Friday, August 28, 2009

What if I fail?

I've had a couple of tough workouts in the past two weeks where I have not hit the training target. From the start, I've modified the training goals to be okay with 90% of the specified distance, and I'm not even getting that. And we've passed the two months to go mark. So I'm a little worried.

What if I get to race day and I fail?

And specifically, from the event website:
All triathletes must be capable of completing the swim in 1 hour and 10 min from the last swim wave, completing the bike by 5 hours from the start of the last swim wave, and finishing the entire race in 8:00. All cyclists must be past the 28 mile mark of the bike course within 3.5 hours of the last swim wave start. All athletes must begin their second loop of the run before the 7:30 mark.

I looked at last year's last finisher at Longhorn, 8:43.

My times are improving, but by seconds, not minutes, so I can pretty reasonably predict what my times will be right now:
Swim 45 minutes
Bike 5 hours
Run 3.5 hours
That adds up to 9.25 hours, without counting any transitions, bathroom stops, or mechanical issues.

I think I was expecting a bigger drop in times with all the training I've put in this past year, but it hasn't happened. And again, it's been exciting to PR every race I've entered this year, and I would probably PR the Aquabike if I did that instead of the full triathlon. But my goal has not been a faster Aquabike. It's been to finish the Longhorn triathlon.

Of course, a lot has to do with luck too. If my age group goes off as an early wave, I could have an extra hour to work with, since they time from the last wave (and last year, Aquabike, relay, and Clydes and Athenas were the last wave). If my wave is towards the end, it's not so good. I really don't want to be the last biker in, as I learned last year. And it's not so fun to be the last runner in either, but that would be okay, unless they pull you from the course, which is possible, since they say you have to have started your last loop by 7:30. So I could be 6.5 miles from the finish of a 70.3 mile race, and get pulled off the course. And that would suck.

So it all adds up to: I'm worried I'm not going to be able to do it. I've put it out there to everyone that my goal all year has been Longhorn, and it will be embarrassing if I fail. But more importantly is how disappointed I will be in myself. I really have put in the hours and effort. And it may not be good enough.

And while there are two months left, I can't imagine dropping an hour off my time at this point. I would need a motorcycle and a power wheelchair to do that! Should I call the event producers and ask them to plan for more time for me to finish? Should I concede and switch to the Aquabike for the second year? Should I plan to just do one loop of the run before getting swept off the course? Should I "mistakenly" get in the first wave? I could fake an injury. I could pray for rain (or hail or tornado). I could pretend I lost interest and found a new hobby in chicken raising. I could move to Mexico.

Or I could wait and see. For now.


F said...

You haven't failed at something you haven't tried yet. And trying this thing is an amazing feat in itself. If there are weird rules about timing, that sucks. Finishing is finishing and to have random times that you need to be someplace seems weird. If you want to go for it, GO for it. To hell w/ everybody else. If for whatever reason you get pulled, you went for it. And how cool is that? What did you call folks who never start?..... You do whatever you want to do. And damn, be so proud of yourself. I know I am amazed at you and your athletic prowess. so cool!

everybody's entitled said...

I'm with F. You have trained your best for an incredibly hard task. You should definitely go for it. You may be amazed at your race-day enthusiasm and vigor, and you won't know until you try.

Worst case scenario - they come to pull you off. What happens if you say - I'm going to finish - you all can go home? You know you can finish - it's just a matter of the time.

You are an inspiration to all of us who have never even tried anything this hard.

Love you!