Self: Why don't I just go back to bed?
Other Self: You're already up...
Self: Yeah. But I'm sooo tired.
Other Self: Stop being such a puss.
Other, Other Self: Dude...that redhead from True Blood....soooooo hot.
Self: Shut up, you. I'm too tired.
Other Self: Why don't you just go to the bathroom...so you don't have to poop during the race?
Self: Don't you think I would if I could?
Other, Other Self: JESSICA!
Self and Other Self: Quiet, you...
Seriously, my entire life existence on race morning revolves around pooping. When will I go? Will I go at all? How many times? Other times in my life...I kind of just wait like a normal person for the moment(s) to arise...but race mornings are different...and there is nothing worse than having to go while swimming.
This race was especially interesting. The actual gun for the pro start (fifteen minutes before my wave) was my moment. I'm not kidding:
- BANG! And all the professional athletes started swimming.
- BANG! My stomach told me to RUN (not walk to the bathroom).
So odd. Maybe I am pro-gun after all?
My other personal issue with these races is that no matter what I do, I chafe. I have learned, over the years, to lather the crap out of EVERYTHING on my body...but without fail, some part of my body burns the shit out of me when I get in the shower after a race. Maybe this is the key. I should chafe myself the night before...take a shower...and BANG! My own, personal starter's pistol.
This swim was different for me. I was trying out a new technique I have been practicing, so I was actually excited to get in the water. Well, as excited as I could be. This quickly faded as I got kicked in the face and pelted by a few elbows. YAY! Triathlon swim starts! At least the chemicals in the harbor probably diluted all the pee.
On the bright side, I was faster at some points during this race, but for the love of all the swim gods...I just can't swim straight. I must have easily swum an extra 50 to 100 yards...maybe they should hand out extra credit medals at the end of the race for the person who swum the farthest!
Another thing I am still struggling with is not having a passing gear when I swim. When I'm biking/running, I can figure out how to maneuver around people. In the water, I still haven't mastered how to actually go by someone. I'm really, really good at having people swim by me. In fact, I've made it an art form. I almost feel like I'm the host at a restaurant, "Right this way, sir..."
Actually, for me, the moment of truth in all triathlons isn't the swim itself; it's seeing how many bikes are on the bike rack when I get out of the water in transition. That is my least favorite moment of any race -- my hopes dashed -- when I see how many people have already gotten on their bikes and left. I catch some of them...but that is such a desolate feeling...like that The Twilight Zone episode where the last dude on earth only wants to read books...only to have his glasses break.
One of the reasons I did this race is because I wanted to see where I was physically after getting really sick with food poisoning AND pneumonia/bronchitis earlier this year. If I can suggest anything to other triathletes out there...don't get sick for a month when trying to train for shit. You heard it here first.
Illness is what is so odd about all this triathlon stuff. Triathlons make you feel GREAT, but they simultaneously destroy your immune system. Personally, I blame swimming, the world's greatest evil. OK. OK. I don't blame swimming. That's just stupid. I actually blame Canada.
Anyway, I found that physically, I was fine...what I was lacking: some mental acuity.
I felt absolutely dead from mile one to two on the run...and I wasn't getting mental waves of energy...the ones you ride when they come, and hope for when they are gone. On the other hand, the last three miles of the run, I probably felt the strongest I felt the entire day, which led me to believe that my nutrition was fine and my fitness is recovering...but I was having some mental issues holding me back. I need to get back to that place where I trust my mind and body again. Knowing my mind and body the way I do, though...I wouldn't trust them either. Scary, scary stuff going on in there.
Triathlon is mostly about fear management/believing in yourself. It's like this microcosm for life. Except I would like to replace swimming with the redhead from True Blood. For obvious reasons.