99.9% of the time, my dreams consist of some outlandish experience where I’m a) trying to escape harm or a bad guy, or b) me trying to rescue someone. They also generally include a “celebrity” appearance. Dream interpreters, do what you will with that information.
The night of the South Bay Duathlon I had another crazy dream. Unfortunately, I can’t remember it all, but what I do remember is that it involved me riding my new bike during the race, which took place in an old western town and I was trying to escape something. But instead of it being my beautiful new Trek in my dream, it was a little tricycle made for a toddler. I remember thinking, “The bike shop duped me!!!”
In my dream, I was furious that I wasn’t smart enough to ask the right questions to get the right bike, embarrassed that I looked like an idiot on my tricycle that I thought what a tri bike and just plain frustrated.
Obviously, there are some deep rooted fears hidden in there, but like I mentioned in this post, facing my fears was the best way to wash my tricycle nightmares away. It reinforced that the best way to learn is through experience itself, so I wanted to share with you a few key things I learned from the race.
1. Parking lot intimidation is a bunch of crap. You know who I’m talking about. The people doing “serious” warm-ups, “serious” stretches, and always have one hell-of-a “serious/I’m totally going to pummel your ass” look on their face. Whatever. It’s all a ploy, their poker face if you will. Just focus on you and your race alone.
2. Stuff is just that…stuff. I set out my transition gear and had five things: shoes, helmet, glasses, a water bottle and gloves (which I later learned I don’t need). But what is all of this stuff everyone else has? Their space was littered with what seemed like an entire sporting goods store – what essential items was this Fred missing? Low and behold, I just did fine without all of the extra stuff. Don’t worry about what things you don’t have and instead just go with what you need. You’ll be fine.
3. Know your fueling strategy ahead of time. Thanks to Coach Paul, I was under strict orders of how much to eat and when. Even though there were many time I didn’t feel like eating or thought that I didn’t need it, I followed his recommendations and wouldn’t you know it, I actually felt fantastic before, during and after the race. Coach Paul is one smart guy.
4. Cycling photos are awful. Seriously. After seeing my race photos yesterday, Chicken Face reassured me, “I guess the helmet look doesn’t work for you.” Thank you, husband.
5. Don’t forget to do what you ultimately came to do: have fun. I was freaking out so much about this “debut” race, that I totally lost grasp of why I signed up for the race in the first place. So many fears overwhelmed me that it could have been detrimental, but once I was out there, I found myself in my element. I always make sure to look around, take in the scenery and smack a ridiculous smile on my face. Try it out sometime – it seems to work.
What are your best tips for a debut/your first race?