I don’t think the nervous anxiety I get before races ever goes away. And I feel it the most on the beach. This is exactly what all those hard months of training have led up to.
Right now is when all that investment is about to pay off – or prove to have been inadequate. Or, even if your training may have been effective, anything else could still happen.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about triathlon, it’s that your luck can change in the blink of an eye – and usually, it’s for the worse.
So that accumulation of hopes, fears, expectations, sweat, pain, dreams and indefinable emotions are all funneled to that square foot or so you occupy on that crowded beach.
Some of us show it and some of us don’t.
Some of us get seasoned and immune to the anxiety, and some of us are eternally jittery.
I’m the latter.
Which is why I like to talk to people – it gets my mind off the worries and emotions, and it builds the excitement and positive emotion.
“You ready to rock?”
I may ask a random guy something like this. Half of them are so nervous they ignore me or just give a polite but dismissive nod.
“How you feeling?”
The other half welcome my banter, and recognize it as a useful distraction form the jitters, the nerves, the worries.
“Looks like pretty nice conditions.”
The din of the crowd, air horn, starting whistle, and overall background bedlam will fade and you can get a temporary respite from the uncertainty that lies ahead.
“We’re up soon!”
That said, this social approach is a personal decision. Some people may do better by staying quiet, keeping their thoughts to themselves, and taking a more individual approach.
“Have a great race!”
But I have found a positive distraction is just what I need in this 11th hour.