In less than a week, I will experience where my physical and emotional limits reach. On August 15, I am going to compete (I use the word loosely, I just want to finish) in the Utah Half Ironman in Provo. I will swim, bike and run farther than I ever have before. I have completed each individual distance with no problem, but put all three in a row and I just might die.
First, I get to swim 1.2 miles in the bug-infested and fairly gross Utah Lake. Two years ago, this would have petrified me and is what kept me from entering such an event. But somewhere between then and now, I have learned to swim in the open-water, freestyle and not die of exhaustion or drowning. I am confident in my ability to swim the distance, thanks to my awesome wetsuit. And I am confident that I probably won't be the last out the water, like I have in previous triathlons. And I am confident that I that I will have energy left to move onto the second leg of the triathlon, thanks to my slow methodical stroke.
Next, I will strip off the wetsuit and strap on a helmet as I mount my bicycle for 56 flat and hopefully, fast miles around Utah Lake. I like to think the bike leg is my strength, but feel it may not be this time because of the flatness of the course. I lose all my advantage when there are no hills. But at the same time, I am grateful there are no hills because hopefully, my legs will have some juice left in them to carry me through the last leg. My bike is, as we speak, in the shop, getting a tune-up. I just installed new aero bars (thanks to my brother) and I am waiting for my new tires to arrive. If they don't get here, Tom is going to let me use his new ones. So my bike should be pimped out and ready to go! And I am going to be pretty pimped out, too: cute new shorts (that are a bit more flattering then my old ones), new helmet, new bike shoes, fairly new running shoes, and I am trying to figure out how to sew a fun pocket onto one of my tanks (very few of my running shirts have pockets and i need somewhere to put my energy so I bought some wild spandex and will try to figure out how to get it on).
The last leg, 13.1, luckily flat miles, is the most daunting of the three legs. Every time I run a half marathon, I am exhausted by that last tenth of a mile. What makes me think that I can do that half-marathon after having swum 1.2 miles and biked 56? Especially, since I swim mostly with my legs (I think pigeon-toedness gives my kick a little motor-like feel to it and I don't really know how to stroke with my arms super well.) and bike almost solely with my legs.
I feel a little crazy for entering such an event, but excited to give it a try. I have always said I would do a half-ironman, just didn't think it would be so soon. I registered for it when I was still high from my Utah Summer Games Triathlon experience. I have trained some but probably not enough. My only true brick workout was a week and half ago, and I literally almost died on it. I was over-heated and dehydrated (thanks to the horrid lady at a restaurant in Leeds who refused to give a dying girl a glass of water). The last mile of the 1 mile swim, 37 mile bike and 10 mile run workout was one of the hardest miles of my life. I made it thanks to my training partner running by my side.
I guess I need to remember my goal for this race is just to finish. Of course, I have a time goal in my head and there are other competitors I want to beat, but I need to make myself happy with just finishing the race. But, this is the unknown so hopefully I can do that and do it with dignity and smile on my face. And maybe not be the last one to cross the finish line.