When I started blogging about my triathlon journey--back in October 2008--I never thought this week would actually come. With only 5 days to go, I'm looking forward to putting myself to the test: can I really do this? I'm so excited and even though there are still a million things running through my mind about what to do and what not to do, I'm glad this week is finally here.
This weekend we had our Team in Training 'Send Off' event--we received our team gear to wear on race day (see pic below), went over the weekend agenda, and listened to last minute advice and tips from our coaches. To say I've been feeling overwhelmed about everything I've been through the past five months would be an understatement. But honestly, I don't know how I would have gotten through all the training necessary if it wasn't for the Team in Training organization and the coaches and mentors that were always there to answer my questions, ease my worries, and calm me down when I was freaking out (which happened more times than expected). I'm still not sure I've got it all figured out or know what I'm doing, but since this is my first time, I'm just going to have to wing it, learn as I go, and fix my mistakes for the next time.
The one thing I'm getting ready for is keeping fueled up during the race. This is something that the coaches have drilled into our heads, because if I don't stay hydrated and eat during each leg of the race, I really won't make it through. (Crawling across the finish line isn't an option, like I had mentioned days ago. You'll be disqualified if you don't finish the race properly, so no matter how tired or in pain I am, I have to do things right to get to the end.) The easiest way to do this is eat while I'm on my bike by snacking on PowerBar Gel Blasts and Luna Moons (think of Gummy Bears, but filled with tons of nutrients). I'll keep these stashed in my bike's lunchbox on my handlebars, so I'm constantly refueling my body with protein, carbohydrates, and calories when I feel like I need a little push during a 3+ hour race. (Otherwise, my body will eat away at all the energy I've stored up and I'll feel weak or cramp up.)
The good part about all this training (besides feeling like I'm in the best shape I've ever been) is that I've raised over $2,700 for leukemia and lymphoma diseases--and the New York City chapter of TNT has raised over $1 million!! There's nothing better than knowing this money is going to help the lives of so people afflicted with cancer--especially close friends of mine who I'm honoring on race day. I also feel so much better about myself now, and I'm enjoying this new lifestyle. Getting up at 7 a.m. on weekends actually isn't so bad after all--the city is quiet and I love working out then and having the rest of the day ahead of me. (It also beats sleeping until noon and waking up with a hangover.) My motivation to work out has a new direction too. Going to the gym can be the same-old, same-old--however, competing in races gets you excited to be exercising. I hope to do more races every year; some of my friends and I are already planning to compete in a duathlon in October (this is a run-bike-run and usually varies in distance) and my coworkers and I are joining the Road Runners Club so we can do 5K and 10K races once a month.
My last practice in Central Park is tonight and I've got something special planned for the team (I'll let you know about it later in the week)--my older brother is flying in from Arizona tomorrow too. I've got a big week ahead of me and I can't wait to get started.