Step 2: Tell your coach/trainer/best friends/training partners that you’re thinking of trying a certain race. BUT YOU ARE NOT SURE. Maybe next year. You don’t want to set your self up for failure. But just in case you WERE thinking about this year, ask them -- repeatedly -- if they think it’s feasible. Do not register.
Step 3: Starting in November, map out the following year’s tri season building up to The Big Hypothetical Race. Practice carb loading. (Just in case.) Do not register.
Step 4: Work on your base while training for other races. Research training strategies. Do not register.
Step 5: Register for some of the early races. But not too many. You don’t want to get locked in.
Step 6: Have a heart-to-heart with a friend. Change your mind. Decide this entire 70.3 thing is not for you. Stress eat cookies while thinking about it and talking to your friends/coach/training partners. Ask them the same questions, different ways, at least three times. Do this until they want to slug you.
Step 7: Soul search. Then say: "You know what? I AM going to try this. So-the-fuck what if I'm the last person to finish?" Totally revamp the season’s plan, changing the goal race you’re maybe-most likely-absolutely going to register for. Move your timeline up a month. Do not register.
Step 8: Go to the race website. Read it for the eighth time. Start to fill out registration. Feel queasy. Close web browser. Forage for comfort snacks.
Step 9: Book a hotel room. Just in case. Cancel hotel room. Book ANOTHER hotel room at a different hotel that is cheaper. Continue to not register.
Step 10: Post surveys on social media to discuss merits of new hypothetical goal race. Go to Chicago Tri Club meeting to hear strangers discuss races. Re-plan season, but feel increasingly confident in your goal race selection. Think about all the reasons why you like Michigan. Do not register.
Step 11: Continue your base training. Open race website again. Fill out form. Do not hit “register.” Close browser. Have a drink.
Step 12: Buy $70 worth of books on Amazon about training for your race. Do not register. Then buy a new helmet that actually fits your head. Research nutrition. Research efficient cycling strokes. Watch YouTube videos of most efficient swim form. Feel slightly more confident. Do not register.
Step 13: Ask everyone you know who has some connection to triathlon to give you their opinion of the race you still have not registered for. Feel validated when they give you good feedback. Feel like vomiting when they do not.
Step: 14: Watch YouTube clips of the race you have not registered for. Watch the swim start. Watch the swim start again. Watch the swim start for a third time. Wish you had a beer.
Step 15: Get increasingly annoyed at yourself. Realize you are insane and may have exasperated everyone you know. Just rip the Band-Aid off already. Resolve to be less neurotic (as much as you can be) for the next seven months. REGISTER.