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The five minutes before the beginning…the birth of a triathlete

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Even though my triathlon was two weeks ago, the few minutes before the race was still crystal clear in my head. I want to see if I can put it into writing…

…The transition area was a non-paved parking lot. As I walked toward the beach I have to be careful not to step on stones. I was joking with Len and Anners later that I may have to quit the race because of a cut from those stones. I took my first swim in the lake. There were rocks everywhere. I have to be careful as to where I step.

The air wasn’t too hot. It was nice. It was very cloudy. The water was cooler than the community pool. I took a few strokes. I do this as fast as possible so other people won’t see that I am swimming breaststroke. How embarrassing. I have a feeling that everyone will pass me in the swim.

I can feel the nervousness inside me. Like I am missing something. Did I drink enough? Have I swum enough? This is my first time swimming in open water. How will it be different from than community pool? Will I quit in the lake? How chaotic will the swim be? Will everyone be in my way? I try not to let my self-doubt come over me. I know I am strong in the bike and swim portion. I have trained harder and further than the actual distance. I am ready for this. The worst case is that I will go slow. The important part is to finish the race.

All the participants gathered toward the beach. A few are swimming for their warmup. Most are like me waiting for the time to start. Len and Anners were there as well. I stood by them a bit and try to make a few conversations. I am trying to calm myself down. There ain’t really a lot to say.

The organizer once again laid out the rules. I try to memorize them in my head. Don’t drift behind another biker. Pass on their left. The road course is a technical course. Don’t go too fast. Put on a helmet before I take my bike.

When the organizer finished his spill, there was only one minute left. I became very serious at this time. Time to focus. Cliff, this is it. This is what you always want it. Why are you so scared? What are you waiting for? You are going to finish the swim. You are going to do well in the bike course and you will run to the finish line. Then you will head back to MCAC for the opening ground ceremony.

I keep on picturing how the start will be. I will stay back a bit. And take my time. There is no rush.

“10 more seconds!” The organizer yelled. Everyone tenses up. I could feel my heart beating a bit faster. I take deeper breathes to calm myself down. There was cheering in the background. Maybe Len and Anners were cheering as well. I didn’t pay much attention. My only goal right now is to finish the swim. If I finish the swim, everything else will be easy. Finish the swim

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