On Saturday I'll zip up the wet suit, clip into El Bastardo and lace up my Nike Frees for my first triathlon of 2010. Since the South Carolina half in October I've been anxiously awaiting March 27th for the California 70.3. This will be my third season of triathlon and I know I am in the best shape of my life. In my first season of triathlons I was worried about my performance, concerned about covering the distance and fearful of how my blood sugars would react. For my second season of triathlon I continually had questions about why my race day performance never seemed to equate to what I had done in training. But this year, this season something has changed; I no longer care what my time will be, I have confidence in my training, confidence in my body and enthusiasm for the sport. I no longer feel as if I am out there to prove something to myself, I'm simply out there to have fun.
It has often been said that "perfection is the enemy of good." I believe in the past I was so concerned about having a "perfect," race whether from a performance or blood sugar perspective that I never allowed myself to just breathe and have fun. For each race I would freak out if I didn't take in my pre-race nutrition at the exact moment I was supposed to or if I couldn't get in a full warm up before the race began. The truth is once you have the confidence in your preparation, training and nutrition it is really easy to not sweat the small stuff and just focus on what's important – an awesome experience where I get to challenge myself athletically. I mean let's face it I know I'm not winning my age group and really my only goal is to just be a little bit faster than in my last race; perfection is a pretty unattainable goal while having fun is easy to achieve.
I haven't yet spoken to Coach Orton about race day strategy. I know that there are 3 steep climbs on the bike, that the run is flat and that the swim is in the ocean. Since it's an ocean swim and since I'm terrified of sharks there is a chance I'll set a world record for a 1.2 mile swim! The bike will be the bike; I've made huge improvements in my ability to pace myself on the bike and mentally feel I am better prepared for the bike than I ever have been before. Last weekend while El Bastardo was traveling to California via tribike transport I took my beater road bike (that I put together myself) for an 80 mile ride, knowing I averaged just over 17 mph on that thing lets me know my legs are pretty much ready to tackle the bike course. But, and I can't believe I'm going to write this, I am really excited for the run! Coach Orton has pushed the cr*p out of me in run training, he's had me run hills, do speed work, go long, go slow, go fast and go steady. He has challenged me with sustained efforts in zone 2 followed by 20 minutes of zone 4 effort; he has had me do mile repeats at paces I never thought I would achieve. He has broken me down to build me back up and has turned me from someone who just wanted to sprint into someone who runs because they love how it feels. I have never before had more excitement for the run of a triathlon than the bike; the idea of running along the Pacific coast at the end of the race has chills running down my spine.
Best of all after the race I get to hang out with the Triabetes crew! Julie who I met out at IMAZ will be doing the race with her husband and pooch cheering her on. Nate has rounded up a bunch of the amazing people involved with Triabetes to come cheer us on. Afterwards we are all going to a bbq in Oceanside and then on Sunday morning there will be some more Triabetes meet and greets. It's just going to be incredible to have a weekend where I'm competing with my Triabetes family cheering me on.
I've put in the work and I've made the sacrifices. I'm more mentally and physically prepared for this race than any I have done in the past. Yeah, the only thing to do is just going out there on Saturday and have some fun – it's going to be a hell of a day.