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.
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.
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.