[021] The small race

As part of the process of reaching my ultimate goal – the Naylor’s Beach Olympic-distance triathlon in September – I have signed up for a smaller triathlon in May. I will be participating in the GroundForce IT sprint triathlon, a race consisting of a 300-meter swim, a 20-kilometer ride and a 5-kilometer run. Essentially, that’s about half the distance of my goal race, and the shortest category of triathlon available. 

I have mixed feelings about this race. My stated goal – the root of this blog and my focus this year – is to participate in a triathlon. So, even though this sprint race is merely a warm-up for the big show, I will have officially completed a triathlon in May. There’s a part of me that wants my first triathlon to be the big one.

But that’s a somewhat ridiculous line of thought, and my rational self knows it. There’s so much more to a triathlon than showing up and knocking out the three segments. Primarily there are the transitions – those valuable minutes between legs that constitute a science of their own to experienced triathletes. It’s where seconds and minutes can be gained or lost.

Also, there’s much more to the race-day prep than what might be the case for a running race. You have to stage your transition area and attend pre-race briefings. You have to make sure your bike is tuned and mentally prepare yourself for each segment of the race.

This is where I hope to benefit from the sprint race. I want to become more at ease with the atmosphere and strategy that surrounds the race, so when Sept. 25 arrives I can focus on the task at hand and not the peripheral aspects. I want to know what it’s like to emerge from the water and head straight for my bike – to work out in advance the details that I’m not even aware of now.

There will still be a little of the unknown at Naylor’s Beach – that swim takes place in open water while the GroundForce swim is done in a pool. I certainly plan to do some open-water swimming in advance, but the circumstances will be quite different from race day.

I’m looking forward to the sprint triathlon, although in my own mind I am just considering it another practice, another workout session, and not a “Race.” I can certainly perceive a day when I participate in sprint races for sport and with an eye toward improving my time in that distance, but for now it’s just another means to a larger end.

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One Response to [021] The small race

  1. I think it’s a really good idea to let the sprint one be your first. it’s going to be like a test tri. They say your first tri is all about learning the experience, and the second one you fix all those things you did wrong in the first. Don’t let let the big tri make this one seem less daunting. I personally don’t know what it’s like to get through a sprint tri, but I have a feeling I’m in for a big surprise. When you ran your first marathon, had you done a half first? it’s just like that. Do the sprint, be proud of it.

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