Tomorrow is the summation of several months’ of training. 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run. To be clear, I do not consider myself an athletic person, which is why this is a big deal to me. Over the last several months exercise has proved a really effective mechanism for my headspace, and it’s astonishing to see what our bodies can do, when pushed.
I am not exaggerating the truth when I say I’m quite terrified of this tri. This event is the type that forces you to prepare, because if you don’t you’re not finishing. 6am workouts have become routine, as have massive Saturday training sessions.
In a slow build-up from December, I’ve learned to train through intense heat, humidity and increased distances. I can now crank out several miles in a run. It’s slow going, my knees give me pain towards the end, and generally I’m ready to quit within the first ten minutes.
But if I don’t quit, something funny happens. I accept the fact that this run is going to go on for a lot longer. I accept it, and my mind quiets down. The voices start to quiet, and eventually, miraculously, I settle into a rhythm. Some days, the rhythm actually becomes peaceful. My breathing, my footsteps, the river running alongside me.
One foot in front of the other. One more lap. Consistency. Perseverance. I’m realising that there’s so much we can learn from just being still in our heads and letting our bodies do the work. So much can happen if I just ignore the chatter in my mind. I’m hungry. My knee hurts. No, the other one. What should I have for dinner?
Training has taught me a lot about consistency, showing up, putting away the mental baggage and just doing the damn thing.
Tomorrow will be interesting. From the open water ocean swim to what’s going to be a nearly two-hour bike ride, to then have the dreaded run looming at the bitter end, I’m fairly apprehensive about the whole thing.
Yes, I have trained quite a bit. But the real battle is going to be mental, and that’s why I’m doing this.
During my first sprint-distance triathlon, I showed up on the day with zero knowledge of the course. I thought the bike course was comprised of two laps, the run comprised of one. My elation upon completing the first run lap turned to absolute chagrin when I realised I was only halfway done- this happened with both the bike and run. Turns out it was double that.
But I did it. I got through it. I shut down the shouting in my head and finished it. Tomorrow will be the same, and maybe just maybe I’ll be a little faster, a little stronger because of it.
Let’s just do this already.