Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.  – Yoda

If you don’t get the title of this post, I’m sorry you missed the 1980s. So many great movies, with the worst soundtracks EVER.

So let’s get right to it.

I did something really stupid. And now I am afraid of actually going through with it.

I have been accelerating my goals schedule. This is a good thing. Instead of doing a relay team for the Lewisburg Sprint triathlon in August, I plan to solo it. I have plenty of time.

But, never content to do things at a reasonable pace, I also registered for the Danville Area Community Center Sprint Triathlon. The date: April 30.

Yeah, I’m in over my head here.

A sprint triathlon is typically a 500 yard swim, followed by 12 miles on a bike, then a 3 mile run. The 2 I have listed are both 300 yard pool swims. That’s no big deal, a basic warm up for me now. And I can run a 5k without dropping over, albeit slowly.

So a 12 mile bike ride should be no big deal, right? Well, if it were on a flat track, then no, it would not be. But as this is Pennsylvania, there is no such thing as a flat 12 mile bike course anywhere.

I haven’t even been on a 12 mile bike training ride. And I have seen the course for this, as I drove it on Monday. It is ridiculous. It’s one long flat ride, with one huge climb in the middle, then down rapidly, then flat again. You can see it here. That bell curve is nothing to mess with. I drove it. I can’t imagine it is only less than 600 feet gain. And the beginning and the end of the course don’t seem to mention the steep downhill to and from the community center to market street.

The bottom line is, I am so dead, it’s beyond funny. I am afraid I am going to end up dropped over on the course. I am afraid I will be the first idiot to register a DNF at a tiny little sprint triathlon, not for an injury, but for total lack of preparation. It’s one thing to go slowly, it’s another to not even get up the hill.

But most of all, I am afraid of the alternative: not showing up at all.

When I was in Boston with Olivia, she had a serious case of stage fright the afternoon before we went on stage for competition. And we were very well-rehearsed. I basically sold it to her with this: if we don’t do it tonight, and you decide tomorrow that you are ready, it’s too late. I don’t want you to be upset that you didn’t try, and missed your chance.

Well, I have plenty of chances to work up to a sprint triathlon distance, so that doesn’t exactly translate to me. But I am all about testing my limits right now, and the worst that happens here is I don’t finish. Actually, scratch that – the worst that happens is that I walk half of the hill, and end up taking 4 hours to finish a sprint tri.

But now I have no choice. I have to show up. I just have to. I’m totally under-prepared, and it was foolish to sign up. But that’s exactly where I found myself at Snowfest, and I survived.

I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect. But fear doesn’t always have to lead to the dark side. I hope it leads me to keep moving, no matter what.

I should mention that the end result of the conversation with Olivia was that we did indeed perform that night, and took 3rd place in a competition with some seasoned professionals, essentially equivalent to “making the podium.” In the race I am running, I never expect to be on a podium, but merely to earn that finisher’s medal. If I do, I’m still ahead of the only person I am racing: the old sedentary Andy. I plan to leave him on that hill next Saturday, and live to tell about it.


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