Triathlon Season Approacheth

In two days I'll be kicking off the 2010 triathlon season with the Desert Triathlon near La Quinta, Calif.

This marks the start of my second full season in the sport, though I completed two triathlons in 2008.  At what point am I considered a grizzled veteran?  The Desert Tri, which brings together both the San Diego and Los Angeles triathlon clubs for a weekend of socializing and friendly competition, marks my eighth triathlon overall. Four sprints and three Olympic-distance events.  Maybe when I hit 10 triathlons I'll attain non-noob status, as the video game kiddies like to say.  Sufficient XP gained, Trophy unlocked.

I'm pretty surprised at how mellow I am about the whole race thing.  I remember just a couple years ago feeling so incredibly jacked up for my first triathlon, the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.  I even got a hotel room -- 30 minutes from my own townhome at the time -- to make sure I arrived on time to the event with a few minutes extra sleep.  Hard core, or just plain ignorant? Probably a little bit of both.

Tonight while at work, I casually flipped open my email inbox to see A) where the race was being held, B) how to get there, C) remember the hotel I booked and D) oh yeah, what's the course look like?  It would be nice to know the distance associated with the race, too.  Since it's a sprint, though, I didn't figure it would matter much given all the training.

How times have changed.  I remember last year my IT bands would lock up during the 10k run portion of the Olympic triathlons.  Usually around the fourth mile, my legs would start to give out.  I could barely walk after the events.  Now, it seems like I don't even get warmed up until around the fifth mile.  I'm eager to see how I feel during Sunday's race.

I've already proven to myself that the training is paying off in terms of my physical conditioning and mental outlook, so I really don't have the usual pre-race jitters of any kind.  Instead, those feelings are replaced with total relaxation, almost as if it's just another fun weekend of training and socializing.  I'm not sure what to do with that.  I'm used to everything I do taking on a deeper meaning of some kind, a greater significance.  But, honestly, even though the Desert Triathlon marks the start of the 2010 triathlon season, it's a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things.  On one hand, I'm proud of myself for having such a relaxed and detached perspective.  On the other, I miss the giddiness of wondering what to expect out of the race and out of myself.  I miss the excitement of trying something new, of pushing myself to the limits.

Then again, it is early.  It's only Friday night. After a day off from training.  Chilling out on the couch playing games in the dim light of my living room.

If I'm writing the same type of blog on Saturday night, then maybe I've really changed.

I have a feeling I'll be jacked up by then.

263 days and counting.