Guys, I don’t know if I remember how to triathlete.
I was supposed to be starting my race season all the way back in April. APRIL! (I’m kind of glad I didn’t because that race looked cold and miserable, but I might also be saying that to make myself feel better about the fact that I was broken and couldn’t race.)
But Sunday, I’m showing up at the start line at Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic, so I’d better figure this out soon.
This race is going to be a huge mental game for me. This is probably the “easiest” Olympic course I have raced, so naturally it’s my PR course. But I’ve set course PRs each year I’ve raced it. That’s not going to happen this year. And no, I’m not just saying that. I’m in a very different place physically. I’m still in the recovery phase of my labral tear. And I did have abdominal surgery four months ago, which set me back as well.
So while my race plan for this race is usually “KILL IT,” this time it has to be “race smart.” Which really should always be my race plan, but triathletes are dumb.
Mental challenge 1: The course has changed a bit and the swim is reversing directions (to go with the current). Awesome, I don’t like swimming against current. But the downside is that there is now a quarter-mile trip between swim exit and transition. It’s on paved road, but far enough that people can leave shoes at swim exit if they want.
I’m intentionally not leaving shoes, because I need to take this slow. I wouldn’t want to leave my running shoes, for fear they would get stolen and then I would be without shoes. And I don’t need to be running in flip flops or other shoes that I’d be okay with losing. To make sure that I’m protecting my hip, I need to be taking this slow, and the easiest way to force that is going to be walking barefoot.
That obviously leads me to mental challenge 2: The run. I haven’t run more than 4 miles since November. I’ve walked much more than that, of course, but not on a dedicated run. I’ve been slowly working to get back to my normal 1:1 run/walk, but right now, I’ve been doing a 3 minute walk 1 minute run pattern, occasionally a 2 minute walk 1 minute run. I need to start out easy with the 3:1 pattern and only if I’m really feeling good after at least two miles should I start to think about stepping it up.
Yes, this means I will be passed constantly. Which, let’s be honest, happens every race anyway. But it’s going to be a huge mental challenge to have lost so much of my speed. I’ll get it back eventually, I’m sure. The point here is to run without pain and finish the race. I expect to be sore afterwards, but I don’t want to do something that leaves me in enough pain that I set back the progress I’ve made.
It’s going to be a hot race. The water temp was 88 degrees on Thursday which is disgustingly warm. The bike will be hot. The run will be hot. So being slow won’t be such a bad thing.
Mostly though, I’m excited to get to race! I’m excited to see my friends! I’m excited to finally be back out there and I hope this isn’t my last triathlon of the year.