It's no secret I'm a runner first, triathlete second. I love running. It's also no secret that swimming is my least favorite of triathlon disciplines. However, even I know that running takes the biggest toll on the body during training so this week I did the unthinkable. I signed up for an Aquabike race. GASP! I've been tossing around the idea of trying to get in at least one triathlon before Kansas 70.3 in four weeks, but the only race locally is the weekend prior to my date with Chrissie Wellington in Lawrence. The race is the Route 66 triathlon in El Reno, Oklahoma, which is about a 30 minute drive from OKC. It's the first triathlon of the season for the local TRI-OKC club and is also sponsored by my employer. I love supporting the local club and the fact the entry fee is comped by my employer is a double bonus! The weekend features a sprint triathlon on Saturday and then an Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday. In addition to the Sunday triathlon, they are also offering an Aquabike option this year. Talking with my coach, we thought it would be a good idea for me to get in some more practice since I've still only been through the whole triathlon routine once. Initially I considered doing the sprint triathlon on Saturday, but I have a really hard time convincing myself that a sprint triathlon is worth the time investment. I know, I'm a distance snob, but for a race that's so short, it's a whole lot of work. I considered doing the Olympic triathlon, but I really want to show up to Kansas with everything firing on all cylinders and an Olympic distance triathlon has the potential to leave me sore for a few days if I raced too hard or conditions are unfavorable. After further consultation with my coach, we decided that the Aquabike was probably more beneficial than the sprint triathlon in the grand scheme of things. I'll get to test out my swim in a mass start/wetsuit legal swim (hopefully) and work out the final kinks in my bike before hitting the road for Kansas. I'll even probably add in a short run after I cross the finish, but nothing like the 10K leg that would have followed if I was actually racing. I know myself well enough that I couldn't just go out and dog a 10K run. I'd want to run fast and run hard if I was actually out on the course. As a matter of self defense, I'll not allow myself that option. So, the next race is on the calendar - June 6th, Olympic distance Aquabike, in El Reno, OK.
I also want to share a video I pulled from Scott's blog, Enjoy the Ride. It's a video reel about the recent Ironman St. George race in St. George, Utah. This race has a very odd appeal to me. I could never find enough climbing in Oklahoma to actually prepare for this race, but the true grit and determination shown by those conquering this course is inspiring. Maybe one of these days I'll put on my big boy pants and give it a shot. That's assuming I survive Louisville this summer. After yesterday, I realized how daunting a task I have in front of me. The next 15 weeks will challenge me in ways that I could never imagine. It will take every ounce of strength, determination, and stubbornness in my body to keep moving forward when the temps hit 100 and I'm at the end of my rope. I'll need you all to keep me going. I know what lies ahead will forever shape me into a better person. Never quit. In the words of Mitch Whitaker as he left this world after losing his battle to leukemia at age 10 - "Keep fighting". I'll pull my strength from those who were taken too soon and live on in all of us. GoMtichGo