The Beach 2 Battleship Full and Half Iron Distance Triathlon in Wilmington, NC, is on Saturday. I’m lucky enough to be racing the 1/2 marathon part of the triathlon relay as the runner for the Hells Belles team, consisting of my sister, Randee The Swimmer, and a friend, Wendy The Biker, and me, Kelli The Runner.
This is the first time I’ve really raced in several months. Sure, I did the 15k a month ago, but that pretty much served to shake the race dust off my legs. This race is bigger. Much bigger. I’m pretty nervous about it for a few reasons.
1) It’s a relay, so I want to do my best, not only for me, but for my Hells Belles,
2) It’s a relay so I really don’t know when my start time will be,
3) I can’t use my iPod (Ahhhhhhh, Noooooooo!!!),
4) I will start my leg of the relay after noon so will be new for nutrition and I’ve never raced after 9 am, and
4) I’m not physically ready since I’ve had to take so much time off running.
I think that’s one of the most frustrating parts is that I had a PR goal for this race, the weather appears that it will cooperate, and I’m just not going to be able to rise to that PR challenge. Races certainly won’t go away, so I’ll get to that some other time. But I’ll be damned if I go one second slower than what I can.
Our team is ready too. Wendy The Biker has a bike named “Stella”, so I’ll be calling her in when they get to our exchange point. I can’t help it.
Anyone who’s seen Seinfeld can relate to me on that one.
The one thing that I have going for me is that I’m mentally ready. I’ve got this. My mantra for the week is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to hurt, and I simply will NOT take it easy. I normally visualize before just marathons, but I’m already getting into that mode for this half marathon, which I’ve never done before. I have a plan of action, and it will require me to be patient with my pace (which I’ve had trouble with in the past), and it will require me to just get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I haven’t run more than 9.3 miles this training cycle, so my body will be telling me to slow the hell down, but I know that
Hells to the no, I will NOT slow down! It’s time to get going, to push myself really hard, which I rarely do. Sure I have before, many times actually, but part of it is to prove to myself that I can indeed push past the limit that I normally do. So many of the other athletes will be doing just that on Saturday, so I may as well join in and do it too. No one is jumping off bridges (docks don’t count), so I’m good. Pushing myself is not to be confused with being a total train wreck either, and de-railing at mile ten. That’s not my intention. My intention is to race smart.
It will be difficult for me to run without music, as I will actually go faster when one of my “pump it up” songs comes on. For any race, I have the playlist choreographed so my favorite race songs come on at just the right times. It may seem silly, but music DOES make a difference to me. I decided that I’m going to just have to block everything out except for the crowds and run like
It will be a new experience for my team, and I don’t think any one of us has lost sight on one of the most important parts of racing either: Having Fun. What’s the point of it if you make it all about PR’s and making your times and zoning, but you leave out the part that probably got you starting racing in the first place? I will say “thank you” to volunteers, I will sing along to any music I can hear, I will take in the sights, I will read the signs that spectators hold and mock the ones I don’t like, and I will high-five those little hands that reach up to mine. I’m really looking forward to seeing my running group teammates finish the half iron distance and the others finish the full iron distance. I see the half in my future for next year. It’s scary, but I think I’m just crazy enough to take it on.
So to all of you who are racing this weekend, good luck, do your best, and don’t forget to have fun!!