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Setting Expectations

July 3, 2010 Family, Fear, Fido, Fitness, Fun 1 Comment

Greetings from Vancouver!

It has been quite a trip getting here, but we finally arrived around noon today. I am a person who generally likes to know what’s going to happen (except when I go through a haunted house, which is an entirely different topic), and this venture has had its ups and downs related to my expectations being set and met. Let’s begin:

Our plan was to leave on Thursday afternoon. Greg gave me a typical window of opportunity: “We’ll leave at 2PM, plus-or-minus two hours after that.” So, knowing Greg — and how busy he is at work — I figured we’d leave at 4 PM or shortly thereafter. It was actually a good thing I was erring on the later side, as my day had gotten away from me as well and I wasn’t ready until about 4 PM. However, when Greg wasn’t even home from work at 4:30 and he still had a bunch of packing to do, I started getting antsy. When he hit the door around 4:45, I knew we’d have to wait until at least 7 PM to miss rush hour traffic. In addition, he immediately laid down on the couch to nap because he wasn’t feeling well.

I was admittedly grouchy. If only he had set my expectations around, oh, 4 PM when he was leaving work to say, “We’re not going to leave until evening. And by the way, you’re driving because I’m sick.” I hoped this would not set the tone for the whole trip. Let me be the first to tell you that a week is a long time to hold a hollow chip on your shoulder.

We finally got on the road at 7:30 PM and I was behind the wheel. I pretty much never drive on any of our endeavors, and I very rarely drive at night. But, duty called as Greg was really feeling rotten. I was glad he was my wingman for the triathlon so a sick Greg is better than no Greg. Note: Greg is also my bike mechanic. We made it ~200 miles to Redding, CA and found our way to the Motel 6 there. These are not luxury accommodations, but we knew we’d be there only to sleep and they take dogs with no questions asked (and no additional fee). Not knowing if Greg’s illness was food-related or a bona fide bug, we slept in separate beds.

We were on the road by 8 AM on Friday with the intention of making it to Seattle for our overnight stop. It was a reasonably uneventful day. We stopped at Shasta Lake for a quick bite of breakfast and to stretch our (and Argus’) legs a bit. I did a great job of packing a cooler and snacks (if I say so myself), so we lunched on-the-go. We hit Portland as rush hour was getting into full swing — along with a heavy rain — so we took a scenic route along Highway 30 to get out of the stop-and-go mess. Greg’s stomach was still giving him trouble, so we opted for another cheap night at a Motel 6 and the provisions we’d brought from home for dinner. Greg’s fever broke in the night and he woke up drenched. I was thankful for the separate beds! Again, we were up and on the road by 8 AM.

We used Greg’s phone as a modem connected to a laptop in the car to assess the border traffic and potential wait times. Expectation setting at its finest! Luckily, it’s Independence Day weekend and way more people were headed into the US than leaving it this morning, so we sailed through customs in under 5 minutes. We didn’t get a very warm welcome from our border guard, but we were happy to have arrived just the same.

We made our way easily to the Cascadia Hotel, the host hotel for the triathlon. It’s a nice hotel and the staff has been very accommodating. We had them hold our bikes in the lobby while we unloaded the rest and had some lunch. I wanted to do a little reconnaissance on the bike route before packet pickup and a “mandatory” meeting at 4 PM at the transition area. Argus was nervous about the elevator the first couple of times, but he’s an old pro by now. Everyone stops to pet him and give him love everywhere we go, so he feels very welcome in Canada!

But back to me and my expectations…

The race site was not clearly marked and it was difficult to find the transition area in the plethora of seaside parks and trails. We parked and headed out on our bikes to ride the the course. I wanted to go out and finish one lap of the course. It’s a 14-mile loop that we will complete four times tomorrow. My legs were stiff and this bike ride was much-needed to get the blood moving again. I’m sore from the workout I did on Thursday morning and sitting in the car for so long. Luckily, it is as flat as I had expected (read: hoped) it would be. It isn’t a rough ride and I think the turns and turnarounds will not be so tight that I’ll have to slow down to a crawl. I didn’t learn anything new at the mandatory meeting. I stopped a race worker to get specific instructions on the swim entrance/exit and the transition area entrances/exits. I just want to know what to expect! Satisfied, I dropped my bike in the transition area along with ~1000 other bikes and we headed back to the hotel.

We’re just back from dinner — a burrito. I’m a known quantity with Mexican food. I know, it sounds very iffy to eat a bunch of beans and cheese the night before a race… but I eat a lot of Mexican food and it’s my go-to cuisine. My food consumption is going to take a nose-dive after this triathlon, so I’m living it up while I can!

I’ll be up at 4:30 AM tomorrow so I can eat breakfast, do the appropriate bathroom activities, get to the race site, and prep my transition area before my 6:30 AM start time. It’s already too late for me to still be working on this!

I feel pretty good going into this race. It’s been my life’s work for five months and I’ve done all the training I can do. Was it enough?

Hmmm… What are my expectations for tomorrow’s finish? I’d like to finish without wanting to kill myself and do it in under six hours.

Stay tuned!


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  1. […] expectations going into the race were to finish in under six hours and not want to kill myself in the process. […]

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