Saturday, July 10, 2010

T(ri) Minus 2

Well, it's really almost here. A little more than two weeks away.

The last two weeks were tough ones for training. A 40 year old man died in the swim phase of his first sprint tri in Philly in one of the triathlons I had considered entering. This happened about a week after my first attempt at open water swimming during which I had a mild panic attack.

This event also converged with a week of summer vacation and the change from the predictable (if hectic) schedule of elementary school to a week of no work, no school and full-time playing with the kid. And we had a terrible heat wave, days up to 105 degrees. Needless to say, my regimen took a small beating.

I still managed to work out a few times but this week is the first time I'm back into the full demands of the training plan. So, back to the drowning. I scoured the details of the story as it unfolded, looking for some detail I could point to and say AHA! You see, that can't happen to me. As it was, the gentleman was younger than I am and thinner - which may not have meant more fit. I began to wonder if I should really be doing this as a single mom. I even had one well-meaning friend suggest I drop out.

As is typical for us Americans, after a few days I wasn't as concerned. I rationalized that I stood a greater chance of being killed in a car accident on my way TO the event than dying during the swim. And my swim is in a lake, not a moving river (which was, by the way, listed as code red the day before his triathlon). After much more encouragement from friends and family I calmed down and got back into my routine. The other day I swam 2000 yards in the pool (4 times what I'll have to do in the lake) and still felt great. It was the first time I actually started looking forward to the race. I have spent the past few days visualizing myself in each phase of the race, especially exiting the water.

I spent an afternoon at a lake just playing in the water. I didn't get out over my head but I just let myself have fun in the murk. Tomorrow I am heading to another lake in the hopes of getting some deep water swimming in. That is proving more difficult in this area than I thought but I think I can make it happen.

So here begins the countdown. The workouts are getting less strenuous as I enter the tapering off phase of training. I am not doing any weight training until after the race and I am not letting myself imagine any more tragedies. I've worked too hard for too long for this and I'm ready to face the challenge so I can smugly say on the following Monday: "Oh, my weekend? I did a triathlon. Oh, it was just a sprint distance, nothing much...."

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