The official list making has begun.
Saturday’s Welland Triathlon is approaching quickly and in order to make sure I have everything needed to get me through the day, I need a list. This includes typical items that all triathletes need, like my running shoes and bike, along with essentials unique to me, like Fairy Dust and antacid tablets.
I’ve done races by myself (and frankly, that kinda sucks) but most of the races I’ve done have included friends and family, either as fellow participants or as spectators.
Mark will be enjoying his first triathlon on Saturday, cheering on both myself and his friend Ryan, who will be competing in his first tri. I’ve tried to dub him my “Sherpa” for the race, but as a climber he has issues with the title Sherpa, which I understand and respect but hence leaves me at a loss for a nickname for him. I refuse to use “race mom” as I already have a mom who comes to my races. And he shot down the title “WonderMinnon” which I borrowed from the book As Good As Gold by Kathryn Bertine. So I’m taking suggestions on a title for Mark, who will be in charge of things ranging from logistics to nutrition to personal psychologist. This is a big job and slightly thankless, especially when you’re lugging my bike up to transition and I’m having a nutty because I can’t find my goggles, which are likely already on my head.
Which brings me to the summer refresher course in triathlon spectating 101 … and how to best deal with me on race day.
1. General spectating rules. Cheer for all competitors, not just the ones you know. Never say, “You’re almost there” unless the finish line is 50 meters or less away. Always say, “You look good!” or “You look strong” or some variation of that regardless of what the competitor actually looks like.
2. Rules particular to me.
a. I will pack the night before and then tear through my backpack for fear I have forgotten my sneakers or bike shoes or body glide. There is no calming me down during this. Just catch whatever I may throw aside and ask me if I need to repack it.
b. I will be frantic. Do not try to match my energy. Speak in calm, soothing tones.
c. If it looks like I’m debating whether or not to use the bathroom, encourage me to do so. And realize I will use the bathroom by a multiple of 10 on race morning.
d. Tell me I look sleek and fit in my trisuit. Tell me I look fast in my wetsuit, like a superhero.
e. Remind me to use body glide.
f. Do not comment on my musical selection on race morning. Just let me listen to it. And I can not prepare you in advance for what it will be. It might be classical music to calm me or it might be Jay-Z to amuse me. Or I might bust out the worst of the 1980s or best girl groups of the 1960s. Whatever it is, reserve comments for much, much, much later. A corollary to this regards my dancing to music playing in transition. If I dance to Avril Lavigne or Beyonce, keep your comments and eye rolls to yourself. This dancing of mine is actually a good sign.
g. Remind me that swim is easy. That I know how to swim. That I’ve done this so many times, it’s a piece of cake. Oh, and feel free to bribe me with actual cake at the end of the race. Or pancakes. Or ice cream. Or booze. Hey, we’re in Canada for this one – a nice giant-size Coffee Crisp candy bar could go a long way!
h. I will be excited in the days before the race. Perhaps even on the drive over there. Once in my wetsuit with the visual of the water, I will try to hide my desire to throw up behind a fake smile (see photo from Muskoka 70.3 at right). Reassure me that I am an awesome swimmer, that the conditions are great and that I look fantastic.
i. Tell me before the race how well trained I am and how easy and fun the day will be. Tell me to go for it, to bring it.
j. Tell me after the race how bad ass I am, how challenging the course was and how absolutely amazing I did. Make me list all the things I did right, all the things that feel good before you allow me to utter a “yeah, but…”