I've got a race coming up in 2 weeks, so I'm starting to think about that elusive 4th triathlon dicipline: the transition. This reminded me of training for my first race.....
I'd heard and respect (although I've violated it) the maxim that you never want to do anything for the first time on race day. With that in mind, I sat down with my gear, laid out a towel on the living room floor and practiced getting changed. It felt phenomenally unfufilling. Now, I'd never been to a tri, much less competed in one, so I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I was pretty sure that lounging around in an air conditioned room with the TV on while I quickly changing shoes with a set of bone-dry socks wasn't going to be in the cards. Lacking a spiritual guide, or any sort of coherent training strategy, I uttered the 4 most frightening words in the english language: "I have a plan".
Decending quickly to the bat cave, or maybe just my garage, I quickly set about bringing the plot to fruition. I aired up my bike tires, grabbed my gear, and headed for the front lawn. Ignoring the crunch and crackle of dead grass (It was August in Austin, after all) I set up my towel, got my shoes and everything all set up, stripped down to my swim suit, and headed over to the hose. As I turned the water on, the magnitude of what I was doing finally struck me. Here I was, a grown man, barely clothed, spraying water on myself like I'd tucked my sanity into a duffle bag and buried it down by the tracks. I sprinted across the yard, taking care to get grass and dirt all over me so I'd have something to wipe off, got my shoes and helmet on, and hopped on my bike. 90 seconds later, I'd completed my lap of the block, hopped off the bike, swapped shoes, and took off running.
I completed this dance of the bizzare at least half a dozen times. By the end, I actually had my heart rate up enough that it felt like I was in the middle of some sort of race. Bingo. That was just what I was looking for. And I definatly got better each time, having made all sorts of mistakes: getting my laces caught my running shoes, getting my shirt caught in the velcro of my bike shoes, getting my helmet straps all tangled. Sure, my brick workouts had taught me some of that, but it wasn't until I did it over and over, and back to back that I was able to find all of the little gotchas. Of course, I still find new gotchas in each race anyway, but way fewer than I would have otherwise.
And in the end, my transition time was a full minute faster than the two friends I did the race with. And that's probably worth losing the respect of the neighborhood.
So who else has done something silly in pursuit of a few shaved seconds?