I spent a lot of time feeling very nervous and unsure in the lead up to the baby Bribie Island Triathlon (see here, for example) and I have an inkling that things will go down in a similar fashion when we get close to the Straddie Salute Triathlon 2016. The nerves, as you know, are already kicking in.
And when writing a blog, you write about your feelings (may explain why I seem to have more female readers than male, because FEELINGS are generally terrifying for the male population) which means that, the closer we get, the more likely this blog will reflect my feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Sorry about that.
So as I walked Matilda the dog this morning and said to myself ‘I just can’t wait for the Straddie Salute to be here!’ I decided I should make some effort to blog about these moments of extreme excitement. You know: share the good feelings as well as the ‘bad’ feelings. Just in case some of you were starting to get the impression that this triathlon gig is all about stress, fear and nervous poops.
SPOILER ALERT: It’s only partly about those things!
Because really, I wish I could do the race tomorrow. I am so looking forward to getting out there and having another go, which may surprise you if you’ve read any other post on this blog (as they clearly indicate I am a reluctant runner, mediocre cyclist and very slow swimmer and should logically be dreading any event that entails doing those things)
So what’s the deal? What is there to look forward to about doing a race? For what possible reason might you want to sign up for a race, too?
Firstly, of course, I’m looking forward to a mini holiday. Four days on the second largest sand island in the world would surely get anyone excited – and I’ve never been over there before either (you can read actual information about the Island here or here) so it will all be new and interesting. My research tells me there is a fantastic gelato shop and the local pub has cold beer, so my stomach is going to be happy. We will be able to visit some of the beautiful lakes, beaches and wetlands so my eyes should also be delighted.
I’m lucky that Australia is a beautiful country, but even after ten years of living here there is so much more to see, right on my doorstep. I tend to think that organised events bring out the community spirit of a place very energetically and when you travel, that’s what you want to experience isn’t it? The local people putting on their show. So the Straddie Salute will be the perfect opportunity to see the Island at its best.
But apart from the holiday side of things, I am itching to put my training into use. Although it is somewhat scary, the culmination of all the work I’ve been putting in will be thrilling. I can’t wait to start mentally preparing myself by running through the course in my head and visualising my finish line. There will be sleepless nights, I know. Adrenaline will pump uncontrollably through my body and even though I will try to go about normal life, everything I say and do will be about the race. And I can’t wait for that obsession.
SIDENOTE: I’m thinking this triathlon finish line might call for a fist pump? Please feel free to leave your thoughts on this below as you wish.
I’m looking forward to everything getting official – no more winging it, changing things around to meet life’s requirements. Life will have to be planned and moved around to meet the race’s requirements, and there’s something nice about that kind of absurd re-positioning of your priorities, when it’s temporary. I look forward to laying out the gear I will need to pack, making lists of the food I’ll need to buy and take with us. I am looking forward to that feeling that everything is ticked off and ready.
The other thing about getting to do an actual race of course, is being surrounded by other athletes. There are a few celebrities and big sporting names (big in the world of Australian triathlon, anyway) doing the 2016 Straddie Salute and it will be the first time I’ve knowingly been in the same town as triathlon champions. I guess it’s a bit like knowing you’re going to the set of your favourite TV show, or attending a book signing by your favourite author. I will be in the presence of greatness, which is exciting.
Of course, there will be plenty of average Joes out there too, and that will be almost as wonderful as seeing the supreme athleticism of the professionals in attendance. At Bribie it was inspiring and very humbling to see the myriad of other people lining up next to me, to take on the crazy silly challenge we had all signed up for. It will be just as inspiring, no doubt, to see the eclectic mix at Straddie. It is a reminder that anyone can do this sport, and not to judge anyone’s ability based on what they look like – including my/your own ability for that matter! I will no doubt find myself wondering what spurred my comrades on, what their story is, what obstacles they overcame to get there. I will probably get tears in my eyes knowing that we’ve all beaten the DNS.
I’m looking forward to that feeling of humility and smallness as I stand on the start line and know that the massive challenge ahead is mine alone, and it matters to nobody else, even though it will feel for all the world like the most important thing. Everything else will pale into insignificance as I stare out to the ocean and know that I am jumping in there for a race – and possibly a punch-on with some of those other competitors I previously felt so aligned to.
The increasing feelings of nervousness and being on edge and freaking out about the race will finally reach their pinnacle… And to be honest, even though I complain about it and will blog about it negatively, maybe those feelings are also what I’m looking forward to. That nauseating awareness that I’m doing something risky, something which frightens me to my very core and can barely explain in words. Yes, I look forward to that. Because when I feel that, and move forward towards my goal regardless, I will know that I am strong.
I am looking forward to the added credibility this race will bring. I find myself thinking that after Straddie, I’ll be more like a real triathlete. I am anxiously waiting to be able to say ‘I’ve done two triathlons’ and for one of them to be less of a baby size. Hopefully I will learn a lot from this second test of my newly-developed power, and I am looking forward to those lessons as well, because that was really the motive for signing up in the first place.
From a more practical perspective, I can’t wait to get my race number and have it tattooed on my arm, like a badge that announces ‘I TRI’ with irrefutable force. It will be great to wear my new tri suit on its first official outing. I am excited simply to see the photos. And it will be wonderful to be able to say the words ‘I did it’.
And let’s be honest, when I can say ‘I did it’ I’ll be a step closer to the nemesis that is Noosa. My ‘A’ race for the year will be in focus, on the horizon. That is something I’m excited about, too.
I guess overall, the extreme excitement I’m feeling is mostly just about having the chance to be a triathlete again.