With no authority whatsoever, I've assigned labels to my activity levels:
"Training"--I have a specific race for which I am motivated to perform well. I most likely follow a plan that dictates my workouts. My exercise regimen covers 5-6 days a week of solid, purpose-driven workouts. I see improvement in my speed and endurance.
"Working Out"--I exercise 3-4 times a week. I break a sweat from time to time. I maintain my current fitness level.
"Random Bits of Movement"--Once or twice a week I find a window of opportunity to get out and move and I take it. I am slower than before but there's not much I can do about it at this point.
Approaching this race I hadn't had a training week in over four months, and the Random Bits outnumbered the Workout weeks by far. But it was important to me not to DNS (Do Not Start) this race. Most DNS's are due to injury or illness, but a few people get the bug to do a tri and sign up for one, but race day comes and they don't feel ready or haven't trained enough and they DNS. I've had a lot of life changes these four months, but I wasn't ready to become the person who signs up for races and then doesn't at least make a fool of myself on that course by attempting it.
The swim was shallow and choppy--most of it could be waded. I hadn't donned a swimsuit since September so this leg became how most people view it--the part I just needed to "get through".
The bike begins with a steep lumber up the side of a massive hill (or "cliff", hence the name of the race). I knew it was coming from my study of the race map the night before, but that doesn't mean I was ready. Thank goodness for low standards.
T2 flying dismount--perfect! It all came back, like (no longer) riding a bicycle.
Now the run...and mymap didn't say the first mile went up the same cliff as before. Blast. I resorted to walking portions of the hill, something I'd never done in a sprint before. It was worth it. It made the rest of the very scenic trail run slightly more enjoyable and the final downhill even sweeter. I charged to the finish line, pleased to be upright. The triathlete of 2009 would have been disappointed in the final time, but in 2010 all that matters is no DNS.