The email prompted some furious googling. The official prerace report from the Welland Triathlon appeared in my inbox this morning and right at the top of the information was a note on water temperature.
“We expect that once again wetsuits will be optional at Welland. Water temperature in Welland Arena was 74F.”
Wetsuit optional? Wetsuits are not optional in my world. No way! Wetsuits are vital component of my well being both in and out of the water. I love my wetsuit. Don’t tell my bike this, but my wetsuit has entered the top 3 of material objects I love and are vitally crucial to my well being. (My bike has a tendency to get jealous. My laptop, No. 2 on the list, can be much more understanding.) Without my wetsuit I am much slower, can’t glide as well and will get exhausted much faster. And that’s just on the walk over to the swim start.
Ah, but thank goodness for the beauty and speed of the Internet where I found that the OAT (Ontario Association of Triathletes) has the same rules as USAT (which I had to look up also) allowing wetsuits in any water that is 78 degrees or cooler. I’m rather confident that in one day the water will not shoot up five degrees. And if it does then I’m just in for a new and wacky adventure. Perhaps I’ll be singing “Temperature” by Sean Paul in my head on race morning to maintain my sense of humor.
As I was working through my momentary surge of panic, I recalled a triathlon from two years ago – the Broome County Parks Triathlon held near my brother’s house in Binghamton, N.Y. It was my third triathlon and the swim was flat and easy. In fact, the swim was the easiest part of the race considering the rolling hills on the bike and the the fact that we had to run up the very steep side of the reservoir in order to do an out-and-back on the top of the dam. That race, too, was in danger of being wetsuit illegal. But it wasn’t. In fact, it was one of my best swims. Still ranks as one of my best swims.
Ah, calmness. My breakfast of raisin toast with honey is staying put now, thank you very much.
No matter how many times I do this, the day before race day is a mix of excitement and nausea. I will be looking forward to the race one minute, terrified the next. I will calmly go through my packing list and then create a spiraling series of irrational thoughts. Like the time before the Buffalo Marathon when I thought no one would like me anymore if I didn’t hit my goal time. I would not only be slow but friendless. Yeah, doesn’t make much sense does it? Try telling that to me at five in the morning over a bowl of oatmeal.
Sometimes it pays to be naive, to not know what to expect, to just go for it.
Sometimes it pays to have experience. Bad swim? Been there. Tough bike? Done that. Legs of lead on the run? Lived that one many times. Of course I’ve also had beautifully smooth swims, amazing bike legs and runs with a cadence and power that pushed through the finish line spent and happy.
I know if something difficult arises, I can handle it. I know that I have a wealth of good experiences to recall throughout the day today to turn the nervousness into excitement.
The race on Saturday is just another adventure.
And adventure, said Amelia Earhart, is worthwhile in itself.