So I’m starting to freak the sh-t out about this ironman 70.3 triathlon thing that I signed up for and have been kind of sort of training for: 2 km swim, 94 km bike (because Ironman 70.3 Muskoka thought it would be fun to add an extra 4km to the bike) followed by a half marathon 21.1 km run. Ummmm… yeah. What the —- was I thinking?!? I figured I’d sign up for this race, get injured badly while training and not have to do the race. I honestly thought that I’d train myself into some sort of walking cast or need surgery to repair some sort of torn ligament so that I would have a built-in excuse for backing out of the race. I’m less than three weeks away and unfortunately (fortunately?) that has not yet happened, which means I need to start thinking about race logistics, something that never even crossed my mind until this week.
Here are the 10 fears about this race keeping me up at night:
- What will I wear to swim in?!? I don’t own a wetsuit because I’m not a great freestyle swimmer – my breaststroke is faster than my freestyle, but it’s next to impossible to do the breaststroke in a wetsuit (trust me I’ve tried). A wetsuit makes your legs too bouyant to get a good whip kick done under the water so you end up using more energy to pull your legs down under the water. I think I need a sleeveless, shortleg wetsuit because I’m petrified that after the cold winter we’ve had, the glacial lake the race is in will be way too freaking cold to swim in without one. I’m scared that wetsuits will be manadatory based on the water temperature (does that happen???), and if that does happens I’ll be SOL, so now I’m bugging everyone to borrow one. Understandably due to cost, people are hesitant to lend them.
- What stroke will I swim? As I shared above, my freestyle is horrendous. I’ve begun actually practicing doing freestyle for as long as I can with a short breaststroke “recovery” in order to prepare for having to do freestyle in a wetsuit. I can now do freestyle repeats for 7 min with a 1 min recovery for 35 min. Perhaps longer in a race situation… we shall see come race day. Breaststroke on the otherhand is a stroke I can do all day long if I had to.
- What will I wear for the rest of the race/under the wetsuit? (Provided I end up getting my hands on a wetsuit). I have a one-piece trisuit which is great for shorter distance triathlons (ones where I won’t need to stop for a bathroom break), but getting it on and off is a workout in itself. I honestly have no idea what to wear.
- What happens if I get a flat tire? I don’t own a pump, or a spare tube and have never changed a flat before. I have no idea what to do if I get a flat. In the past my plan was to just sit down on the side of the road and cry until someone came to rescue me. I once had to walk 8 km home with my bike because there was no one around to get me (this was like 12 years ago before cell phones were popular). I may have to visit my LBS to figure out what tools/supplies I need to fake my way through changing a flat. Usually when I pump a tire I take more air out than I put in, so this also worries me.
- What should I eat/drink during the race? Aka How do I keep from bonking? No amount of training will help if I fail to properly fuel during the race but I have never done a triathlon long enough to warrant a fuelling strategy other than just water. Do I eat a small snacks in transition, then carry a sports drink on the bike run? How much should I drink? How often? Sports drink only or sports drink and water? Shotbloks during the bike? Protein bars? I have no clue other than knowing I need to set an alarm for every 20 min to remind me to refuel.
- How do I know if I’m drafting? Getting a penalty for drafting freaks me right out. I cannot judge bike lengths – do I watch a bike ahead of me cross a crack in the road then count like 5 seconds until I cross it? How do I know if I’m too close?
- Does my bike need a tune up before the race? I can’t shift to some of my gears smoothly – does this mean I need a tune up? What maintenance should I do on my bike before I race?
- Water stops on the bike – can I exchange my bottles for full ones? Do I stop and fill my bottles? How does this work?
- How much walking can I reasonably expect to do during the “run”? Do I start the run with a good 1 km walk to recover from the bike, then run? I’ve never run a half marathon in the mid-day heat of July – this running thing could get interesting.
- How early should I plan on arriving to the start of the race? Will I get caught in traffic on my way to the parking/shuttle bus? Will there be enough space in the parking lot for me?
- Where will I stay the night before the race? My awesome hubby decided last night that camping out in my van in the shuttle parking lot was not a safe plan so he booked my best running friend and I a hotel near the race so she can be my awesome Sherpa. I can now remove this fear from my list, yay!
As you can tell I’m the queen of signing up for things and not really thinking ahead about how the race will go down until I actually get there. I am not the least bit scared of my ability to complete the distances, but the logistics part completely has me freaked out, which is funny because in a much shorter race I don’t even think of these things, and perhaps I’m WAY overthinking because I am NERVOUS. Hopefully this stuff won’t keep me up at night for the entire next 2.5 weeks…