I should have plenty of new material to blither and moan about next week, as the time of reckoning is at hand: this very Sunday will see me and 450 other spandex-clad weirdos line up at the start of this year's big dance, the Welland Half Iron! It's bound to be a stacked field, as it is the 2013 Ontario Provincial Long Course Championship and a qualifier for the 2014 Long Distance World Championship.
That's right - I'm going to be waaaaaaaay out of my league.
At least I have no illusions about placing well - I'm only racing myself and the clock, and trying to enjoy the experience along the way. I went 6:25:56 on the same course in 2011 with a sacroiliac joint injury that made the bike portion an absolute torturefest; each turn of the crank was like a knife stabbing me in the lower back. This has got to be better than that, right?
Of course, there is the minor detail that I've put in less than 150km on my tri bike this year, and my cycle training overall has been a bit lacking in the last couple of months. I put together a decent block recently, culminating in the 100k Tour de Grand two weeks prior to race day, but I have no illusions about feeling great when I step off the bike on Sunday. My only hope will be to take it conservatively to save my legs for the run, since I know I'm in pretty decent shape to cover 21.1km.
Really, I need to let go of all the worries. I'm not quite at the weight I'd have liked to be, but I'm within a pound or so and that's a lot better than I could say at the beginning of June. I actually went for a run through Preston on Tuesday night in the outfit pictured above, which tells me I'm pretty comfortable with where I am right now - it's a bit of a leap of faith for me to bare my midriff when running through town, but fortunately no negative comments received. Body composition is ok. Swimming is the best it's ever been. Running is in good shape. I've been quite disciplined about tapering. The bike? Well, it's a (mostly) flat course so all I really have to do is keep turning pedals and admire the pretty scenery, while saying a small prayer that my neck holds out.
|And that I don't melt.|
While it would definitely be nice to improve on my 2011 time, moving myself through a 2km swim, 90k bike and 21.1km run is enough of a challenge even without a clock involved, especially with the predictions of high heat and humidity for race day - I'm still too gravitationally challenged to perform well in hot weather, and I've had no real chance to acclimatize as it hasn't felt much like summer yet. Whether or not I'm able to PR it isn't the point, though - the privilege of pushing my body for 6+ hours over 113km (70.3 miles), being surrounded by like-minded athletes and wonderful volunteers, the views of water lilies in the old canal and Lake Erie's shores on the bike, the smiles and high fives on the run course; those are what I'll truly take away from this event.
And then I'll go jump in the canal before eating everything in sight.
|"Just deliver the pizza here"|
See you at the finish line!