The London Triathlon is a mere 2 days away. I’m mainly excited, with a hint of nervousness. I don’t like being new at something, but I’ve put in the training time and definitely feel ready. The sprint distance event consists of a 750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run – all very doable individually, but when you put them altogether, it’s a whole new challenge.
Since I signed up for the event back in June, I’ve done the following:
- Basically taught myself to swim front crawl. With the help of a lot of YouTube videos, two lessons, my patient husband and persistence, I can now actually swim something more impressive than a lopsided breast-stroke. I am also no longer worried about drowning.
- Bought a wetsuit and learned to put it on. This may sound easy, but honestly, putting on a wetsuit is akin to putting on super tight jeans when you’re sweaty. Except it’s a jean onesie. No. It’s actually worse than that. I can’t even think of an analogy that accurately explains the torture. It’s really just awful. Especially if it’s hot. The first time I ever put on my new wetsuit was on a beach, on a hot summer’s day in Canada, the day after one of my best friend’s weddings so I was hungover. It was a poorly laid plan that had me saying things like, “this is as close to hell as I’ll ever be.” The wetsuit and I have learned to tolerate each other since then.
I have also:
- Learned to swim in open water
- Bought a road bike
- Went on my first group cycle with the Islington Cycling Club
- Went on the longest ride of my life (about 40km)
- Bought new running shoes
- Read a lot material on transitions
- Kept running and cross-training
- Got sick twice, but powered through
It’s been a busy few weeks. So busy in fact, that I actually forgot about tapering! Tapering is that glorious time where you reduce all training and exercise in the days leading up to an important event. It’s customary in many endurance sports like running, and it’s been an important part of my training plan for every race I’ve ever done. But with all the new-ness of the triathlon, I kind of forgot about it. Alas, here we are in taper week, and now all there is to do is chill and wait for race day. My last run before the event was home from work today.
Everything about this event is new, including my start time. I start at 3:10 in the afternoon! I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself for the hours leading up to the race. What do I eat? What do I do? Where do I put all my stuff? I don’t know if you know this, but triathlon is a high maintenance sport. I mean, the gear you need to cart around is outrageous. It gives me a whole new appreciation for running events where you just show up in your gear, ready to go.
While it’s been tough at times, training for this event has been really good for me. Overall, I feel stronger and fitter. It’s put me outside my comfort zone many, many times, but I think that’s a good thing, because it means I’m learning. It’s a whole new world. But it’s a good world.
And stay tuned. Recap to come…