I trained for it the way I usually do, lots of swimming, running and biking - obviously - keeping my endurance up and my weight down. After all, I have to wear my special triathlon super-suit, which fits me like a Lycra glove, concealing nothing. On a side note, if you own a super-suit for triathlons, it is always perfectly acceptable to yell "Honey, where's my super-suit?" down the hall on the morning of the race. Anyway, for this race, I got my best time ever, speeding up dramatically on the bike and the transitions, and maintaining my time on the run. Unfortunately, my swim time was slow by about three minutes, so I'm looking to train smarter for that next time.
Still, I don't even feel that it was the training that made the difference this time. In fact, I chalk up this race's success to a dream I had the night before. It was the weirdest one I've had in a while, and I have some pretty weird ones. I don't know if it was the melatonin or the really good sleep or Providence, but it was so vivid and so encouraging, even though it didn't start out that way.
Before I describe the dream, I'd like to emphasize the fact that this was a weird one, and I really feel like it helped, so if any psychology majors out there find some aberrant meaning in it, I'd rather not know about it. It started out with me hanging out with Roy, a buddy from high school that I haven't seen since the first year of college. The two of us had been captured by Asian pirates, somewhere in the South Pacific, and were being held for ransom. In the dream, it felt as if we had been there for over a week already, locked into bamboo cages. From what we could tell, they were getting tired of waiting for a ransom that probably wasn't coming, and were planning to sell us as slaves. Sex slaves. Like I said, weird. After dragging us out of our cages and laughing at us for a while, they said that we were shipping out tomorrow, and the only way out of it was to fight the boss of the gang. If any of us could win a fight against the boss, we could go free, and take our chances getting back to town. Both Roy and I said we'd take the chance, until the boss came out.
Into the little dirt floored courtyard walks Chong Li from Bloodsport. If you've never seen the movie, shame on you, but he's the huge guy that almost kills Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds by stomping on his head. I've been scared of that guy ever since Enter the Ninja. He's just one of those actors who I'm sure is a really nice guy in real life, but just has that look that makes me wonder how his wife even sleeps in the same room with him. He comes out with his massive arms crossed over his massive chest, and all the pirates go nuts, yelling and cheering for him. My friend Roy freaks out and jumps back into his cage.
But I say to myself, "Take him on." I figure the worst that can happen is he kills me, and at least I'd go down swinging, if he even gives me the chance to throw a punch, that is. That's when the dream gets even weirder.
I duck the first couple of straight punches he throws, and then block a huge left hook. After about five more punches, I'm flustered and amazed that this guy can't seem to get a hand on me. Everything he throws at me, I easily get out of the way or block. This seems to go on for minutes before I even think to try and throw a punch myself. When I do, it's a left jab and a straight right, and both of them land flush on his jaw. They don't really hurt him at all, but they do back him up a step. He gives me the most hateful look, and then rushes back in. The fight seems to go on for hours in my dream, but the whole time, he can't seem to hurt me at all, and every single punch I throw lands exactly where I want it. He starts to get tired, and I feel invigorated the whole time. I wake up before the fight finishes, but I'm going to assume that I earned the respect of the pirates and got my buddy and myself out of a short life of sex slavery.
That dream just stuck with me the whole race. despite the slow performance on the swim, it was like I couldn't get tired. I kept seeing myself fighting that huge scary guy, and the feeling of power and control I had in the dream. Normally when I get out of the water, it takes me a while to gather my strength and start moving into the transition. This time, I hit the land and immediately started jogging towards the bike racks. I pushed that bike so hard that I felt a charley horse coming on, but just a few seconds of backing off, coasting, and flexing my ankle put me back in play, and I finished well. The run actually felt good, like a run on any other pleasant day. There is a part of the two lap race that runs through a wooded area, and the tired and lazy part of my body started saying, "You know, you could just walk through the woods for a bit, catch your breath, and then really burst out the other side and make a great finish video." But then the side of me that brought the pain to Chong Li said, "You know what else you could do, just pick up the pace and run this doggone race like a man."
When I checked my time and saw how much I'd improved, that I was now only three minutes off of my goal time of 75 minutes, and saw that all I had to do was swim as fast as I normally do to crush that time. I really felt the way I did in that dream. I don't know if it was me of God talking to me, but I really think it helped.
Now, if I could just find a way to stop thinking about all the psychological implications of a dream about sex slavery and kumite fighting.