When I shouted from the rooftops back in January that 2015 was going to be the year I tackle the big, crazy, scary goal of completing my first triathlon in six years, it all seemed so distant. Something that was so far down the road that I would have plenty of time to process it, plan for it, and absorb the reality of it before it arrived.
But life is funny, isn’t it? Much has happened since January – I left my old job, started a new one, trained for + completed a half marathon – and the enormity of this goal got a bit lost in the shuffle.
And now race day is around the corner. It’s no longer far away. It’s right in front of me. And it’s very real.
Since I didn’t do much to diligently document my training and preparation these past few months, here’s a bit of a recap at where things stand ahead of next weekend.
TRAINING // In the spirit of winging it and having fun, I didn’t create a training plan. I didn’t even look at one. I just took things week by week and did my best to fit in at least one swim, bike, and run workout.
Since I had a solid running base from the Brooklyn Half, my focus has been on increasing my endurance in the pool and on the bike. I’ve successfully completed the full 23 mile bike leg distance a number of times, and I feel confident in my mile swim. I’ve even done a number of brick workouts, combining bike + run or swim + bike.
Where did I train? I did all of my biking on the West Side bike path, which I’m so thankful to have discovered but am already really tired of. And don’t even get me started on Central Park. Biking there is like playing Frogger on two wheels.
I joined Equinox back in January explicitly for easy access to weights (to build strength + prevent injury) and pools. As someone who had convenient access to pristine and free Olympic distance pools in DC, the NYC swimming situation came as a shock to the system. There really are no free pools. And paying for access to the nice ones doesn’t come cheap. If you are an Equinox member, my favorite places for laps are the 64th Street and Columbus Circle locations.
POTENTIAL PITFALLS // Transitions. Didn’t train for those. I’m really hoping some of the tricks of the trade float back into my head after so many years away from racing. I remember that set up is really key. I remember that I am going to need to tie my running shoes ahead of time to make them easy to slip on after the bike ride. I remember I’m going to need a hat. And sunglasses. And I’m praying to the triathlon gods that the swim is not wetsuit legal, because there’s no way I want to deal with shimmying in and out of neoprene.
Aero bars. Don’t have them, and the extra air friction may add a few minutes to my bike time. Oh well.
Open water swimming. I did all of my swimming in a chlorinated pool, so I am unprepared for dealing with swimming en masse through lake muck. At least there won’t be any jelly fish.
Flat tires. I haven’t changed a flat in a really long time and hope that writing this on the blog isn’t creating some terrible technological hex. I should probably watch a YouTube how-to video before race day as a refresher.
DEFINITE WINS // Everything. This is my first triathlon in years. And despite my best efforts to stop the slow march of time, it’s not like I was a competitive collegiate triathlete just yesterday. It’s been seven years since my days on the Georgetown triathlon team. Seven years of training for other things, fit crashing, working long hours at desk jobs, moving cities, and living life.
So I’ve decided to give myself a break and approach next weekend with the excitement and “well, here goes nothing!” attitude of a beginner. My goal time? To have the best time. To enjoy the thrill of being back in the saddle. To appreciate the wonderful opportunity to again participate in a sport I once loved so deeply. To share that opportunity with my parents and loved ones, who will be there to cheer me on. To revel in the fact that I challenged myself to a big, crazy, scary goal and – seven long and challenging months later – I’m crossing it off the list.
I refuse to see the 2015 New Jersey State Triathlon as anything but a win-win scenario.
Because holy smokes guys, it’s finally here, and it’s going to be a blast.