Preparing for an international race like the European Triathlon Championships (my first race overseas, other than Ireland) has been tougher than maybe I had considered. Physically it’s tough, but it’s fine. Mentally it’s tough, but along with the usual things like fear of failure, of injury, the focus on a single event, and putting yourself up against strong, fast (largely unknown) opposition, I’m finding that adding on the logistics of travelling with racing stuff and financing travel, hotel and other stuff to be a real challenge.
It’s not exactly a jolly. This is something I really want to do. I’ve got 2 seasons left as an athlete in the open or seniors category and then I enter the veteran ranks. Vet! Me?! So I really want to try and do something special this year and next, as long as those experiences are fun, challenging, and rewarding. If I fail it’s ok. If I didn’t try I’d be gutted.
But then again, it is a jolly. I’m prancing off to a sunny foreign land for a dip in the sea, some biking and running, and lounging around a pool. So the first rule was that I couldn’t go if I didn’t get support (i.e. sponsorship). I’m funding this trip with extra work building and looking after websites, and with the support of my sponsors that is offsetting my annual costs of racing and training (thanks guys!). In this way I’m hoping to minimise the financial effects on my family.
But the worries of paying for this expensive luxury at a time of rising costs and limited income growth are hard. If I wasn’t paying for all this we could…
So this is my unexpected challenge. I knew paying for it would be a challenge but I did the maths. The unexpected part is in struggling to keep a focus on the event itself. In trying to visualise the start of the race, the swim pace, the route, gliding through T1, hammering the bike, banging through T2 and smashing the run. Hey, I guess writing that sentence helped!
Visualise the race, plan for what you can plan for, expect the unexpected but don’t dwell on it. Trust in organisation and training. If it all goes wrong, enjoy the view. If it all goes well, grin like a madman.