Well, it is on! One week from tomorrow (August 19) I will be taking part in my first triathlon. I officially registered today and will be at the starting line next week. My training has been going fairly well, much more consistent than my blog writing I have to say. First goal in the race….survive. Second goal….break 2 hours (hey, it’s my first one so cut me some slack!)

Today was a very good day. I swam in the open water twice. I have still been a bit apprehensive about the deep sea so I have been doing almost all my swim training in the pool on base. But with the race 1 week away I knew I had to get out there. Zinnia and I went out this morning and swam about 500 meters (my Garmin had us at 504 meters to be exact…very cool device). The water was not rough at all and the depth was probably only 5-10 feet for most of the swim, although I could see a pretty big dropoff to my left as I was swimming. Initially it was pretty scary seeing the water drop from 10 feet to blackness, and to see schools of fish swimming around, but having a bit of conditioning helped, as my breathing stayed controlled an my strokes steady. The only bad part about that swim were the rocks I had to stand on when we first got into the water. They were very rough and I noticed tonight I have a small cut on the sole of my left foot. I am hoping this doesn’t affect me over the next week.

This afternoon a good friend, Jeff Borut, and I went for another swim at a different beach (and then piggy backed a bike ride on after that). Where we swam is actually the waters in the sunset picture at the top of this page…Gab Gab Beach. This swim ended up being close to 900 meters and went out over much deeper waters. I am so glad I did it though because I really found the underwater scenery pretty cool and almost calming as I swam. The water was probably 30 feet in some spots with the sea floor covered with beautiful coral and sea life. There were bigger fish and I know I swam through at least 1 huge school of fish.There was almost no chop to the water, but we did have to stop about halfway through the swim because we got into some shallow water (3 feet) for a small stretch and we just couldn’t swim comfortably. Things I noticed when swimming out in the “deep”. 1.) The water is actually noticeably colder when swimming over deeper water than shallow water. It actually feels good though because your body is working so hard. 2.) I was struck at how beautiful things are down there. I almost wanted to stop swimming and just snorkel or dive down for a closer look. The coral is amazing. And like I said, it seems very peaceful. Makes swimming pretty enjoyable. And 3.) The salt didn’t bother me as much as it had in the past. On my few previous open water swims the salt in the water would burn my nose and face. Today I really didn’t notice it as much. When I finished the swim I had to blow my nose but otherwise I was fine with it. Good goggles thoguh are KEY! When I started out the swim my goggles weren’t airtight against my face and a bit of seawater got into my goggles and really burned my eye. But, a quick adjustment and all was fine for the rest of the swim. Jeff, who has done several triathlons, told me the course for the race doesn’t have water nearly as deep as what we did today in the deepest parts and that I will be pleasantly surprised on race day by the swim portion. I am going to hold him to that.

After the swim we got on the bike (my clips in place) and biked 9 miles. I think Jeff was trying to kill me. I can’t prove it, but I am suspicious. We started out by going up a very, very steep hill within the first 200 meters. So, 2 minutes into the ride and I am already out of breath and reaching for the water bottle. There were also 3 other hills along the course that really wore me out. Jeff handled them fine and even though I was trying to keep up with him, he ended up having to slow the pace for me to catch up a couple of times. I will say the clips do help with the hills. I felt like I wasn’t working as hard on the downward pedal because I was able to pull up on the other pedal. Still, it wasn’t easy. Sort of hard to tell though when you feel like throwing up from ascending a 6% grade hill for a minute! But, I was able to keep the bike moving forward and didn’t have to stop, so I know I am getting in better condiditon. At the end of the 900 meter swim and 9 mile bike I felt exhausted. In my defense it was 2:30 PM and the heat was sweltering in the middle of the day with the sun just pounding down on us. The race takes place at 7:00 AM and is over usually before the heat gets unbearable.

So in this final week before the race I need to start seriously thinking about a few things.

1. What to bring and how to organize my transitions. I just hope I don’t forget something important like my helmet or shoes. I need to practice laying things out so I will remember everything.

2. What to eat the day before and the morning of the race. I’ll need to really hydrate the day before and I want to make sure I eat a meal that won’t go through me too quick (if you know what I mean). Going to read a little about that this week. If anyone reading this has some tips, feel free to share.

3. How much more training to do this week. With a cut on my foot and my back a little sore tomight I will probably take it easy this week. Maybe a run tomorrow to get the stiffness out and then another mid week mid week along with 1 swim and 1 bike during the week and then take a few days off before the race. Perhaps resting Friday and Saturday. Of course, I am not trying to qualify for an Olympic team here. Come Sunday I am really approaching the race as a fun event that I hope to finish in under 2 hours. So, I might as well rest up for it, right?

Should be fun. With the Olympics on these past 2 weeks I have been really inspired by just how amazing these athletes are. Their endurance and competitiveness are quite impressive, not to mention how ripped all their bodies are.  At 41, my body just doesn’t perform athletically (or recover) like it used to, but watching the Olympians, my mind wants to get out there and compete. Good thing my body reminds my mind how crazy it is every now and then. Don’t have any pics to post for this blog entry, but will have plenty after the race next Sunday. I may even get nother blog entry in before the race. Stay tuned.