Butterflies and Smiles

My favorite part of weekend rest days is actually being able to rest and sleep in. As much as my nerves have been in high gear, I still slept well. The drive to the park where the race is held is two hours, so we didn’t have to leave early. By 1:00 we were on the road and able to chat about the race and other things in our lives. But there was always the pauses – the lulls in the conversation – indications that both my friend and I are nervous about our race tomorrow. It is our first triathlon of the season. I am wondering if my swim training all winter really will make a difference, my friend is concerned about the hills on the bike course, and then there is the run and my concern about my new ankle brace working properly.

The packet pick up is held at a triathlon shop, browsing at all of the gear and clothing was a good distraction. We met up with friends of ours from the gym who are also doing the race and planned to have dinner together. After dropping our things off at the hotel we headed to what we were silently fearing all day – driving the new, hillier bike course. Not long after exiting the park the road leads down a very nice hill, one we are very familiar with because the past two years the course climbs the hill to head back in the park. The first 6 miles didn’t look as bad on the drive as it did on the hill profile map. It is definitely a net incline, but there are enough rolling hills to get momentum to climb the approaching next hill. What neither of us liked was the turn at mile six. The course has a descent down hill to a T in the road where we turn left – into a long uphill climb. That is not going to be fun. All the downhill momentum is lost with the turn and then we have to climb. After about a half mile it flattens out and is a manageable course. The route picks up around mile 9 where last year’s course went, including the uphill climb back to the park. The odd thing is it is the steepest hill on the course and the one we have ridden before, yet the new rolling hills still seem challenging. After seeing the course I am not as concerned about it as before, but I still have butterflies…

We had a very good time at dinner with our friends. The more people there are to talk with the better. We are all nervous about tomorrow and were glad to know we are not alone. The conversations helped ease the nerves for a bit. And now all that is left is to get some sleep and head to the park as the sun is rising tomorrow. There are moments when i question why i am doing this. Taking the easy way out and not participating in races really isn’t the “easy way”. It is the fearful way. Over coming fears, facing new challenges, and stretching my limits helps me increase my confidence and teaches me how to handle other challenges in life. I know I have my ideal finish time as well as my “I will be happy with…” time. I also want to be happy with the experience – regardless of time. As I am swimming, cycling, and running – I want to take in the experience while I keep repeating to myself my mantras. And cross the finish line regardless of time, with a smile from enjoy each stroke, pedal, and step of the way.

Published by elisariva

I want to encourage everyone to follow your passions, not just what is easy. It is in overcoming hurdles and barriers that we truly test our limits and abilities. There is much more we are capable of if we only believe in ourselves.

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