While Sarah's licking her athletic ego, I'm pumping mine up. My first triathlon of the season is on Sunday, and I can't stop thinking about it. I've actually been having random triathlon-inspired dreams for the past few nights, which is really bizarre for me. I was a rower for six solid years, and trained for my last marathon for 6 months, and neither sport ever entered my mind when my head hit the pillow. I don't think I've never been so excited for a race in all of my 35 years.
I usually I dread races, and then exclaim, "I'm just so glad that's over with!" at the end of it and have no desire to work out, let alone sign up for another one for months. But that's usually because it's one long race/slog--a marathon, a half-Ironman--and I've spent months slogging through the training.
This race, though, is my first in a series of at least three over the next three months, in which I hope eliminate any slog. The races are short and, as such, seem so do-able. This one, a 500m swim, a 17- mile bike, and a 5k run, I'm sure I'll be done with in less than two hours. I'll only need one or two Gus. I won't need to refill my water bottles. When I look down at my watch 10 minutes into the run, there will be max 20 minutes left--not at least 4 more hours.
The other reason I'm pumped is that I feel really strong. Like stronger than I did after I trained for the marathon. Ever since my mantra has crystalized as, "I can handle this for now," I've pushed myself more than I usually do. Which is to say, I've pushed myself. I regularly lead my swim lane (even through the what-lap-is-this-again? distance swims, which I despise). I went for a bike ride with a friend last week, and (happily) had to put my pedals on cruise control so she could keep up. At a group run on Tuesday, I jumped in with the middle-speed group (8-10 min. mile pace) and finished a 6.6 mile run in Garden of the Gods (read: hillier than a ski resort) in 56 minutes. Yes, I fell off the back of the group frequently, but that's a blazing pace for me to sustain. During that run, I just kept saying, Five more minutes. You can do five more minutes. My confidence, like my dreams, are so strangely un-me.
More than anything, this race, short on distance and expectations, feels so physically and mentally light. I'm sure I won't feel that way when I'm actually out racing--especially because the water temps are supposed to be in the 50's--but I'm sure that I can handle it. Especially when I take it in five-minute chunks.