These Cold Feet Have Nothing to Do With the Weather

I've done LOTS of races. Why is this one making me so nervous?
I’ve done LOTS of races. Why is this one making me so nervous?

We’ve reached the point of no return, y’all.

The Leadman Tri Marquee Epic 125 is in less than two weeks. My bike is already en route to Phoenix. There’s really no turning back now, is there?

Sure, I’ve had to repeat my “Don’t panic” mantra a few times, but I’ve gotten some nice, long rides under my belt, along with an open-water swim in my wetsuit and plenty of good runs. I’m as comfortable as one can be with the idea of doing the race. I’m comfortable with my abilities. (Mostly. I think.)

But that still leaves plenty of room for the things that are completely out of my control to creep in and freak me the $@%& out.

It started when we were getting my bike ready to ship and couldn’t get the pedals off. “Maybe this is a sign,” I told my husband Jared. “I mean, if I can’t even get the pedals off, am I going to be completely out of my league at this race? Maybe I’m going to be the last one. OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO BE THE LAST ONE IN, AND THERE WON’T EVEN BE ANY FOOD LEFT, AND THE CHASE CAR WILL BE BEHIND ME ON THE BIKE, AND THEY’LL YELL AT ME TO GO FASTER, WON’T THEY?!?”

For the record, the removal of pedals? Yeah, that has nothing to do with, well, any of that. Which Jared kindly reminded me as he tried to keep my mind from spiraling off into even worse places.

Anyway, I like control, and I like knowing exactly what to expect, which is what I’m having a hard time with. I’m unfamiliar with the area, and because the race is a new one, I don’t even have the benefit of looking at past results to see where my estimated finish time puts me in comparison to other athletes.

So, the plan is to focus on what I can control, which, really, is always a good plan for race day. You never have control over the weather or the other athletes. All kinds of unexpected things might happen, and while it’s important to be prepared, it’s no good to dwell on those. Knowing how to change a flat tire? Super. Freaking out for a week about whether or not I’m going to end up with a flat and have to change it while I’m tired and sweaty and nervous? Not at all helpful. Not even a little bit.

Things I know for certain: I can complete these distances. I have worked really, really hard and completing this race will be a huge accomplishment. My friend and fellow FBG, Susan, will be there to push me in at the start if I freeze up, and she’ll also be at the finish line cheering me on, even if I am the last one in. She’s even offered to go do a loop of the bike route with me on Friday to help me get used to it. These are all good facts. I can work with this. I know I can.

A week from today I fly out to Phoenix (giving me two full days in the area before the race, because, hi, have I mentioned I like having some control?), and I know the time will fly between now and then. And the time between arriving in Phoenix on Thursday and the race start on Sunday will go by in a flash. Even so, I’m very open to tips for how you control the (violent, malevolent) butterflies before a big athletic event.

Got tips, tricks, inspirational stories? Share ’em. Please. (And wish me luck on April 14!) —Kristen

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8 Comments

  1. Trust your training, and enjoy the ride! You’re providing inspiration to others including me. I’m trying to journey back to the fitness I knew in the fall, and need some motivation. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it when you’re finished.

  2. Just remember all the people like me too scared to even dip their toe into getting started. You’ll rock it out and be more awesome than 99.9 % of all the rest of us. Can’t wait to hear about it.

  3. Just think about how great you will feel when you finish. That always helps me…also I try not to think about the other racers. It’s just me against myself! Best of luck.

  4. Good Luck on your upcoming race. wow, that’s some dedication. Please let us know how it goes for you. We will be rooting you on!

  5. Trust you guts! Winning is not everything but without winning there is no motivation. Others are also preparing hard, find the unique value, something extra that beats you all. Good luck! Be well.

  6. I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully. Any effort put forth backed by noble intention and authentic passion is the effort reflecting your deepest heroism and potential. And it’s correct what others have already said: your mere attempt is inspiring in of itself. You sound fairly strong, judging by your article. I envy you nevertheless. I just started back and it’s grueling! Good luck!