Friday, June 22, 2012

I Pulled the Trigger

I thought long and hard about this race, but in the end I lost my common sense and registered for the race that is on September 22, 2013. The biggest problem is the six thousand foot altitude. I have never done any race longer than an olympic at this altitude and I am not sure how it will affect me.

The biggest challenge at altitude will be the swim. When I bike and run, I can just breath harder It's more difficult to get enough oxygen when I have to exhale under water.  I have had swims in other high altitude races where I try to speed up and a vise tightens around my chest, making me feel panicky. Sometimes this happens right at the start of the swim. It requires a firm mental grip on my fear and swimming even slower than my normal piddling speed.

The website lists the average water temperature in September as 65-68. I doubt this range because it is a cold mountain lake and the air temperature is 38-68 degrees. So I could  face a swim in cold water, which I hate, as well as altitude. My worst swim ever was at Ironman Arizona in sixty degree water. I thought I would drown and I started shivering before the halfway point.

But the water will also be very clear, conditions that I don't experience most of the time. It could be extraordinary water to swim in.

The bike will also be challenging with a 5200 foot elevation gain. But this is also what intrigues me. Can I finish it within the bike cut off? It's not even a question of doing well, but a matter of survival. Will it be like when I did Ironman Canada, with the exhilaration of finding out that I did what I thought was near impossible? I miss that feeling. It's like an addiction and I need a fix.

Despite the daunting difficulties of this event, I signed up anyway. I can accept the possibility of failure if the risk is worth it. I may not finish the swim or I may miss the bike cut off, but I will fight as hard as I can. Sometimes you have to say "what the hell" and take a leap of faith.