It's Monday morning, August 3rd. In a few hours I will pull out my debit card and set into motion another major goal for myself. About 9 months ago, I got winded as I walked up the bridge to snap some photos at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I watched as people a lot older than me and several people with severe physical handicaps raced up and down a bridge that I was laboring to walk on. It was a defining moment for me.
Two months later, I signed up to compete in my first triathlon. I gave myself about 5 months to get into better shape - knowing that I would work hard to finish and not be last. Well, I finished and I wasn't last (I really appreciate small moral victories like that!). I can honestly say that it was the toughest thing I had ever put my body through. The best part? I loved every minute of it!
Before competing in my first event, I had already signed up for my second. I wanted to be sure that triathlons wouldn't be a "one and done" thing for me. No worries about that - I loved the racing and was hooked by the end of the first race. I have now completed 4 sprint triathlons and have yet to have any major problems. To the contrary, things continue to get better and I'm having a blast.
This weekend, I ran in the Top Gun Triathlon at Fort Desoto Park. I had a great time - but was a little bummed that the swim and the bike portions of the race were a little short (1/4 mile swim and 10 mile bike). Actually, to be honest, I was bummed that the bike portion was only 10 miles. I tend to be pretty good on the bike and somewhat below average on the swim and the run. More time biking is my best hope to improve my standings at the finish! (Truthfully, more training time on swimming and running would be a better use of my time - but that's for another blog!).
I left the race thinking that it's time to try a longer distance triathlon. An Olympic distance event is about twice as long and would certainly be a bigger challenge for me (not that the sprint isn't challenging!). There are a couple of Olympics this fall, so I have time to train and hopefully the weather will be a little cooler.
But there's more . . . . My IPhone "dinged" as I was waking up this morning. While still in bed, I ran through the e-mails that had come in overnight. All of the emails were spam, except one. An email had arrived at 1:21 am, announcing that registration would be opening at noon for the Florida Ironman 70.3 race in Orlando, Florida. The race is about 10 months from now and I've decided that I'm signing up at noon!
This journey has been a great one for me. I have met such wonderful and inspiring friends and in the last 8 months have done things that I thought were well past my physical ability. Now, I'm ready to take on a bigger challenge. I think this one will be big enough to hold my attention for the next 10 months. A swim of 1.2 miles is long - but "do-able". The bike ride of 56 miles is long, but I love the bike, so I'm looking forward to that. Then the hard part . . . at least for me - hop off the bike and start the 13.1 mile run! I'm guessing that the run will be a long, slow, hot ordeal. That's fine! I'll be lighter, faster and in better shape for all of it by then.
So, today it begins. First with a couple clicks of a mouse - and then the hard part. Lots of miles, no doubt some injuries and setbacks and hopefully 285 days from now, a good finish in the biggest physical challenge of my life. My goals for the race will be just like my first sprint - Finish and don't be last!