As of today, my training (and this blog) have an official purpose. I have registered for the Naylor’s Beach Olympic-distance triathlon on Sept. 25, 2011. Even after having considered this race for almost two weeks, I find myself almost trembling with nervousness and anticipation after clicking the “submit” button to sign up.
My first thought: What on Earth am I getting myself into? I don’t even know how to swim! I don’t ride very fast! I don’t have time in my life to train for such an undertaking!
For the unfamiliar, an Olympic distance triathlon consists of the following segments, in this order: a 1,500-meter swim, a 40k bike ride and a 10k run. For this race, that essentially translates to a 1-mile swim, 26-mile ride and a 6.2-mile run. Oh, and the swim is completed in the open waters of the Rappahannock River.
So what was I thinking? My initial plan, going back a couple years, was to sign up for a sprint-distance race (usually a 300-700m swim, 20k bike and 5k run), knock it out and say I’ve done a triathlon. But I’ve discovered that I’m not one to think small when it comes to athletic endeavors. Why put in the time and energy only to complete the shortest-distance race available? Why not go all out? If this is, in fact, my “year of the triathlon,” let’s get serious about it. (Note: there are longer triathlons available, but, hey, I’m not completely insane. If this one’s good enough for Olympic athletes, it’s good enough for me!)
So, almost two weeks ago, as I was formulating my fitness goals for the new year, the idea of signing up for a longer distance took hold. I have gone back and forth since then – will I have time to train for such a grueling race? Will I still want to do it when, after months of training, I start to truly realize what I’m in for?
All I can say is, let’s give it a shot. I would rather try and fail than not try at all. I have almost 9 months to train. It’s all that is on my plate, fitness-wise, this year, so I can devote all of my effort toward this singular goal (fortunately, I’m discovering that developing fitness for a triathlon is extremely wide-ranging in terms of what counts as training, moreso than preparing for a running race).
I am excited and terrified at the same time. I thrive off of having a major fitness goal – in the three years since my last marathon I’ve been in a rut of training for training’s sake. Sure, I’ve set several PRs in smaller races during that time, but I’ve been hungry for that next big challenge. But a friend, who happens to be an experienced triathlete, cautioned that an Olympic-distance race is “a lot to chew.” I know this, and I am thoughtfully aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
Both physically and mentally, I’m as ready to start training for this race as I’ll ever be. It’s time to accept the challenge, to possibly bite off more than I can chew. Whatever happens in the end, I know I won’t regret having tried it.