Oh boy!... Here we are. Sunday, it's the Ventura Triathlon. MY triathlon. I made my decision about the distance. I'll go for the Olympic one: 1.5K swim / 40K bike / 10K run. On race week, what's on my mind?
I told you about all the details I could think of during my marathon training. But, for the triathlon, I've mostly been quiet... at least, here.
First reason: the fact we'll be leaving California (meaning moving back to France) in July. Lots of things to coordinate, think about. It's even more difficult when you clearly don't want to do it. Anyway, my way to deal with it is to try to ignore it. Don't think about it. Don't think about it. It works pretty well, guys! Unfortunately, there are backlashes. Example: the triathlon. See, the triathlon represents the end of our time in California. So, it was in the "don't think about it" category. Except, the end is here and, with that, the triathlon too. (Why can't we just hit pause sometimes?)
Another major reason: I don't know triathlon. I never did one. I have no idea if I trained correctly. I don't want to speak about things I am not sure about and blather. Plus, I don't even know if I could have talked about it more. I need time to analyse and process new things: that worked / that didn't work / why / how / I should have done that / I shouldn't have done that / who am I / where am I going... and all these existential questions.
Race week, final week, it finally kicked in: on Sunday, I'll be toeing the starting line of my first triathlon. Well, when I say starting line... the sand, actually, in my bright pink interior wetsuit, hoping for a swim start as smooth as possible...
There are MANY things turning around in my head, right now. I'm no expert in triathlon, but, believe me, it asks way more logistics than a simple running race. Also, there are lots of rules in triathlon. If you don't follow them you can have time penalties or even be disqualified.
Believe me, I'll soon have nightmares about it. To feel good and prepared, I need to know what to expect, and be able to visualize. It calms me down. Unfortunately, here, I can't do that. I have too many doubts about how everything works.
- how much room do I have in transition?
- how will I spot my bike coming from the swim?
- also, how will I find my way to my spot in transition AFTER the bike ride? (there will only be my towel on the ground)
- do not panic if I have a hard time getting off my wetsuit
- don't panic, be efficient, don't forget anything
- put the helmet on and close the strap before touching the bike (it can be a disqualification matter)
- the run, with the cycling shoes, to go to/to come from the "mounting/demounting line"
- be able to know where is the bike exit / the bike entrance / the run exit AND the way from or to my spot in transition
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I managed to get some open water sessions in. It went well and I actually appreciated it. It made me think about the transition from roads to trails for running. Honestly, it's pretty nice to swim in the Pacific ocean in place of the pool. Still, every time I went, the water conditions were great. It may be another experience with big waves and currents.
It's well known and you can read about it everywhere: a triathlon start is close to chaos. Every article I read about triathlon tips (bad, really bad idea to read that on race week) says it. "You will be punched. Don't panic if someone swims over you. Stay calm." All right, all right... I'M SCARED! (but, SERIOUSLY, how someone can actually swim on top of someone else??)
OK, it's extreme. It's an Ironman. For the Ventura Triathlon, we will be far from this number of participants. Also, we'll start with age group waves. But it was to scare you... and me.
My plan: start on the sides. It will add distance but there is no point for me to start at the front. I am not a good swimmer and it won't change overnight. I just want to succeed in finishing the swim part.
Let me tell you: if I manage to get out of the water having done a comfortable and paced swim, it will already feel like a personal win.
Again and again, the triathlon rules: no drafting. The distance between 2 bikes in a line should be of a minimum of 3 bikes length. How can I evaluate that? And how do I decide to pass? And what if I take too much time to pass?
Because, well, here another rule: we have to ride on the right side of the road. If we stay on the left for too long, we'll get a time penalty.
Another big fear: a flat tyre. No exterior help is allowed. If I have a flat tyre, I'll have to handle it on my own. You may think I am an expert to mount/demount bike wheels. And you would be right! EXCEPT I switched bikes. Long story, I will do the triathlon with my neighbor's road bike. I've been training on it for more than a month now. I tried to change a tube. I had the bad surprise to realize it's almost impossible to put the back wheel back on the bike. It's because the wheels have been adapted to the bike but they were not made for it. I realized that, Thursday. STRESS. My neighbor will try to find a way to make it easier. In my head, I don't know, I try to block the information. Denial mode.
No specific fear. At least, one sport I know and know what to expect. I still have a wish: I want to manage to have a good and strong run. So, I want to make sure I don't use all my energy on the bike. I will be really disappointed if the run was a disaster. It's MY sport!
#1 goal: finish the swim.
#2 goal: no flat tyre.
#3 goal: manage to handle the bike ride to have enough energy left for the run.
#4 goal: have a good run. Bonus goal: complete the run in about 45 min. Here it is. I wrote it down. It's ambitious. Not sure I'll be able to do it. Running after a bike ride is really hard.
Less than a week before go time, I'm scared. There are so many things I don't know and can't control. I think it's normal when you start a new sport, and even more with triathlon and its 3 legs. On top of that, you can add the usual pre-race nerves and all the questioning which doesn't do any good.
In spite of everything, there's a little flame burning inside me. A little flame of excitement. I hope it will get the upper hand. Here we are. I will do a triathlon!
It would be nice to see you there: YouTube channel. Subscribe!