I loved to run when I was a kid. Kim Hopper and I were the fastest girls in our grade, and the only comment that grated on my nerves was “you’re fast for a girl.” I wanted unqualified acknowlegement, and would happily race, mostly for the sheer joy of motion. Nothing parallels the sensation of wind generated by action from my own legs. This same feeling does not translate when running several miles, but it does feel good to be challenging my body in this particular way, an experience that still feels alien in my short month of preparation for the Appleman Sprint Triathlon.
The Appleman Boot Camp training session, which was designed to be a run through of the whole competition was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. A woman I met at the Swim training and I decided to meet and do it ourselves. I had wanted to see what the actual course was, and ask about things like how to prep for the transitions, how much fuel to bring, etc. At the timed swim there were people who were kind enough to share some of this information, but nothing prepares better than a visual of what to expect.
We met at the beach with all our equipment, which for me includes a wetsuit, goggles and swim cap, biking shoes, helmet and sunglasses, socks and running shoes, and a couple of energy bars. I had considered biking to the beach, but realized it would be a lot to carry in a backpack, although not impossible. My new buddy has been training for a number of months. What started as a weight loss program with her trainer turned into a goal of completing the sprint triathlon. She has run through each of the sections on the actual course a number of times, and has goals for herself about how quickly she can do them. With my initial goal being to complete the course, I had not actually contemplated timing the segments. I could certainly see how compelling this could become, strategizing when to conserve energy, when to go full out, and not having to worry about wondering which way to go at any given time.
Since the bike route consists of a double five mile loop, I now realize that we will all be on the course at the same time, and that it could get quite crowded with several hundred cyclists pumping, pedaling and trying to edge past one another. This dress rehearsal with just the two of us spread a few minutes apart will be a different experience on race day.
My buddy and I realized that we have daughters who graduated in the same high school class (of sixty kids!) in 2008, and it is remarkable that we hadn’t met more formally before now. How helpful to have someone with whom I could compare notes, meet and cheer on! I don’t know that I would even call what I have been doing training. Yes, I’ve been out cycling, swimming in the pool, and have worked my way up to a three mile run, but that is not the same thing as training. I’m increasingly aware of how much there is to know about each sport, and that I am at the beginning edge of all of it!
I will be out there, swimming, biking and running as best as I can, challenging myself along with hundreds of other athletes. We will do what we can on that day, as much as our bodies, weather conditions and fortune will allow. My new goal is to have a great time. Bring it on!