Finally, ITU World Championship week is upon us! After qualifying for the aquathlon at USAT Nationals last October in Oklahoma City, the journey has had plenty of ups and downs. For starters, at the beginning of this year, I could barely swim or run due to injury. Thanks in huge part to the doctors at Rose Physical Therapy, Coach Mary, and regular pilates sessions, I have been able to recover stronger than before. The hay is in the barn, the money (pesos?) in the bank, and I am all set to rock the 1500 meter swim and 10K run at Worlds in Cozumel, Mexico.
But first, let’s pause for a moment. Taper week is usually a mix of phantom pains, crankiness, nerves, obsessively checking the weather at the race venue, scoping out the competition via the bib list, etc. This time, less so. For starters, the race was on a Wednesday (Sept 14), so I kind of forgot about it. While swimming on Tuesday the 6th, I realized, “oh crap, I am racing a week from tomorrow!” You’d think that would have kicked the other taper behaviors into gear, but not really. On Thursday, less than four days before traveling, I realized my parade uniform hadn’t arrived yet. I called the vendor and learned that while I had reserved the gear back in May, there had been a separate order form I had missed, and now it was too late to get the uniform before I left (without some massive shipping costs). But he assured me this year’s uniform was pretty much the same as last year’s so I’d be fine. (Spoiler: no, no it was not.)
On Sunday night, 10 hours prior to flying to Cancun, I procrastinated packing by reading the athlete guide that Team USA had helpfully sent out earlier that week. Race uniform rules, check. Briefing schedule, check. Recommended immunizations, check (phew!). Course maps… wait. “Aquathlon: 2.5 K run, 1000 M swim, 2.5 K run.” I had been training for the wrong event!!!
The next few minutes were a bit of a blur. There was swearing. And a beer. And many texts with my coach and friends, who pointed out that a) running 10K in the heat wouldn’t have been fun anyway b) I’ve already practiced swim-run transitions a lot this summer c) the swim is still relatively long so this is good for me d) maybe everyone else was surprised too. (Spoiler: no, no they were not.)
So there you go, nearly a year to plan and I still managed to be surprised by the most basic of details a few days before the race. Onward!