Am I Ready for the Triathlon? Is the Triathlon Ready for Me?

Since I’ve been back from Ohio I have basically been spending time out and about with friends (trivia night, roller derby, hanging out with That Guy, et cetera) and getting ready for the triathlon, which is taking place on June 5th. One week from tomorrow.


I am confident that I can complete the race — I now regularly swim, bike, and run distances much longer than the race distances, and I have done enough brick workouts to know I can do one sport right after the other. Finishing is my most important goal and it’s one I know I can achieve.

[78/365] The Alysa Rides Again!

On the other hand, as I mentioned on Twitter earlier today, I never set out for a bike ride without wondering if I’m going to have an accident or a flat tire. Those worries are just always on my mind. Today I went out for my last long ride before the race, down some long, lovely country roads. Aside from the occasional cement truck or other 18-wheeler (seriously, OMG, what are they doing on these roads?!), the traffic was bearable. It is hard, however, not to occasionally imagine what it would feel like to get run over by one of those massive machines. Would it all happen so fast you wouldn’t feel a thing, or would every arcing parabola of my painful flight, every crushing blow, be traced painstakingly in my cognitive experience?

But such thoughts get me nowhere.

[148/365] Handlebar Traction

The ride itself was great – I managed to pick up some speed on those long, stoplight-free roads and I loved the feel of the wind rushing past me, carrying with it the smell of country pastures (aka horse poop) and wildlife (aka decomposing armadillo carcasses). I saw a flock of buzzards slowly circling overhead as I ground slowly up a long hill out past the fish hatchery (another great smell). “They’re just here for the roadkill,” I told myself, and then happened to think, “BUT WHAT IF THAT IS ME?”


In all seriousness, though, the day was beautiful and I finished the ride feeling that I could have ridden ten more miles or — as the case will be next weekend — run three.

Back when I signed up for this race in September, I was feeling flush with self confidence. “NO BIG DEAL,” I told myself in all caps; “A TRIATHLON. THIS WILL BE EASY.” Of course, I have reevaluated that idea in the months since, during which I have realized how painfully slow I am at both biking and swimming. A couple of nights ago I looked at the race results from 2009 and figured out that with the times I predict I will race next week, if the field is close to the same as it was last year, it will be very, very likely that I will come in last.

I would like to say, of course, that just finishing will be success enough. Or, better yet, that just crossing the starting line will be success enough. I have, after all, come a long way in the last year. I have gone from someone who hadn’t run a mile in years to someone who runs 15-20 miles in a week. And of course, as they say, the person who crosses the finish line last still beats everyone else in town who stayed home that day, opting not to even cross the starting line. Right, right.

You know what, though? I do not want to finish effing last. I do not care how slow I am swimming or biking; I will chase some bitches DOWN in that 3 mile run and I will not finish last. Any chick I see with a number between 30-34 painted on her calf had better get to stepping. You heard it here.


  1. There’s no doubt in my mind that you won’t finish last. In fact, I honestly wouldn’t be surprise to see you place. You’ve worked hard, and the truth is that showing up at the starting line is far more than most people will ever do — finishing is fantastic, and doing it in a time you’re proud of is just as good as it gets.

    Re: Biking. Yeah, that’s why I don’t do it. I’m TERRIFIED of getting run over. This is why I’m worthless on the bike portion of the tri — I’ll bike in the gym and do one or two outdoor rides (on carefully planned routes that take me along sidewalks and through sleepy neighborhoods), but that’s about it. TERRIFIED. (Also, it makes my ladybits hurt.)


  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence! I guess at this point I’m as ready as I’m going to get, so I just have to go out there and do it. And not, like, forget my helmet or something.

    I’m also glad I’m not the only one with bike anxiety! I think I got spoiled living in Oregon with all the designated bike paths and lanes they have — we barely have a shoulder on the road at all here. I am trying to find my bicycle love again, though. I think finding more rural routes will help.


  3. You won’t finish last, no way. You will chase some bitches down. I have seen you.
    You will rock it.
    The competitive spirit is alive in you now, and you are a force unstoppable.
    Next weekend’s triathlon better take a step back.
    In all seriousness, stop worrying! Think positive, as you have about every other step of this process. You will run. And bike. And swim. (not in that order, I guess.) And you will be GREAT.
    This I know.


  4. Wow. Nice happy thoughts on the bike.

    So here’s the deal, I worry about all kinds of stuff when I train. I was so concerned about the open water swims in the ocean to a point that I was even having trouble sleeping. I can tell you this, when the race starts, nothing else matters except moving forward. All those thoughts go away and you focus on the task at hand.

    Have an amazing (safe) day and just know that you’ve put in the hard work and the “event” is the victory lap.

    I can’t wait to read about the tri.

    All the best,



  5. C – Thanks for the encouragement! I am not really all THAT competitive, but I will most definitely have to channel that badass spirit if I feel myself flagging.

    R – I know — my thoughts went a little dark there, but sometimes I can’t help it. Glad I’m not the only one though. I am a little nervous about the swim, but thankfully this is in a lake. I’ve swum in plenty of lakes in life — the ocean would be another story entirely! Just keep moving forward. I’ll do that!


  6. Good luck! I will be cheering you on from far, far away! I wish I could meet you at the finish line! (And drive you home, of course!)


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