I'm trying to decide whether to do the Santa Barbara triathlon, which is hmm, let me see, only a month away....and so far I've only managed to decide that I definitely need to decide something....soon.
I've already done the race four times, and trained for it five times (the fifth ended in point twelve of this list).
I signed LK up for it over the weekend, and I'm being persuaded by two erstwhile good friends to do it again.
We have an entire group of friends who train together and have Mai Tai's afterwards, we are the Mai Tris:
My nickname is 'Wonder' - sadly not because I'm any good, but because I'm whiter than Wonder Bread.
I am proud to say that I've introduced the English concept of half-hearted sporting achievement coupled with heavy drinking to the health-conscious Calif-yawn-ians.
We are the Mai Tris and we kick arse!
Although, truth be told, it is proving a little difficult to get this band of merry men (emphasis on the merry) to actually sign up this year. One is claiming a GIANT gallstone, another bi-coastal training issues, and others, well, what exactly is my excuse?
To be honest, I've never really enjoyed the race. I've always enjoyed the training and post-training bar sessions, but the race itself, lukewarm at best. For a start, it begins at about 7am, which means you have to get your kit down there at 5:30am, which is total bollocks. Then you have to deal with the massive queue for the toilets while the entire racing contingent suffers pre-race diarrhea. Lovely. Plus, it's knackering, don't be deceived by the race stats. If you tell anyone about the sprint course, they will always ask about the individual disciplines, and when you say a 1/3 mile ocean swim, 6 mile bike, and a 2 mile run, people will always go 'huh, well, that's not too bad', except it is, honestly, unfathomably bad. Anyone can do this race, but unless you're in damn good shape, it's not easy to do it without it hurting. A lot.
Here are some photos of previous races. Do I look like I'm having fun?
Also, point number 2, it costs $100. That's a bloody expensive T-shirt
Mainly though, the reason I'm prevaricating is that I can't trust my body not to throw in the towel. I'm good at tests and exams, but anything physical and there is no amount of training that will guarantee I will not spack out and under-perform on the day. I am just not a natural athlete. I went to yoga last night with a good friend, and on more than one occasion I was waving the wrong limb at the instructor. OK, obviously that's just stupidity, but in all honesty I find it very hard to get my body to do what my mind thinks should be a breeze. Also, it was rather hard to keep a straight face when our yoga teacher (and imagine your quintessential nasal Californian here) saying 'now let's go in to dolphin prelude, dolphin pray-lood'. That and 'restorative pigeon' had me biting down on my bolster.
Come race day I always get a massive stitch on the final run, and on one truly tragic occasion a remarkably sprightly but still, 68-yr old man, asked me if I needed 'medical assistance'. Good times. That's what sucks, training for months, and then having a bad race because you were nervous beforehand and swallowed too much air and then had to run with a stomach like a barrage balloon.
Now my brother on the other hand is a complete natural athlete. He's just done the Great Knaresborough Bed Race - you've probably heard of it. No? Hmm, surprising. Well, it involves something akin to a bed, but in the same say that an American SAT test will say 'contraption is to bed as absinthe is to blank'. Exactly. He also did the Great North Run and managed to keep a nifty pace for the entire race 'only because I was worried some chav was gonna nick me trainers in some of the dodgy bits'. Every athlete needs an incentive.
Anyway, I'm looking for advice - should I do this or not? I had decided that tonight's ocean swim with the girls would be an acid test. If I felt good, and could swim the half mile no problem, then yes, I should consider the race. As it turns out I got halfway out to the buoy and I was already struggling. I wasn't feeling streamlined, there was a tonne of kelp in the water which kept freaking me out, and I felt like my wetsuit was twice the size as normal. Well, note to self, remember to zip up your chuffing wetsuit before embarking on a half mile swim. By the time I got out I looked like a whale with edema.
So, yes or no?