The closer to the venue we got, the more the tension built. I was getting irritable and crabby but didn’t even know it. We pulled in and there were people EVERYWHERE.
Flashy bikes, wetsuits, top of the line everything. It was overwhelming, intimidating and I was terrified. Gearing up, I did my best to imitate the people around me. This was my first race and I had no idea what I was doing, so I mimicked how others set up their transition area, and tried desperately to calm my heart rate. After all, I would be swimming soon, and open water is not an ideal place to freak out.
I waded into the water surrounded by seasoned athletes that all had their pre-race rituals. I didn’t have any, and that made me even more concerned. Should I be warming up? Stretching? Taking in a little bit of final nutrition? Am I the ONLY one doing this for the first time?!
The race started and for the next 150 minutes I floundered through my first endurance race. It was stressful, I was totally out of my element, but amidst it all, I had fun, I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
I still remember exactly how I felt that morning doing my first race, years ago. I can’t even remember how many races I’ve done since then, but I will never forget feeling totally lost. Endurance racing is an incredible experience, one that I firmly believe more should try. The beauty of it lies in the agony and ecstasy of pushing yourself to your physical, but more importantly, mental limits alongside friends and fellow athletes. It is a truly unique experience.
Often times though, endurance racing may seem inaccessible. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you’re out of shape. You might be like me during my first race and incredibly nervous with no clue what to expect. Lots of different factors prohibit people from getting out and racing sadly. What we would like to do here then, is walk you through how to prepare to do a race. Maybe it’s your first long endurance race, or maybe the first time you’ve ever competed in any kind of race. We will walk you through what you need to do in order to get to the line ready and be confident you can achieve your goals, whatever they are.
Next, Chapter One: PICK