First of all, compared to my total cluelessness last year, I am in a better position. I know what to expect in terms of the course and the event overall. Las year, I experienced plenty of excitement over the unknown quality of it all, which brought its own fun to the mix. I am, however, happier to see this as a "known known" a la Rumsfeld. In addition to some experience under my belt, I also trained better over the past few months. Last year, I had no control over the fact that I couldn't run for two months, but it has come as a relief to stay healthy in this year's training cycle. So, when my primary goal was "just finish", that seemed pretty appropriate. I also spent way more time in the saddle and have been on plenty of rides that were well over the 24 miles that I'll do on Sunday. While the bike continues to plague me in terms of speed, I do feel more comfortable in the saddle. It also helps that I sort of *love* my new bike! And the swim? I would give my training a 5 out of 10 here, but despite limited time in the pool and doing open-water swims, I shouldn't panic. That right there is a confidence booster, and I should shave some time off the swim.
As for those goals... In an ideal world, I'll definitely shave time off last year's 'race', but I recognize that there are so many 'what ifs' and so much that is out of my control. Last year, some guy crashed into a friend who was racing the long course - she ended up with a concussion. So, I want to keep in mind all of the factors that I just can't control and be okay if I don't have the race that I "want". However, there are a few areas that I should use to my advantage. First of all, faster transitions. Not that I'm aiming for a sub-2-minute transition, but last year it did not bother me that I was applying sunscreen while everyone else hauled out of the transition area. This year, I think it will. I would like to push myself more on the bike - that's a given.
But, most importantly, I would still like to look like this when I am finishing the race:
You know, smiling and giving a thumbs up.