10 Days. I hate waiting. At night I'm having a hard time sleeping. I lay in bed thinking out a strategy for Muskoka. I visualize me going through motions and scenarios that could play out. I am stressed. If I had a bit more training and experience I might have the confidence I need to not worry about how I will do and if I will even finish. There will be pain, but how much? I wish I knew. It's my first long distance triathlon. I've only got 3 sprints under my belt and I'm about to do a half ironman. I have confidence in my swim and bike, but my run is weak. Very weak. I have made huge improvements in the past couple months but I'm afraid it's just not enough. This is my fault, I didn't give the run the respect it deserves. That's why I've been working extra hard to fix it. I just hope it was enough in such a short period of time. I don't like to wait for things. I'm the kind of person that if I want something, I do whatever it takes to make it happen. I tackle challenges head on and never lose. I just get it done. Unfortunately in this case, I can't speed up time and get to the start line and get this thing over with. I'm ready to take what it gives.
So goal wise, I originally just wanted to finish. I compared my abilities to the times of the last place finishers and figured I could handle that pace. Then my goals evolved. My confidence has grown slightly and while I may be optimistic, I'm going after a slightly more than 6hr-ish finish. Not last place, but I think it'll be enough of a challenge to keep me going at an 'ok' pace by my standards. There's a rivalry among friends going into this. The PFG (Previous Fat Guys), x-clydesdale, tri-noob buddies keep me motivated. Rodney has done the most respectable training, sticking to his MAO training plan religiously. That takes discipline and sacrifice that I admire. I'll need to learn from him to tackle IM Lake Placid 2011. Then there's Brian who has done the least amount of training. He's got the normal guy, weekend warrior, balanced lifestyle that upon finishing I think will be the real winner. The goal was to finish, and Brian has done the least amount of effort to reach that goal while still enjoying life. He'll just suffer significantly more than the rest of us, but I have no doubt he'll finish. Then there is me, who has done alot of x-training via mountain biking. Not much road, minimal run but I would consider myself at the upper end of weekend warrior class, maybe slightly better. Clearly Rodney has done what is necessary to crush IM Muskoka, but while a long shot - I still think I have a chance of catching him. I have heart and mind and basic fitness so I'm hoping that will be enough to catch him. Yes, I'm being optimistic but there is always the IM wildcard of 'who is doing well on THE day'. Anything can happen. :)
As much as I hate this feeling of anxiety while waiting to get to the start line, I really do appreciate it. I have been mountain bike racing for so long that I'm perfectly comfortable going into a race. Plenty of experience will do that to you, its just another day at the track. However this triathlon thing is completely foreign to me. I have no idea what to expect, I find myself fearing the unkown. This brings back memories of how it was when I first got excited over a mountain bike race. I loved it. I hated it, but I love it. Those that get it, do.
Ultimately there is one thing I am certain of. I will go the distance. If I don't make the cutoff, so be it. Even if it takes me 9, 10,even 12 hours to finish, I will go the whole distance. They can close down the event, but someone will have to physically restrain me to force a stop after cutoff or drag my unconcious body from the course. I'm doing the distance no matter what it takes. I will never quit.