…and the weather issues seem to be resolving.
The water is still going to be bone-chilling cold, but we drove up to Bear Lake last weekend and swam in 66 F-ish water, and with the neoprene hood (and with a lot of open water experience) I was able to stave off the terrors.
So now comes everything else.
For almost the last year I’ve been training for this, and the whole time, I’ve been getting slower. I probably traded speed for endurance up until maybe April, but then I started losing endurance, as well. No, it doesn’t make sense that somebody training that much would get into worse shape, but it is what has been happening.
However, not training, to just stop training and somehow hope that that would get me into better shape, is just plain dumb. Maybe what I’ve been doing is simply slowing what would have been a much more rapid decline in my general fitness.
At any rate, the training is just about in the books. I want to get out there and do a longer run or two, but now I’m sick. I’ve had an on-and-off sore throat all week long; today I simply feel fluey, although I have no fever. So there’s no eleventh hour redemption to be had; I’m gonna have to go into this over-trained, unready, and sick.
I suspect that, had I been able to push through the swim at St George, I would probably have been in the mid-7s, maybe 7:45. But now, at Tahoe, I hope to finish. And that’s all. I’m not even sure about “finish within the cut-offs” – confidence is low. But I suspect that I’ll be able to complete the distance.
I’m not asking “what then” yet. I’m aware that that question is out there. I have learned many things in this journey, however. One is this; I enjoy biking and swimming much more than I expected to; I thought I might learn to bike okay, and that I’d learn to not drown, but that’s not been the case. I actually enjoy both activities.
I’m not fast on a bike, but I can climb anything, it seems. When I’m in a long climb, I sort of go into a zone; if I were sitting at home feeling that uncomfortable, I’d be rebelling against my environment, but somehow being on the back of a back in that sort of pain while going uphill doesn’t bother me at all.
And while I’m one of the slowest swimmers you are liable to meet, I can swim long distances, once I get warmed up. And there is much peace for me in swimming (as long as I’m not hyperventilating from the cold) - when I get three or four thousand yards into a workout, I really don’t want to stop; I just want to keep swimming. Slow and steady and quite content.
Looking back over my running log over the last few years, it’s amazing how much I’ve slowed down. And adding triathlon training only slowed me down more. So, when this silliness in Tahoe is over, I’ll have to ask myself some pretty tough questions. Do I want to keep doing triathlons, even though it makes me even slower as a runner, because I enjoy the biking and swimming? Or should I cut my losses in terms of time and effort and go back to just running?
After Tahoe, those questions will have to be addressed. But not until then. Until then, there’s only one thing I have to answer – will I finish? Not “can I finish” or “should I finish” but WILL I FINISH?
I’ll know in ten days.