Santa Barbara Tri: A, B or C Race?

In Training Peaks, my triathlon workout schedule manager, race days are indicated by little trophies with an A, B, or C on them. The Santa Barbara Triathlon is listed as a priority C, meaning it's essentially another training day that happens to be timed.

I'd like to believe I'll be able to keep that in mind when the starting gun goes off at 7 a.m.  But I know myself all too well.  Maybe you're beginning to know me too.

That C level priority is what dragged me out of bed this morning for a 6 a.m. swim and what compelled me to attend tonight's final Fortius-coached track workout.  If Saturday's race is "just another training day" then there's no excuse for me to blow off these last workouts due to the fatigue I'm experiencing.  That was my thought process throughout the day.  I wanted nothing more than to go straight home when I left the office around 5:30 p.m.  In fact, I debated doing just that throughout the commute.  There's the triathlon magazine web story I could be writing.  Or the packing I could be doing for Santa Barbara.  Or simply relaxing at home for an extended period, which hardly ever seems to happen now.

But the honest motivator was this: I knew that somewhere out there, someone competing in my age group this Saturday was training.  He was overcoming the heat.  The fatigue.  The excuses.  And If I didn't haul ass on that track -- perhaps against my better judgement -- then he was going to beat me by a few seconds in the race.

C-level race or not, I can't let that happen.

So, I ticked off two 400s, two 800s and another two 400s at a 6:00-7:00 minute mile pace along with a handful of striders and light lap-running.  Perhaps against my better judgement.  Despite my concerns, my heart-rate dropped quickly between laps, I didn't overheat nor did I exhaust myself.  Much like this morning's swim, where I tied my 100 PR at 1:25, I pleasantly surprised myself in the run.

And that's the gift I received for putting in the time today.  I had enough energy to perform at a high level for myself despite the fatigue and self-doubts.  Moreover, A, B, or C, level race, I know that by pushing myself just a bit further than I wanted to this week, I inched forward towards my ultimate A-1 goal: Ironman.

Let's see how I feel tomorrow morning!

86 days and counting.