I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘bike’

Triathlon and Error

I have a race on Saturday, but I’m not going. 

It’s not because I don’t think I would perform well enough, or because I don’t feel well, or even because I’m nursing my injuries. I simply don’t feel like doing it. This makes FOUR triathlons that I’ve registered to do and changed my mind. 

It’s not as though money is no object for me. Each time I’ve clicked submit, even just 3 weeks ago for this coming race, I was looking forward to racing and training. I’ve made it to the pool, spin class, and run regularly since – and enjoyed it. It just doesn’t feel exciting for me to be racing triathlon at the moment. 

I feel like I registered for this last one because somewhere in my mind I believe that the triathlon magnet I put on my car is going to spontaneously combust if I don’t race soon. I genuinely feel taunted by it when I see it, as though I should replace it with a running one because it seems to be more accurate at the given moment. 

What is REALLY stopping me? Not gonna lie; I really don’t like those shark reports I’ve been hearing. It WOULD be my luck to be excited to make my return to racing and then get my ass bitten. It’s more likely that it’s just my nerves. I really have no reason to expect that I wouldn’t be okay, but it just has been so long since I’ve gotten my feet wet. Heh. I didn’t want the monster to grow, and I still don’t, but I don’t see myself getting up at 4 AM to get to transition on time.

For now. 

This summer, I will have to tentatively sketch out the next year of my life. I really do not see myself NOT racing triathlon for another year. I suppose I underestimated the break I must need from it. Maybe (gulp) I need some people with whom I could race, even though I’ll be annoyed along the way. In fact, as soon as a certain person reads this post I know I’m going to hear it. “You should do x and y with me!” And perhaps I should. 

I really am unsure how I will know I’m really ready to dive back in (blast these accidental puns). Perhaps it is partial rebellion to having to schedule my life so far in advance. When racing was new, it happened that way because I couldn’t get enough of it. Could I handle a repeat of 2014, logistically speaking? Pretty sure that’s why I am at the chiropractor 3 times a week for now. I couldn’t. Now I must plan wisely in order to avoid injury, manage time well, and stay sane. 

I am sure I still have errors to make. Here is hoping that when my triathlon magnet blows up it doesn’t damage the paint. 

  

Lady J, You are (registered for) an Ironman!

266 days to figure out why the hell I signed up for this business. Probably should know before I get to the starting line. This list should grow often.

1. I’m not disciplined enough to stay healthy without a goal that doesn’t terrify me. Two years ago, the idea of losing 10 pounds and doing a 5k did the trick. Clearly I’ve had to up the meds.

2. I’m not promised anything in the future. I’ve got my health right now. May as well go big with it.

3. I’ve witnessed how it’s made other people around me stronger.

4. I get to grow with and toward some really amazing people.

5. Some annoying people will test me and that will help me become stronger as well.

6. I am curious to see how good of a swimmer, cyclist, and runner live in me. By following Coachie’s plan I will get to see all of those things.

7. I will have to ask for so much help. Anything that forces me to my knees is good for my proud ass.

8. I can eat a lot of food!

9. I am told I am stronger than I think.

10. It is highly likely that in 2016 my focus will change from becoming an Ironman to becoming an Ironmom. That’s pretty much the realest ish ever.

11. I am not usually a quitter.

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Seventy Point Glee! Race Report

The Swim

Man, was I thankful that I didn’t have to jump into the water. That’s some gangsta ish. That’s not how I roll. I sat on the dock and slid myself into the water. The girls went ahead of me but I just hung on to the dock. I was determined to go my own pace and I wanted to wait until I heard the horn.

My pace for the swim? 120 BPM.

After the horn, I turned on my mental playlist to John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. March tempo the whole way, baby. I know I can maintain that tempo comfortably. Oh, hey water in my left eye. Wasn’t expecting that. “I’ll be okay! I can see – where’s the first buoy?” I looked under the water and saw some creepy mossy looking business. Note to self – close eyes under the water. Blech. Oh, hi buoy! I settled into my rhythm and started chanting to myself. “Don’t forget to kick. Don’t forget to kick. I’m not scared. I’m not alone. Who’s not scared? Joan’s not scared. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.”

The water felt absolutely wonderful. I must admit – another reason I close my eyes under the water is because as I breathe on my right side and return my face to the water, I see the bubbles caused by my right hand and freak out a little. “What the hell is that?! It’s your hand, Joan. Chill out.” 🙂 The best part about closing my eyes is that my other senses heighten. There are not words that accurately describe how much I delight in the sound of my arm hitting the water. The depth reminds me of a bass drum. You know how a sista can’t get enough of that bass, riiiiiiggght?

The buoys changed color from yellow to orange. Progress! I started to hear people shouting. Tee hee. Maybe one of them is my Mom! I started to listen for “Go Jo!” Nope. Keep swimming. I saw some people standing on a dock and I swam that way. They pointed me around a corner. “Oh good! Not sure how I would get out of there.” Whoa. The first leg is done.

The Bike

In transition, I threw on my bike shorts over my tri shorts. You know – tryna protect mah girl for the 1% chance I become a mother to more than cats. As I turned onto the main road out of T1, there was a bit of an incline. “First hill! Nailed it!” I giggled.

If you don’t already know, Red Rocket and my relationship is just beginning to become less tenuous. Just to illustrate, in my last training rides before the race, I was excited to be able to signal turns. I can take my hand off the handlebars for more than a split second now! Smashing! What I’m saying here is that hydrating/getting nutrition while still riding is still out of the question for me at this point. I made a plan to stop every 30 minutes to drink and eat and not take more than a minute to do so. My first stop was uneventful. Sweet.

As I kept riding, I was feeling more confident. I took my right hand off of the handlebars and touched the water bottle. “Ermahgerd could this happen today?! Could today be the day that I drink and ride?!” Then I heard the voices of both Coachie and The Mentor in my head. “Nothing new on race day!” Come on. Could that really apply to drinking a little water on mah ride? I touched the water bottle again. I got a grip on it and pulled. It was free! I held it triumphantly – and quickly realized I wasn’t woman enough to try drinking from it now that I had it free. It was almost time for a scheduled stop, anyhow, so I pulled over to put it back. I always clip out with my left first and lean that way to get back on the ground. Aaaaand Red Rocket wanted to go to the right. “Shit. SHIT. SHIT!!!!” But I unclipped righty in time. A passing rider asked if I was okay. “I’m cool!” I replied. Thanks to my p***y like reflexes, anyhow. Moving on as originally planned – stop to hydrate. 🙂

Having those stops planned proved to be very helpful mentally. “I don’t have to ride for four hours. I just have to ride for 30 minutes – 8 times on a row. I can do that.” A couple of those 8 rides were REALLY hard. I was so thankful that my longtime friend had given me a heads up about this big ass downhill. He said that he saw people freak out and break going down and not have the momentum to get back up again. Suddenly, I felt myself going down faster than ever. I didn’t look down at my Garmin because I knew I would see a number that would make me freak. I pedaled through and shifted down like a boss. Then the equally big ass uphill came. I checked the Garmin. 6 mph, it read. If I weren’t breathing so hard I would have laughed. But I made it up the hill! The last aid station was just ahead. A man said that the worst was behind me. “You promise?! Don’t lie to me!” I said. “I promise!” He smiled.

I talked to God a lot on this ride. I sang myself songs. I said my personal chant to myself. “Pedal pretty! Pedal pretty!” I remembered to push and pull and listened to the sounds of the revolutions. Revolutionary, indeed. I found myself glad I was clipped in. Red Rocket and I bonded a lot. I’m not going to say I wasn’t glad to see the “Welcome to Georgia” sign indicating my ride was almost over but I wasn’t dead. Good thing – my run awaits.

The Run

After grabbing my CamelBak and changing shoes, I started to run. 5/1. Let’s do this. I felt good – at first. I was on the same 30 minute plan I had been on as I rode – nutritionally, anyhow. I can walk and drink like a freaking BEAST. Tee hee. After a mile or so I started to feel super drained. Then I looked down and realized I hadn’t taken off my cycling shorts in transition. Whoops! “That’s okay,” I thought to myself. “That’s not enough to stop me from finishing.”

I had seen some of the amazing group cheering for me as I ran. I smiled and exchanged some high fives. After I passed them, I thought, “Hmm. I’ll probably see them again. Maybe I could give them my shorts. Nah. I can finish with the shorts on.”

My pace got slower. And slower. Aaaaand slower. I passed the 3 mile mark and started thinking. “You know what? 60.2 is nothing to be ashamed of.” The two lap half-marathon was a bit of a tease, in that you see people headed toward the finish as you are on lap one. Some dude passed me and was like, “We can totally do this for twenty more minutes. Let’s go!” I grinned and said nothing – not because I was ashamed of being on lap one but I didn’t feel like hearing what was sure to be a patronizing response.

I saw the group again and stopped. “I left on my cycling shorts! Take them please!” I heard some dude shout, “Put your clothes back on!” Some chick passing said, “I’ve never seen anything like that. That. Is. Awesome.” I grinned and continued. I felt 20 pounds lighter and my pace picked up again. Rock on.

After about mile 4, some chick rolled up next to me. “How fast are we going?” My Garmin read about a 12 minute mile. We ran together for a bit and she asked if I minded if she stayed with me. “Nope!” I told her my 5/1 plan and she said that’s what she had been doing as well.

As we ran, I learned that this was also her first 70.3. Moreover, she also normally trains alone like Lady J and is a teacher like Lady J – an art teacher, even! Specialist triathletes unite! God sent me a kindred spirit for the last 10.1 – and man, did she help me. Yes, I still had to control what was going on in my own head. The rhythm of my chants helped for reals. Lady J can’t lie though, y’all. There isn’t anything in the world like leaning on someone and allowing her to lean on you. Some of those 5 minute intervals became more like 4/2. 3/3. It was getting done, nonetheless. After mile 12, we started strategizing our finish line pose. I would jump left, she would jump right. Amazing.

7 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. I ain’t mad. And you know what? I could do that again. With the same help, of course. Thanks again, Lord!

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Slurp: An Anniversary Story

I rode my bike today.

This should not be particularly noteworthy. I have registered for a triathlon, after all. It makes sense that I would prepare myself by regularly riding my bike, right? Especially because the second leg of the race comprises just under 80% of the miles covered. Alas – when was the last time I rode my bike before today? Uh. Some time in July. The evidence of my slackerdom was on my legs, as my triathlon tan had just about disappeared. Whoops!

Before I write about today’s ride, I’d like to reflect on the day she and I became one. On August 20, 2013, I handed a check to my fabulously patient bike shop manager. I asked my father to be a witness to the occasion (he’s an ordained minister and this union was KIND OF a big deal) and take pictures.

There she is; she likes food just like me

There she is; she likes food just like me

Money changes everything.

Money changes everything.

I had completed a duathlon on my bike from Christmas 1994 and envisioned myself getting fairly serious. I thought it prudent to purchase a road bike on which I could be more comfortable for longer distances. Just look at her. Ain’t she purty? I knew I could be proud to be seen with her. Red Rocket. That’s my girl, y’all. But, as with every relationship, nothing is perfect.

The clips.

I tried using clipless pedals and it was JUST. NOT. WORKING. I would just stare at her; say hi, and keep walking inside. I had had a goal of using them by my next race; an Olympic distance duathlon, but I wasn’t comfortable, so I rode with flat pedals. We still had a good time. I completed my first triathlon with the flat pedals as well. I started to feel better. I was clipping in successfully by my second triathlon in January of 2014. My mother even said we looked good together! It’s nice when Mom approves, amirite?!

But that wasn’t enough.

Apparently, she wanted her seat higher. Red Rocket is into legs and butts, I guess. “But then I can’t touch the ground when I stop!” I protested. What Red Rocket wants, she gets, I’ve learned. It’s the only way to peace. Still, passive aggressive partner that I am, I had her adjusted in early April and didn’t ride her again until my first Olympic distance triathlon at the end of the month. Whoops! We made it through, though. I was observed smiling many times on the bike course. We then spent a bit more time together, preparing for my next race in May. I rode her even faster and more confidently.

Then – summer. As I dealt with plantar fasciitis and Beethoven and them, I started neglecting Red Rocket again. Every time I turn around there is something else she “needs.” “Give me air.” “Get a flat kit.” “Spend time with me.” You know how it is. However, if you read my blog, you know how I am too. I’d often rather ignore a problem than deal with it.

Oh, Red Rocket. You’re so…complicated. I take you as you are, but you want me to learn how to use a pump. You want me to wash you. You want me to learn how to fix you in case something happens. You want me to KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU. And to top it all off – you want me to spend time with you at regularly scheduled intervals? I don’t know if I can handle this.

So on Wednesday of this week, when I arrived home from work, I said “Sup, happy anniversary, we’ll go out this weekend.” She looked dusty and sad. I’m living my life, man. I just ordered dinner for myself and went to spin class. That’s how I roll. Cold as ice.

This morning, I woke up, thinking it was Friday. “Gotta work out before I go to…dammit. No work. Long ride today.” As I prepared to leave the house, I didn’t smile once. I usually crack jokes to myself in the morning and laugh. Not so today. In fact, the first time I smiled was when I was on the highway and I thought I saw flashing lights behind me. Though I wasn’t speeding, I thought, “Yes! I’m gonna get pulled over and miss my group! Then I can go home and go back to bed! Points on my license > riding my bike.” Kinda sick.

Driving record unscathed, I reached my destination. I saw my dedicated Coachie about to embark on a 5710472037 mile ride. She hugged me and I confessed that my relationship was estranged. She didn’t beat me up, but she probably was just saving her energy for her own ride. I met my group. “Great, my two favorite things; being vulnerable in front of others and riding my bike. It’s gonna be a fantastic day.”

Off we went. Important takeaways:

1. Red Rocket really likes when I pump her tires properly. My last ride in July felt like hell because they were at 40 and 60 PSI. I’ve since learned (again) how to properly inflate them. All by myself! This ride just felt like hell because it was. But it was made less hellish by

2. Humans. Other humans. Other human triathletes who have real problems like I do but still are working them out. As much as I would like to not need other people, I needed them today. Some were even encouraging, and most were inspiring. Who knew? Everyone? Shut up.

3. I need proper pedicures for long rides. I just do.

36 days.

N.B. – “slurp” is the sound of my sucking it up. I’ve decided I want to survive the race.

I think I made a mistake.

Question: What’s a clear sign you aren’t having a good workout?

Answer: When you start blogging in the middle of it.

Yup. I’m a quitter. The mistake to which I refer is not today’s suckful workout. I’m talmbout this foolishness right here:

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What. Was. I. Thinking.

I barely know how my bike works. 13.1 miles on my feet wears me out by itself. The swim – eh. But for 70.3 miles I should feel better than eh. Moreover, my body is strong in relation to my mind. I am weak and this is not for the weak! You know what I found myself thinking during the workouts that I actually did this week? “I miss being 200 pounds.” I don’t think it was easier on my mind, and it definitely wasn’t easier on my body, but damn. I don’t think I’m cut out for this.

50 days.

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