Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Seattle Danskin Triathlon, seven weeks out: fear, doubt, and determination

Last August, as I stood at the finish line of the Seattle Danskin Triathlon awaiting my sister-in-law’s appearance, my healing ankle still in an air boot, I silently promised myself that in one year’s time, I’d be crossing the same finish line. 

In November I made that promise public when I signed up for this years event.  Then I signed up for a (less than inspiring) 6-week stint with a personal trainer and I later embarked upon at-least-once-weekly walks around Green Lake with Elisabeth.

Then, a month ago, I got sick and everything stopped abruptly.  It was a few weeks before I could sufficiently huff and puff again (because I am not, after all, your svelte and fit traithlete; my goal for the race is simply to finish sometime on the same day that I begin), and now I’m just… well – terrified.

I’m terrified at the commitment I’ve made, but know that I have no choice but to follow through with it.  I’d disappoint too many people (and certainly myself) if I gave up now.  So I trudge ahead, completely insecure about my training, my abilities, and even, at moments, my commitment.

This morning I awoke at 4:30, realizing that the race – or rather, the event, as I prefer to call it -- is 7 short weeks away and I am nowhere near ready.  I panicked, packed up my gym bag, and headed to the gym, where I rode 5 miles on the stationary bike and then swam a half mile… which was surprisingly easy once I hit a smooth, relaxed cadence.

Then I headed home to work all day and at 5:30 PM on this gloriously warm, clear, beautiful day, Tom (who caught my bad cold, or he would have gone with me) drove me to the Sammamish River Trail in Woodinville and off I headed southward on my new bike. 

Of course I had to stop a few times to snap some photos!


Yes, that’s Mt Rainier in the distance.

IMG_4988 IMG_4989 IMG_4981 

Yes, that’s Redhook Brewery.  (I would have loved a beer right about then!)

IMG_4986 IMG_4987

Seven miles and less than an hour later, we met at the REI in Redmond, where I bought some essential biking gear (like pants with butt pads!) and a tire pump.

(Speaking of the tire pump, Peter, aka Mr. REI Bike Fix-It Guy, insisted that I learn to change a flat tire on my new bike, so he gave me a private in-the-kitchen flat-tire-repair workshop this evening.  The guy should really become a teacher!  He is GOOD!)

So I’m still scared of this upcoming triathlon because I have never done anything like this, ever.  Even in high school I was only athletic enough to be a cheerleader, but never athletic enough to actually compete in real sports.  This, at the age of 53 and at nowhere close to “great shape” is as close as I’ve ever come to participating in a real “athletic event” and I swear, it’s the only time in my life I’ll ever be referred to as an “athlete.”  (Because that’s what they call all participants!)

Yes, I know it’s only a half mile of swimming (in a cold, choppy lake) and an “easy” 12 mile bike ride, followed by a relatively short 3 mile run/walk.  But for some of us, that’s enough to keep us up at night, wondering if we can really, truly DO IT.

We can.

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Margaret said...

You CAN and you WILL!! You are determined and that's the key. Happy Training!!

Tonya said...

Yikes! You've got me all nervous right along with you. I know I'd be a wreck. Something tells me you WILL do it!

Maria said...

You can and will do it!!! I'm training for my first half marathon this fall, and even though I run fairly frequently, I am also struggling with fear and doubt, but I am determined as can be to finish this thing!

go get it Carol!

Goofball said...

you'll make it!

Lovely scenery to bike in

Snooker said...

You're a LADYBUG! In my experience they are the most obstinate of creatures. Put something in their path, they go over it. Close a window in the cool fall, and they find a way in.
Remember that for you, right now, the object is to finish. That isn't sooo very hard to do. Train for it as much as you feel you can and get philosophical. The idea is to finish for your own personal pat on the back. Trust me, it will be worth it.
As we say in Germany, "Toi, toi, toi" ... like spitting away bad luck.

Carol said...

Thanks for your encouragement, everyone!! I really appreciate it! Snooker, I DO plan to make myself a "ladybug" shirt... maybe I'll put your words of wisdom on it!


c said...

It'll be a great day and you'll do fine and it's great that you have this kick-butt motivation to exercise for the next 7 weeks! The Ladybug shirt sounds like a great idea. The determined ladybug finishes the race!

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