No, the BIG W would be the 2011 Wildflower Triathlon - also know as the Woodstock of Triathlons. I did not coin the phrase, but it makes me feel like I'll be transported into another time and space.
That feeling seems apt since I'm getting nervous and very excited with the anticipation - kind of like a virgin bride. In keeping with the virginity metaphor, I *am* a triathlon virgin, so this is kind of a big deal for me. In addition to dealing with all of the gear for the triathlon, it's a 'destination' event, so I have to pack for a few days. PLUS, I have to pack for camping which means more shit.
Yes, I mentioned camping.
That is the "Woodstock" quality of this triathlon - it's a big two-day camping and competing fest. So, in addition to the one-page list of athletic gear and provisions, I have to add another page-long list of camping gear and remember things like headlamps, matches and sleeping bags along with camelback, towel, wetsuit and tons of other shit.
I think that I'm ready - I've had several friends give me great pep talks, mainly by talking about how AWESOME the experience is going to be for me. I also had a great confidence booster this weekend. After a so-so trial swim at the end of March, I vowed that I would try another swim before the race. So, I found a local open-water swimming "Meet Up" and joined a random group of people for a swim on Sunday morning at Seal Beach. The weather was less than idea (60 degrees and rainy), but Michael and I went all the way down there (it's a drive), so I felt obligated to participate.
AND... I actually enjoyed the experience. Surprise, surprise!
There was an instructor or leader who talked us through the process and some people who were WAY experienced, but other people were even greener around the ears than I. So, a mixed group. After an internal pep-talk, I was actually in the first wave of people to head out. Initially, I experienced the same breathing issues. But we did a few trial runs of swimming INTO the ocean and then returning to the shore, and I managed to relax and to control my breathing. We also finished with a swim from one lifeguard station to the next (about half a mile round-trip), and while it wasn't easy, I didn't finish the swim feeling totally wiped out and exhausted. Quite the contrary - I was so psyched that I managed the swim in the ocean and that I had enjoyed it. I almost felt reluctant to return to the shore! It hit me that I could possibly enjoy open water swimming. Maybe it will become a habit?
In the meantime, here is the group - and Michael highlighted my head. Yeah, that's me!