Thursday, July 9, 2009

And we're off!

Last year, for my very first triathlon, I chose Danskin. Excellent estrogen-centric race -- there are women called Swim Angels that swim alongside you with noodles (the foam rollers, not the food), and there's much discussion and celebration of Girl Power. Danskin has traditionally been held in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin, during the second weekend in July. This year, Danskin has been scheduled for the end of September; in its place is the Trek triathlon -- also women centric, and run by the same race organization team that ran Danskin for years (props to Maggie Sullivan and Sally Edwards here).

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie and Sally at a little event at the Trek store here in Chicago, when they did a little meet and greet to promote their new event. I went with buddy Carrie, (shown here before one of her legs in the MC200 last year) and we had a grand time. In fact, at the end of the event, Carrie decided to make Trek her first triathlon, and I decided to sign up for the race as well.

That means that my first triathlon of the season, Bigfoot (Sprint distance on July 28) would be followed by Trek (another Sprint distance July 12) which would be followed by Steelhead (1/2 Iron on August 1 -- can you feel the butterflies in my stomach from there?).

After Bigfoot, and the BigWind that went with Bigfoot, I had second, and third, thoughts about whether doing two sprints so close to each other -- and so close to Steelhead -- were a good idea. I started to get a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach -- a sort of refrain of self-doubt, that asked (again and again) what would I do at Steelhead if there was Real Wind, like the wind at Bigfoot? Would I be prepared to handle it? Could I tackle the hills and Wind on my spiffy but still-low-mileage (but climbing) powder-blue-bike?

I began to really stress over this question -- particularly because I couldn't do much about it. I was signed up for Trek, after all, and Carrie was as well. I'd paid my money, I'd secured a hotel -- and I had a friend relying upon me to be there with her and for her. Full stop. So, I tried to settle myself, told myself that I had put in the time, I could gut it through a rough swim, a Windy bike, and a hilly run. I'd be fine. Still, gnawing in the tummy. Gnawing, gnawing.

Then, during a run together (Carrie and I run amazingly well together -- it's honestly fantastic; our cadence and our leg strides match exactly, and there's this easy, musical rhythm that's just like ... magic), Carrie reminded me that her friend Hilary was going to do the race with her, too. And then it all started to come into place. Here was Carrie -- an amazing runner, and former high school swimmer, who had gotten a road bike and was already pumping out serious mileage. And she was Just Fine on her own. She would certainly have fun at Trek -- with me, or without me, and didn't need me to babysit her. Now that I knew she would have someone to travel with, and to hang out with before the race, my mind was nearly made up. I know that I'm important to my friends, but let's face it -- Carrie wasn't going to cry if I didn't come because i needed to train for a 1/2 Iron.
And then, I found out that Wellfit's sponsoring a supported ride of the Steelhead bike course this weekend. That basically solidified it. And so, one morning on a run with Carrie, I mentioned it. Without hesitation, she encouraged me to do the supported ride. She's a cool chick, that Carrie. And she's going to mop up the competition tomorrow.
And so, here I am -- the day before Trek, when I'm sure many women feel exactly like I did last year -- nervous, and excited, and ready to test their training. And I feel that way too, a little -- but because I'm going to ride the Steelhead bike course (which I've now realized is less challenging than the course that we do every Sunday). I'll be going with the Slow Group, which I want to rename the Party Crowd, because we'll be going slow enough to chat and generally enjoy ourselves. ;) SJV will, of course, be going with the Fast Group...
So off we go (soon) to St. Joseph. I'll give you all an update of what we did, and the adventures I'm sure we'll have, come Sunday night. Wish me luck!
Happy trails,

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Idgy the Cat

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