As usual

Another wintry month has come and gone and I realized I have about 6 weeks until NOLA. As usual, I realized this laying in bed one night, right before trying to fall asleep, and then proceeded to dream about racing. I have had a similar dream about a month before all of my big triathlons. It's kind of like the nightmare where you show up to school or work, only to realize you're the only one not wearing any clothes.

In my dream, I usually show up late. Since I'm the last one to get to transition, I am put in a "special" transition area as punishment, usually something weird like a potting shed or a dog house or my childhood bedroom. Then, as I'm searching for my forgotten bike pump, I realize my wave is being called. I grab my swim cap and sprint to the starting line. Depending on the dream, sometimes they let me start. In the Boise version of this dream, I was told to go home. I was a little stressed when I woke up from that one.

As for the latest NOLA version of the dream, it was a little different. I was still late, and I still had a special quarantined transition area (something with a horse fence?), but other than that I woke up with a positive feeling. They let me start, and for the first time since I've had this dream, I made it to the starting line in time to get in with the back of my wave. The race went well, from what I remember. The weird part about this dream is that afterwards, I had some product sponsor asking if I would race for them. They said they were looking for an Irish person to add to their racing team. When I tried to tell him I wasn't Irish, he said my eyes didn't lie, I had to be Irish. Weird.

I'm going to blame the latest version on something I ate or maybe listening to too much Flogging Molly. But at least I didn't get sent home from the race.

I don't know what it is about triathlons that turn me into a twitchy, nervous, bumbling idiot with butterflies in my stomach and pins and needles down my spine before a race. I'm not a nervous person, but before a big race I get nauseous to the point of wanting to throw up. I can't sit still. I pace. I double, triple, and quadruple check everything. Boise was particularly brutal since it had a 2 pm start. That gave me all day to get myself worked up into a harried mess. At the Danskin sprint tri, my friend April looked at me and said "I feel like I don't even know you right now."

In all honesty, the nerves are what keep me coming back. Clearly I have not mastered this sport and I'm still trying to figure out my limits. Once the starting gun goes off, I can settle in to the race and I'm fine. Afterwards, all I feel is delightful exhaustion. It's the anticipation that kills me. I haven't found a single other activity/event/sport that has this effect on me, but I think that's a good thing. Hopefully, at some point I'll stop getting nauseous before races, but if the nerves ever disappear completely, it will be time to hang up my wetsuit and find a new pursuit that will again tie my stomach in knots.

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