Sunday, June 15, 2008

Race Report: Blue Lake Olympic-Distance Triathlon
Why in the name of Geebzus H. Crisco Oil did I sign up for Ironman? One week out, nothing about the experience is striking me as fun. I'm under-trained and over-worried. I'm consumed by dread. Every once in a while, the idea of just not doing it flickers in my mind, extinguished only by the fact that however bad the race might end up being, living a lifetime knowing I wimped out would be far worse.

Sure, if I'd put half the energy into training for it that I'm devoting to obsessing about it, yeah, then maybe I'd be fired up and ready to go. Alas, didn't happen. Didn't commit myself completely to a better diet. Didn't start swimming until March. Didn't get on The New Bike until May (and didn't get on The Old Bike nearly often enough in the months before then). OK, no regrets on the run part, although I suppose some would say doing Boston for a PR in late-April was less than wise. But at least, for the run, I put in the work.

I'll tell you what really has me wondering about taking on this challenge: Today's Olympic-distance race at Blue Lake. I signed up for Blue Lake because it's less than a half-hour from home and because I hadn't done a triathlon since last September. I figured I needed a taste of race atmosphere before CDA. And that I got, but mostly what struck me today – and what leads me to wonder about the point of doing Ironman – was how much fun it was to race short.

Swim 1.5 kilometers, ride 40K, then wrap it up with a 10K run. The segments are just long enough to provide a good workout, but you don't have to worry about all the stuff that plagues the mind in Ironman (in the Ironman I'm imagining). You don't have to worry about your calf cramping up during a 2.4-mile swim, or getting enough hydration and calories during the 112-mile bike ride, or any of the million things that can go wrong on a marathon that follows seven or eight hours of racing hard. With an Oly, you get out and go and enjoy the swimming, biking and running. It occurs to you – it occurred to me today – that these are activities you love to do. How about that.

Of course, my Ironman obsessing over the recent days and week had left no room to worry about Blue Lake – and maybe that was a factor in how much fun the race was. Maybe it wasn't so much the distance, as the attitude.

And maybe that's something to think about over the next several days.

Today's unofficial data (from my watch):
Swim...31:36 (2:07/100 meters)
T1.......5:16 (long run to bike, long run out of transition)
Bike.....1:07:22 (22.1 mph)
Run.....45:40 (7:21/mile)


The Grand Master Crackhead said...

Nice work on the Oly!

And didn't anyone tell you that obsessing is required by anyone training for Ironman?

I know you saw my post about how much time you spend doing it...

One of the reasons to do Ironman in the first place is that it makes everything else seem easy. Nothing wrong with that!

Pete said...

It's going to be an adventure, one way or another, that's for sure. Truth is, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration!