Monday, August 27, 2012
So for those of you who are considering this adventure, let me fill you in on what they don't tell you...
1. Training is crucial. We each took different approaches. I googled and strictly followed a Triathlon training schedule that included timed bike rides, runs, lap swims, open water swims, weight lifting and rigorous combinations of each on different days. Then I researched an eating schedule for the 3 days leading up to the race and increased my carbs and salt.
My husband worked equally hard, but did his own random thing. Sometimes he would join me. Like the day I was scheduled to do an open swim on an overcast and 65 degree day in choppy water. We stood there on the empty beach in our bathing suits and goggles while he lectured me on the difference between "Dedicated" and "Stupidity." He ate what he wanted and became a regular popper of B12 supplements.
Z's approach was this: Take a total of 4 bike rides, do exactly 1 open swim, spend the day before the race at an amusement park, get a total of 4 hours sleep the night before, eat an entire pack of graham crackers for breakfast, show up for the race and hope for the best. The joys of being 18.
2. Be prepared to spend money. You expect the entrance fee because that comes with the territory. But what they don't tell you is that a new bike and running shoes will start to look like a necessity and before you know it, a Footlocker employee is giving you permission to try out the shoes by running through the mall and suddenly people are confusing you with a criminal fleeing the scene in stolen shoes. True story.
3. Prepare to face your secret demons. When you register online you'll be asked to rank yourself by age or weight. Quite the dilemma. I either had to claim and publicly advertise that I was almost 41 or that I'm 4 pounds within eligibility to be classified as an "Athena." That's code for "over 150 lbs." For those of you math wizards, you now know my weight. That's okay, because for this race, I tapped into my inner Athens goddess of warfare and proudly claimed the Athena that I am....then they went and posted my age anyway. Gee, thanks.
4. You will look ridiculous the day of the race. Not only will you be required to walk a lengthy distance through a huge crowd wearing only your bathing suit, but swim caps are mandatory. Good luck to those of us who rely on our hair to take the focus off our problem areas around the waist line. I can only hope that my full eye make-up took the focus off the fact that I looked like a pear shaped alien. Oh and did I mention the mandatory bike helmets? Nobody looks good in a bike helmet, especially when you factor in that I accidentally wore mine backward during the race, because I'm just that cool. Now picture my husband losing balance on his bike and running his head through some low hanging tree branches and I imagine we made quite the impression. But Z pulled off the super-cool look by rocking out a shark bike helmet complete with fin. Why didn't I think of that?
5. Maybe most importantly, you need to be warned about this: regardless of how full your bladder is, your body will refuse to let you urinate while you're swimming a race. So either arrive early enough to visit the port-a-john or be ready to do a slow breast stroke in the middle and push like you're giving birth. Don't judge, people. You know as well as I do, my bladder would have released halfway through my bike course. Nobody needs that. It's not like swim pee is a new concept these days. I mean, if it's good enough for Ryan Lochte, it's good enough for me.
6. Finally, PMS will do you no good here. I was ready to use that to my advantage...ya know, allow my rage to push me harder. But when you find yourself surrounded by a group of the sweetest, kindest, most supportive and encouraging people you'll ever meet, not only will you resist the urge to throw an elbow, but you'll even feel slightly bad for the people coming up behind your slow breast stroke....