My next race is still a month away. Isn't it a little early for me to be having nightmares about the race?
Here was my dream. I was at a major triathlon, finally. Some of the competitors were staying in an elementary school gymnasium to save on a hotel. But it was really, really packed. Like cattle in stalls. Or . . . no, actually, I think the gym was part of a transition area. We had to run into the gym and get the stuff we needed for the bike, then run back out to our bikes and take off from there. Our running shoes were in a big pile across from the bike racks. And this was the race in which I wanted to be really competitive. But it didn't start well. I was warming up my swim in the lap pool (may have even been in the gym...) to, well, get warm, but also to check and make sure that my goggles (which I slammed in my car door at Lake Afton last week) still sealed properly. Good timing, right before the race start, right? And I only did one, 25-yard lap, which is a stupidly short warm up. Then I got out and wanted to change for the start of the race. Moments before the race starts, I'm not in my race kit. I'm wearing a swimming suit, nothing else. So I started pulling on my race kit over the swimming suit, and said casually to another competitor, "This is a great sport for buying tons of clothes, eh?" because I was wearing like four different layers at this point. Not only did she not laugh at my joke, she looked at me and suggested that I leave a couple layers behind. Then went off to the starting line. So I vacillated for a few minutes, taking things halfway off, pausing and saying, "No! I don't have time to change!" and putting them back, then repeating.
Jump to right after the swim. I come out of the water in good position. Not first, by any means, but towards the front of the pack. I sit by my transition area and start gathering the things I'll need for my bike. I dash out there, wanting to do this awkward transition as quickly as possible, sit and put my shoes on, and realize something terrible: Not only have I grabbed someone else's shoes, they don't even match; I have two different shoes, neither of which are mine. I run back in and start looking for my shoes. And now some really slow people are starting to pass me. Fat, awkward people are wheeling their bikes out of T1. I'm going to have to make up a ridiculous amount of time on the bike. And I can't locate my shoes, still! By the time I finally find them, upside down, with the pedals attached to them, for some reason. I am the very last one out of transition. And one of the race directors comes over to ask me if everything's okay (and at this point, for some reason, I seem to be wearing blue jeans and have to strip back down to my tri shorts). I explain that I grabbed the wrong pair of shoes. And then I wake up.
I tell myself that it's okay, it's just a dream. I remind myself that swimming, biking, and running are not the only things being tested come race day; it's also a test of how well you can prepare and how well you can react to shifting and challenging circumstances. And then I sit down to write it out, because it was so frightening and unpleasant.
By the way, Zach, my former team captain, was sort of present and in the background in full USC Tri Team regalia the whole time. Not sure what that means . . .