Prepping for a Triathlon

5:40 PM

I've been playing catch up on the blog, and there is plenty to catch up on.
We've had an unusually busy summer for us. 
Lots of swimming, swimming lessons, tennis camps, August's birthday, trips to Fayetteville, a trip to the Farm which I'll share some pictures of later, another completely impromptu trip to Fayetteville, the renovation of my many things!

But right now, fresh on my mind is the triathlon looming ahead.
This next Saturday. August 15th. 
It will be our first Olympic triathlon.

1500 meter swim
26.4 mile bike ride
6.2 mile run

In preparation for this event, Kyle and I have been training. A. Lot. 
I'm averaging 1.5 hours/day of training - lifting weights, cycling, running and swimming.
Although I admit I haven't had NEARLY enough on-the-road bike experience simply due to extreme temperatures. Kyle's been better at that than me, but I've been doing more running.
The one thing I (we, actually) haven't done before today, though, was actually swim in open water. Or a lake. All our swims have been in a pool with a nice black line to guide us up and down the lanes.

Since the triathlon, as I write this, is exactly 1 week away, Kyle and I felt it was necessary to practice open water swimming in the actual lake we'll be using - Lake DeGray.

We made a day of it with the kids! 
On the day of the race, we'll be beginning the swim portion from the water (rather than running from a beach into the water), but will be exiting up a concrete boat ramp. We located the exact spot and would have practiced using it, but there were lots of boats using it. Hmph.
So we got as close as we could - a nearby cove - and practiced swimming and sighting and rounding a buoy (Wyeth). It was definitely a different experience to swim looking into a murky lake as opposed to the crystal clarity of a swimming pool. It wasn't as alarming as I was thinking, though.
I've read stories of people having panic attacks on their first open water swim, and thankfully, I felt none of that degree of panic. It was quite nice swimming in a lake. I don't like my feet hitting the smooshy bottom of the lake, but I tried to remind myself that I'm tough and I can handle it! 
Although I did jump a mile when something tapped my foot underwater. 

I am a little nervous about the bumping and jostling of swimming with lots of other bodies around. I'm more than a little nervous about that, truthfully. I hear it can get rough. I have contacts, and my biggest fear is losing a contact in a situation like that. I may have to set Kyle up as a buffer! 

The kids had a great time playing while we practiced our swimming.
August kept saying, "We should do this more often!"
Indeed, my son.

After the test swim, we drove the bike course.
Holy Moly.
I'm now officially nervous.
The course is a down/back (twice) on a SERIOUSLY uphill road. Straight out of T1, you head UP a nice little hill, level out and then keep going up and up. You do get to turn around in 6.2 miles and head the other direction which means lots of downhills, but then you turn around and do it all again.
The positive? You end on a downhill stretch. And you get a gorgeous view of the lake.
The negative? The sheer magnitude of the hills. And...the hills.
I'm nervous.

Here's the turn-around point on the bike ride. Look how steadily that road has climbed up to where we are. Oh boy.  And then....we thought it would only be smart if we drove the run course.
Holy Majoly. Talk about hills.
Even though I'm no stranger to running hills, this course is going to be painful.
The good news is that Kyle and I are doing it together.
We already decided that we're not treating this like a true race, in which we would probably get separated and find ourselves struggling on our own. We're planning to give it our all, but not abandon each other. And given the hills on this course, I think it's safe to say that neither of us really knows how long it will take us to do this course. 

The fun thing about this is that it's going to challenge the pants off us.
But we've been training for JUST THIS REASON! 
Yes, it's scary! Yes, it's daunting! But we are doing it anyway!
I'm both terrified and exhilarated and READY!

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