Two days to race day. Two days until I get the butterflies in my stomach and the nervous feeling that says "Let's DO this thing!" I can't believe it is that time again, but I'm excited. Racing used to make me extremely nervous. Most likely, it was due to lack of experience and not knowing how to really swim! When I think back to my first triathlon where I breast stroked the entire 800 meters, I feel like I have come a long way. Don't get me wrong, I still have a VERY long way to go in terms of swimming. At least I am not worried about drowning, or getting lapped nearly as much as I did before.
So, on Saturday it is off to Philly. I am very excited that Kyle will be coming to the race with me as his help is always wonderful. He's been around this long enough that he knows my habits, nuances, crazy routines and even how to keep me fairly calm by making sure everything goes as smoothly as it can leading up to the race. You can only control the factors you can control (or you think you can control), after that, it's all in someone else's hands and what matters is your attitude on dealing with change or challenges. I don't think I have ever done a race where everything goes perfectly. It's actually one of the things I like about the sport.
Running was fairly simple, get your clothes on, your shoes on, start your watch, and you are racing! Triathlon is such a different story. All of this gear, your pedal falls off your bike right before you are racing, you derailleur decides to just magically "quit working" correctly, or even something as simple as things just not being where you put them when you come flying into transition. It is all part of the game in triathlon and that is something that everyone deals with, not just me. This sport forces me to get out of my "everything has to be just as I imagined it" mindset. I need it for that. I love it for that. I wouldn't be the same person without it if I had decided not really being able to swim was a good enough excuse to not race my first triathlon three years ago.
In the world of sports, I'm young at this. You know what, I do know more than when I started, but I certainly am still a newbie. Reading the blogs of the pros and even other age groupers who have been at this awhile is really fun and intriguing. We are all fans of this tri-fecta of fun they call triathlon.
I don't feel overly ready for Sunday, but I didn't for my first race either and I won. It's not aways about how ready you feel or how much you've trained (don't get me wrong, I certainly believe in preparation to be the best you can be). However, sometimes you just have to get out there and race regardless, just to see what you're made of, just to gain some fitness and remember that feeling of "I'm going to fall down once I cross that finish line!!" It's a good feeling, to be out among other athletes with the same love, the same feeling toward sport, the same goals and dreams as you have. I love the post race bagels and apples, among talk of how the race went for you, or how you felt on that last stretch. It's refreshing, and it makes it all worth it just to be around our compadres. I certainly won't be doing this forever, so if you want to know what I am going to be doing on Sunday - Look for me in the Philly Olympic Distance Triathlon. Regardless of the results, I will be giving it my all, hanging with my people and soaking up every last feeling and emotion of race day. See you at the finish!!