Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In which I fear an impending race

You know, this duathlon was a great idea in January.

Not so much now that it's four days away.

I've yet to be this freaked out going into a race. Yes, I have gone into races before unsure. This seems to have entered a whole new category. I've been spending most of the week positive-self-talking the hell out of myself, but even that's not working as well as it has in the past.

Why I am so concerned?

  • Well, for starters, I've never entered a multi-sport event before. I have little to no idea what I am doing when it comes to transitioning, etiquette, etc. The site had a 16-page packet with race details, setup, rules, etc., and I tell you that made me feel even worse in terms of the feeling-over-my-head-ness of all this.
  • My running has been poor. I've been battling a back strain since March, so I'm running slower than normal and feeling less great than normal while doing so. It's manageable, but harder. I don't like harder, this jazz is hard enough as it is.
  • I feel really underprepared for the 10-mile bike ride. I haven't been able to get enough time in to feel very comfortable in the saddle because I have extremely limited times in which I can train on the road. If the weather doesn't cooperate, I'm out of luck. I can ride the distance, for sure, but I'm still learning my bike to the point where I may tackle a hill in the wrong gear and get well and truly fucked. This course is hilly, so, there's the possibility of repeated fuckery throughout the back roads of Central Massachusetts. (I don't think "fuckery" is a word, but I like it.) Plus, I don't want to screw up and get myself - or another athlete - hurt. I also don't want to embarrass myself, and if you've read this blog you know that's pretty much my No. 1 life rule.

But, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I often write that the biggest growth occurs outside one's comfort zone. That is true. But this is so far out of my comfort zone it's nearly circled back around. There's a big difference between fear and stepping outside your comfort zone, and I'm trying to spy the line on this one - and failing.

Then, I have that voice, that little voice that for the most part I have banished to the outer regions of my brain. That voice that always advocates giving up or not even trying in the first place. It argues, "Hey, just don't go. You have one in July. Do that instead. You'll feel much more confident."

And that is true, and would make total sense, save for one thing: I'm pretty sure I can do this Sunday. I don't want to surrender.

So I have the "Don't try and you won't fail" old me battling "Give it a shot, you can do this" new me. One minute one voice is one top and the next it's the other. I've been trying to get out of my head all week out varying degrees of success.

And, exacerbating the whole mental battle is the fact that the second week of May is never kind to me. My mother's birthday and Mother's Day fall on that week and it's a time of emotional and mental turmoil for yours truly. I go into this week every year saying, "It won't get me this year!" and for 25 consecutive years it's roughed me up every time.

So, basically, I'm a hot mess and unsure what to do about this race.


  1. Melissa, follow your gut. If I know you, you will do the race, and you will be a total success! I know this is a tough emotional week, but maybe this race is just what you need to get you through it! Love ya!

  2. Melissa, stop freaking out!! :) I did a duathalon last October. My first and only. Run (2.2), Bike (16), run (2.2). In the pouring cold, freezing rain. Half way through the bike I thought "if I just turn here, I can go home and that is closer than the finish line." I got passed on my bike by many people. The night before I had nightmare after nightmare - what if my tires slipped on wet, fall leaves up the hill? What if I finished last (I didn't. I was CLOSE to last. Oh yeah, I beat a kid and his mom! That's something to be proud of!!). What if I couldn't transition? What if, what if, what if......

    You know what? It was cold. It was hard. I was exhausted afterwards. At that halfway point I thought of all the people that COULDN"T do a duathalon. My 16 yr old, when hearing about my anxiety about transitions, said "mom, I'll be your person." He got up at 7am on a Sunday, came from his father's house to my house and waited for me and was there the whole day. It was NOT the day I wanted but I DID IT!!! And you can too! DO IT!!! Just doing it will be the reward!!! You are amazing and brave and a rock star!!! GO BIG OR GO HOME!!! You will GO BIG b/c that is what you do!