I have triathlon brain.
I have arrived in race-obsession mode as the Pumpkinman HalfIronman Triathlon nears. I've done enough big races (marathons and triathlons) now that I have learned my own mental habits in the training and lead-up to the race.
First, there's the stage when I first decide on a race, and I have delusions of grandeur. I have all the time in the world ahead of me to train! I'm going to be the leanest, meanest mama at the starting line.
Then there are the months and months training, during which I alternate between feeling confident (if I have a great run or bike or swim) and terrified (if I struggle through a workout). I think of that leanest, meanest version of myself and I say to her: "I'm doing the best I can here, okay?" I settle for not being the leanest, meanest mama and decide it's just really important not to die. I love, in maybe an unhealthy way, entering a completed workout in my training log.
During training, I have multiple finish line fantasies where I cross the line of the race with my arms in the air and a look that shows a perfect combination of pride and exhaustion (i.e. I worked my ass off but I'm not about to land in the medical tent). You've had these fantasies too, during training, right? In my finish line fantasies, especially this summer, someone also runs into the finish line chute and drapes an American flag over my shoulders, but that's probably just me.
Next, as the race draws closer, there's the youtube stage, when I spend hours during middle-of-the-night insomnia stretches searching for videos of the race in which I'm about to participate. I do this to get a glimpse of the race venue and to reassure myself by watching videos of normal-looking people like me completing the race of that distance. I also read and re-read the course description on the website: "1.2 mile swim in Knights Pond. 56 mile beautiful rolling bike course along the well maintained Eastern Trail (paved surface) 13.1 mile scenic two loop run that starts out with a welcomed downhill start, long flat section along the Eastern Trail with a finish to remember!"
In the last few remaining weeks, I will enter the obsessive weather-checking and anxiety dream stage. In my recent race experiences this includes realizing that the weather is going to suck (really hot and humid) and I'm going to have to just accept it. Also, I will have several dreams in which I get to the race site or the starting line without some important piece of gear, or that the race took off without me and I can hear everyone cheering but can't find the starting line. My favorite was before my first marathon, I dreamed that I got to the starting line and looked down to see that I was wearing Reed's shoes. He was 2 years old at the time, and in my dream, I thought: "Oh man. This is going to hurt."
Right now, I'm in the lots-of-questions and can't-stop-talking-about-the- race stage. Can you help? Triathletes out there?
What if my goggles get kicked off during the swim?
What if I swallow a mouthful of water and choke?
What if I can't get my wetsuit off?
What if I don't have enough fluid on the bike?
No seriously, I only have room for 2 bottles and that's not enough for 56 miles?
How much food should I eat on the bike?
What if I need to walk most of the half marathon?
What if I don't make the cut off time?
Are triathletes nice like marathoners are nice?
Will there be other people there just trying to finish?
Do I sound a little bit sad right now?
|my triathlon (sprint distance) debut in 2007. Reed was 6 months old. I've come a long way since then.|