when you are ready? After all of the training and hours spent preparing for a single event.....how do you know you are ready.
First we look at our training logs.......
- Swimming....drills, intervals, yardage back and forth in the pool, open water swims wearing a wetsuit.
- Biking....seemingly endless miles, for hours are a time, climbing hills, eating gu's and drinking "calories", feeling your toes, ass and crotch grow numb, riding indoor during the cold early season days.
- Running....in rain and snow and heat, 6 miles here......14 miles there, off the bike, up the hill, on trails and streets and treadmills, buying new shoes at the same time as getting an oil change (3 months or 3000/300 miles), chafing, blisters, black toenails, tight sore legs.
Second we look at the key milestones during training......
- The half marathon training race. Letting everyone else go when you needed to follow the "plan"....steady pace, practice nutrition, it's not really a race...for you.
- The practice tri to make sure you have it down pat and remember what transitions feel like....and possibly how much it sucked ass when you got pummeled in the water or flatted on the bike or bonked 3 miles from the finish line.
- The time trial bike race where you felt the bike fitness was at it's peak only to be passed by not 1 or 2 but three riders who started at minute intervals behind you.....while your legs are burning and lungs are screaming for air.
Third we remember the lessons learned from all the cumulative days of training/racing....
- The pre-race meal that fueled you just right and helped the next day.
- How to keep your swim stroke fluid even when tired.
- What a certain pace feels like.
- How to get the dropped chain back on without stopping.
- Knowing you can pee on the bike....without stopping.
- Gu makes you puke.....Hammergel fuels the body.
- You can cover the distances.....plus some more.
We have completed a lot during training. We have become stronger; physically and mentally. We have lost weight. We have gained weight. We have become sick. We have recovered. We get depressed. We celebrate milestones.
The muscles have many miles and yards in them. Our eyes have seen nothing but a black line for hours at a time, but they have also seen nature and the world around us during the journey. Our legs have spun in a circle millions of times and our feet have moved us forward many miles.
Our mind has become razor sharp as we feel the changes. These changes register in the mind of a triathlete, or any other athlete. These changes allow the mind to answer....
"Yes.....you are ready."