I loved the carb-loading part of training. I miss the carb-loading, but not the training.

All triathletes must train for the Big Day.  I know that now.

Supposed Friend could have helped me with that little nugget of wisdom, but she failed to mention it.

I’m smart, so I figured out that I needed to prepare myself both physically and mentally for the first athletic competition I had been in since my 6th grade kickball tournament, the memories of which still sting almost as much as the ball that took me out of play by winging the right side of my face. Contrary to popular belief, there IS crying in kickball.

As if my hair do and polka dot scarf aren’t reasons enough for the entire class to tease me, now I have to walk around with a giant kick-ball hickey on my face. I hate sports.

Mental Training

  • Daily positive affirmations: “I can accomplish any goal I set.” “I am strong, I am invincible, I am delusional.” “People’s laughter will fill me with energy.” “Passing gas will propel me forward.”
  • Set realistic goals: I simply wanted to complete the race without the assistance of a wheelchair, gurney, or jaws of life. I also wanted to finish within 24 hours. (HINT: remember these goals. They will be important later in the story–like when I actually tell it.)
  • Visualization: I put a picture of a woman triathlete on my refrigerator so that every time I was tempted to eat something not healthy, I felt really guilty.

    I can be her. I can do what she can do. I can only lift my bicycle like that if I finish that leftover mac and cheese before I go to bed.

Physical Training

The race was held in June and I signed up in February. I live in a place where winter lasts until at least March or April. I also live in a place where pools are either for children going to school or for people interested in “Wellness Center” memberships. I didn’t fall into either category at that time.

  • Swimming: I hate swimming. Getting my face wet and possibly drowning annoy me. I can swim if I must. My fastest stoke is the side-stoke. I can cut through the water like an ailing, disoriented turtle.  When I get tired, I can do a fairly decent back float with a flutter kick that will keep me afloat and nearly stationary, which is odd, given all the fluttering and kicking. Our local high school opened up their pool for “Public Swim” every Sunday for one hour during March and April. I went about four times. After that, I focused my training on running, biking, and mind games.  I was going to need a very cooperative dolphin if I wanted to complete the swimming potion of the race. And that seemed unlikely.

    I was totally willing to pay their entry fee, but there was something in the fine print about one swimmer per lane. Drats!

  • Biking: It’s hard to ride in snow, slush, wind, rain, sun, heat, humidity, morning, or afternoon. I didn’t get much time “on the seat” as my fellow triathletes call it. I rode the bike course to familiarize myself with it. Man, it was hilly and windy. Both times. I huffed and I puffed and I thought, “This is WAY more than 10 freaking miles!” Then I got in my car and clocked it. It was about 10 miles. So I had my mechanic check my odometer.  Oh well. Maybe they would cancel the bike ride due to excessive hills.

    Since the bike ride was longer than I anticipated, I equipped  my bike with basic safety features. The extra weight might slow me down, but I would  save time by not having to stop for pee-breaks. I know. I thought of everything!

  • Running: I had been running jogging for a couple of years and loved it. A four mile jog was perfect for me, so I wasn’t worried about a mere 3 miles at the end of the race. I didn’t think about the swimming or the biking that preceded the run. To me, they were separate events. Just in case, I embarked on several longer jaunts: 4.5 miles. I was so ready.
  • Strength Training: I lifted 20-pound free-weights (10 lbs. for each arm) 3 times a week for about 20 minutes and did 200 sit-ups a day. I wanted to look smokin’ hot on race day…

    How could people look at me in my triathlete suit and not be in total awe?

I was as ready as I would ever be for the race of my life.

Stay with me. The day of the race is coming up.

The officials in charge have inspected the venues. There’s nothing left to do but take a deep breath and hope those carbs kick in.