T and I are both registered for the Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon, which takes place on July 11th. We're both pretty excited to finally get our multi-sport season underway.
It's kind of interesting for me to sit here and reflect on where I am this year as to where I was last year with my triathlon. Last year, I took the plunge into the triathlon world, completing the My Way or the Tri Way triathlon. I finished in 2:10:56. Certainly not a finishing time to boast about, but whatever, it was my first tri, right? No biggie. I can puff my chest out and say "I'm a triathlete!" I can look down my nose at people and proclaim that I am better then them, simply because I completed a triathlon.
I review my training logs from last year, and my training was, for lack of a better word, pathetic. I'm not going to share my numbers, because quite frankly, I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed that I let my training go that poorly. I'm embarrassed that I was forced to will my way through that triathlon. I wasn't ready for it. I was simply approaching it as another box to check. Just like the people I have lamented about on this blog. I was one of them.
I've always been interested in the sport of triathlon. It's something I've been fascinated with for years, even though I never ever thought I would do one. Yet the tug of the sport, my (somewhat) athletic ability, and dating T led to the desire to finally complete one. For me, it was a chance to prove to myself I had chased away the fat kid and to embark upon a new challenge.
When I signed up last year for the tri, I had all the intentions of training hard and showing up ready to race. And I think there were some moments that showed that. I did a lot of running in May '09, completed some difficult cycling, and hit the open water once. But there were too many moments of slacking. Too many moments of "oh, I'll do it later." I paid for it the day of the tri. Darly. I wasn't physically ready to race. Mentally, yes. But physically, I was nowhere close. And as I said, I paid for it with my pride.
Now, there are a lot of people who say that if you finish, it's a victory. I believe that to an extent. Yes, finishing a triathlon is an accomplishment, regardless of distance. But as I like to say to them, I did what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to finish! I was supposed to cross the finish line! Finishing was never in doubt! That's what to me was so frustrating.
This year, I approached training with a different mentality. The fear and excitement of doing my first tri was gone. I've been there before. Just finishing to me is not acceptable. No more. Now, it's time to step it up. It's time to finish respectably. I was riding down the C-470 trail this morning and I was thinking of what I would teach a friend of mine who wants to do his first tri this fall. I The first thing I would teach him is energy management, but that's a post for another day. The next thing I would teach him, and more importantly, is respect for the race. Respect for the course. Respect for the sport of triathlon. Triathlon was created not to be easy. It is not meant to be something that everyone can do. Training should reflect that. And to train the way you should, you need to respect the sport.
I learned that the hard way last year.