Do Or Do Not: This Is My Tri!
I pride myself on being pretty unflappable in most circumstances. I like to try and take the “Everything will be fine in the end” outlook, and it usually serves me well. But I’m not gonna lie; as my first triathlon approached last weekend, I was pretty damn flapped.
When I signed up for the Nautica New York City Triathlon last November, I pictured myself using the event as a new goal to put some fire in my fitness routine. I would run! I would bike! I would (learn to) swim! I envisioned long sessions in the bike saddle and hours in the pool. I’d take lessons to learn how to really move my body through the water rather than rely on my subpar breast stroke. And once and for all, I’d learn how to swim underwater without holding my nose.
Yeah, you read that right. I’m 31, and I can’t master the art of going under without water invading my nasal canal. But we can talk more about that later.
I’ve prepped for endurance events before, and I know you’re setting yourself up for disaster if you don’t devote time and planning to your training program. But life got a little more in the way than I’d thought it would — doesn’t it always? — and I felt like I hadn’t gotten in as much swimming and biking as I’d like. About a month before the event, I realized that my schedule didn’t allow time for any lessons, so I committed to letting my anemic breast stroke carry me as far as it could. If worse came to worse, I could always backstroke, right?
The weekend of the tri arrived, bringing with it a cavalcade of butterflies that swam, biked and ran through my gut every few hours. The Boyfriend assumed his duties as my race crew and began reassuring me that I’d do fine, great, spectacular, no worries, no problems. He read the race information booklet cover to cover. He promised me he’d be out on the course, cheering me on. On the day before the race, he accompanied me to the Hilton Towers in midtown Manhattan for the number pick-up, where many of our conversations in the first 15 minutes went something like this:
ME: (panicky) Why does everyone have their bikes with them? Should I have brought my bike?
HIM: (patiently) I don’t remember it saying you should bring your bike.
ME: What if I need my bike? What if they won’t give me my number without my bike?
HIM: I’m pretty sure you don’t need your bike.
ME: Everyone’s bikes are better than mine.
HIM: That doesn’t mean anything.
ME: Everyone here looks really fit.
HIM: So are you.
ME: Everyone here looks like a sports goddess.
HIM: So do you.
And so on. We took a seat in one of the mandatory information sessions, where one of the race announcers just basically reiterated what was in the race booklet. He stressed that the nearly one-mile Hudson swim would be quick for everyone because the current was so strong. No one asked about the jellyfish that plagued the swim last year, and I didn’t want to look like a wuss, so I didn’t, either. When he asked how many people were first-timers, me and about half of the room raised their hands. Everyone else clapped for us, which made me feel pretty good… for about 30 seconds. Then the butterflies came back from their Gatorade break and started up again.
To be continued…