This is a tricky one. I have thought about almost nothing else during my hours of weekly training over the past five months but, now that it’s time to put some actual goals in place, I find myself at a loss.
This will be my very first ever Olympic distance triathlon. And no, it has zero to do with the actual Olympics, although I’m super flattered to everyone who asked me that. The world of triathlon is organized by race distance with a sprint triathlon being the shortest (typically 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike and 2 mile run) and the almighty Ironman being the longest (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run).
The Olympic distances are:
.93 mile swim (let’s just call it a mile people!)
25 mile bike
6 mile run
Of course I have chosen a
hard as hell challenging course on which to preform all of these tasks, as described in the athlete’s guide over and over again, thanks to my friend Amanda who lives nearby and who I will be staying with for the weekend.
Obviously this will be my most challenging event. My wetsuit is not fitting right and, although the temperature on race day is predicted to be 65 degrees, the race starts in waves at 6:45am when it will definitely not be 65 degrees. I know it will be cold and there is nothing I can do about it.
According to the Athlete’s Guide, the average water temperature in May is 65-73 degrees with the highest recorded temp at 73.
Just for ha-ha’s – – the water temp in the indoor pool is 82. #IAmNotLaughing
My Fears: I tend to get anxious in the middle of the swim when I’m in the middle of the lake and wrestling with my breathing and my mind. I’m a fairly slow swimmer and I need to channel my inner Dory and “just keep swimming.”
My Confidence: Not too long ago I was afraid to swim in open water and the idea of swimming a mile seemed absurd. I have swum to the moon and back in the pool and I know I am more than capable of covering the distance.
My Prediction: Anything near 30 minutes and I will be happy.
From the guide:
“The bike course is a challenging, 25 mile route through the rolling countryside and farmlands of Howard County, including four moderate climbs along well maintained, and paved, two lane roads. There will be 2 Aid Stations located at Ten Oaks Road Circle, at the 8 mile and 174 mile points offering spring water and Gatorade Endurance. There is no public urination permitted.”
Wait!? Since when is there no public urination in a race? Come on. They actually mention this several times.
We shall see just how “moderate” those climbs are.
My Fears: A flat.
My Confidence: I have to keep my pace and effort steady though out and push up the hills when I get close to the summit. I’m looking forward to a good, strong ride and making up some time from the swim.
My Prediction: 1 hour 25 minutes
From the guide:
“The unique 6.2 mile run course is widely regarded as one of the most challenging in triathlon. Climbing and encircling Centennial Lake, it passes through a local neighborhood and consists of three moderately steep climbs including the legendary “Gatorade Hill”, and one 12% climb.”
My Fears: I fear only for the other athletes and how quickly I will pass them.
My Confidence: I have my mantra ready “This is the part you love. You love running. Yes you do. You LOVE it!”
Prediction: 43 minutes
I’m trying really hard not to get caught up in a time goal, and instead focus on having the best race for me, regardless of my finishing time. The point of this race has always been a prep for nationals in August and I need to let it be just that.
I will be wearing a watch that displays only my overall time (including transitions) so I will not know my paces until I finish. This worked so well for me at the Colchester Half Marathon and has though out my training so I’m sticking with it!
Of course I have looked up past race results for those in my age group. Last year, the first place female finisher in the 40-44 age group had a time of 2:28:58. Most of these women have a swim time less than mine, a comparable bike time and a slower run time. I will have to see what the day brings but I know a “win” will be a top 10 place in my age group and not top three.
I have to constantly remind myself that I am new to triathlon and I feel as if I have only just begun to see what I can do. The challenge of triathlon in general and, the Olympic distance in particular, is the reason why I’m training and racing it.
I hope to finish around 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Now that I have analyzed it to death, all that is left to do is race it!
[Tweet “Pre-race goals of a #triathlete as she tackles her first #OlyDistance! #train4life #ColumbiaTRI”]
I have a special treat for all of you on Friday! My guest will be Canada’s one and only top fitness pro – – > DAVE SMITH with a fantastic post-run stretching VIDEO. I will be in desperate need of this after my race and then 6+ hour drive home on the same day…
Any final thoughts for me?
How did you feel going into your last big race?