the class went smoother after the instructor got me all settled on my spin bike and kindly insisted that “Yes, you should take the gel seat pad, at least for your first class.” She was right. If you ever take a spin class and are offered a gel seat pad take one. In fact, if you can sneak it, take two! I survived the class. It was almost fun… almost.
It took a few classes and even more rounds of pedaling on the regular stationary bikes up near the treadmills (where the sane people work out) to really feel comfortable. I am consistently hitting 4 minute miles and that is the pace I hope to keep for the race. I want to finish the 10 mile bike in 40 minutes.
The swim doesn’t worry me too much because it was the only sport I was even remotely good at growing up. The only part about the swim that has me worried is that it will be in a river. Open water. There are fish and other living things in rivers. It gives me the creeps just to think about it. There is a reason there are pools. A person is supposed to see what is at the bottom of where they are swimming. That is just how it is. I am pretty sure God intended us to swim in chlorinated water. It is cleaner and turns blonde hair a lovely shade of green. I look good in green.
I smile to myself every time I think about the fact that the swim is 400 yards. That is just 100 yards shorter than my last competitive swim as a 6th grader. The day after my 500 yard swim (that my Dad went blue in the face screaming at me to swim faster) I came down with a bad case of Mono that kept me out of school long enough that I almost didn’t pass 6th grade. My mom blames swimming. I am not sure that the 500 yards is what pushed me into Mono quarantine. I wasn’t going fast enough to warrant an illness. My dad would be the first to agree. In defence to of my slow pace, my Dad said to go at a steady pace in order to keep enough energy for the last 100 yards. I had plenty of energy left the last 100 yards. In fact, it was probably most leisurely swim to date.
The running part of the race will just suck. No way around it. Running sucks. At least it is only two miles. I had an epiphany while training and it goes a little something like this, “The faster you run, the sooner you are done!” Genius, right?! If I have anything left in the tank my last half mile of the race, I plan to just go as fast as I can and finish strong so I can get done sooner. The thought of pancakes will keep me motivated. I am eating a stack of them after the race is done. A big stack!
So that is what I am doing tomorrow morning. I have to be in Hudson at 6:30 am to set up my transition points. Don’t even get me started on the anxiety of the logistics of the clothing. Swimming in bike shorts, a sports bra and tank will not be fun but biking after in the same clothes, followed by a run… pretty sure that won’t be fun on any level. The race starts at 8. My goal is to do the swim in 10 minutes (I don’t know how swimming in open water will go so I am being generous with that goal) , 40 minute bike ride like I said above and then a 22 minute run. That puts me at an 11 minute mile which isn’t fast by any means but it is a steady jog and after the swim and bike a steady jog is a realistic goal.
Wish me luck!