Apparently, I'm racing Chattanooga 70.3 this Sunday. Sorry, I have to repeat that because I'm too busy laughing to actually comprehend what I just wrote. I'm racing Chattanooga 70.3 this Sunday. THIS Sunday. I'm so deep down into denial that I just can't believe it.
It wasn't always like this. No, months ago when this race was first announced, I was all "YEAH! This is GREAT! I'm going to CRUSH this thing!" I was really excited and it was going to be my A triathlon of the season. Many of my friends were doing it, plus, I was still riding on my post-Ironman rush and I felt like anything was possible. Silly, silly me.
By now, but you've probably figured out that my training for Chatty 70.3 hasn't been ideal. Everything that didn't go wrong in my IMCHOO training, has gone wrong with this race. I tried to train, but life has just gotten in the way too often and my workouts were either not the priority or flat-out impossible to do. My training woes started with the Great Nashville Ice Storm of 2015, when I couldn't swim or run for two weeks, continued through both of my parents having major health scares (they're doing fine now, thankfully) and ended with a bout of allergy-induced bronchitis. My coach even joked about how my e-mails to him were like Mad Libs because they all basically said the same thing, but with different details:
"Dear Coach Andrew,
Today, I can not complete my _____________ workout because _____________. Hopefully, I'll get back on track next week."
With every event, I thought "I'm OK. I have time to make up this training." But every week brought new challenges and little-by-little my focus on this race diminished. (Well, I say little-by-little, but honestly, when you get a call saying that one of your parents is in the hospital, you don't really care about training anymore AT ALL.) And now, I'm officially out of time. The race is this weekend. Chattanooga 70.3 has morphed from my A race to a "just do anything you can to get through this thing."
I seriously contemplated dropping out several times, most recently two weeks ago. The stress of this past Spring has just left me exhausted and, honestly, not caring about the race. Which is a hard thing to admit because I really wanted to do well, at first. I have a competitive personality and it's difficult to go into something when you know you're not prepared mentally or physically. Pretty much the only reason I didn't drop out is because one of my FTP teammates, Jan, broke her arm recently and I realized how lucky I am just to be able to race. Sure, I'm not as fit or fast as I could be, but I'm healthy and I should be grateful about that.
So, I will be in Chattanooga on Sunday. Here is my race plan - I'm not going to worry about my time - I'm just going to have fun. Well, as much fun as you can have while traveling 70.3 miles under your own power. But, I'm not going to obsess about the course, or the weather or the other minutia that triathletes stress about before a race. I'm going to go and soak up all of the awesomeness that surrounds a triathlon, especially a big one like this one will be. I'm going to buy a few pieces of overpriced race swag and not feel guilty about it. And most importantly, I'm just going to take the race mile-by-mile and finish smiling. Which, really, is all I should ever want out of any race. I'll let you know how it goes.