Waking up at 4:32 in the morning is never something I have planned. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find me waking up before 5am – ever. Unless I’m taking a family member or a good friend to the airport, I’m not doing it.
This past Sunday was an exception. Not only was I expecting it, I was looking forward to it. I had a gear bag packed with swimming goggles, a towel, a bike helmet, water bottles and directions to my first triathlon…!…You read that right…
A triathlon…a real triathlon…no, not an ironman, but a legitimate triathlon sanctioned by the USAT and full of eager spectators, supporters and seasoned athletes. A triathlon that I was going to participate in as an ‘athlete’ … yep…!
After months of preparation and training, I was both nervous and excited.
What was I thinking?!…I’m in over my head…!…I need to put in more swimming time…!….relax, it’s your race – it’s just you out there…you’re not racing for a specific time…!…I haven’t done nearly enough hills! …I need to hydrate more…!…what am I doing…?!…why…!?…breathe, Nars…just breathe…!
And then, before I knew it… it all began.
Endurance had an entirely new level of meaning to me. This is a freakin’ triathlon! Even though I had drills, regimens and plans that I worked on, it was still quite hard – physically and mentally.
I’ll even go so far as to say that it was a harder ‘mental game’ for me. Even though I put in some hours with my training, I was overwhelmed with a sensation that I don’t often experience (truly).
I was intimidated.
There were some stellar athletes there with incredible form and countless hours & races they had up on me. I showed up with a fresh out-of-the-box helmet and a rented (and quite nice) bike. But I remembered the advice of a good buddy a mine who’s a former marine (although they’d say there’s no such thing) – he said it came from some sort of British saying: “Stay Calm and Carry On.”
And that’s just what I did…
- as I was killing myself in the pool
- when I was grinding my way up those hills
- and even after I saw a 60+ year-old athlete pass me by (this guy was in incredible shape – a true inspiration)
I stayed calm and carried on.
I’m glad I did. Cause even though it wasn’t a ‘pretty’ race for me, I can say three big things:
- I finished the race
- I fully intend on getting a BETTER time in my next race
- I can now say that I am a triathlete – a rookie, but a triathlete nonetheless
Just need to stay calm and carry on.