FDR was Right!

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, 1933

If you have been following me for any length of time, it should come as no shock to learn that I have “issues” when it comes to bikes.  Some major mishaps in my younger years scared me more than was reasonable and I combined those experiences with a variety of other excuses to explain why I can’t ride.  I’m too fat big, I can’t see well enough, my balance stinks, etc., etc., etc.

When my friend loaned me her triathlon bike, I took it to the bike shop to be fitted and felt like an utter fraud.  I had no business putting my fat ass on that lovely ride.  So I didn’t.  I tucked it away in my treadmill room and refused to look at it when I was using the ‘mill. I wouldn’t even make eye contact.  Finally, in January, I had enough.  I was going to ride that bike, come hell or high water.

I jokingly said that I was “sneaking up on it” but I knew I had to make my own peace with it before I could ever ride it.  First I bought a trainer, set it up, and installed the bike on it.

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CycleOps Fluid Trainer

Then I learned how to inflate the tires.

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Don’t let the smile fool you.

I took it for a test training ride and I still felt like I was completely out of my element.  Next I bought a cadence sensor and installed that.  Took it for another ride.  Starting to feel better.  Then I rode some more.  After a 90 minute session, I decided that I needed to try it outside (duh, duh duuuh!)

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So scared!

I knew I needed some place that I could just focus on not falling down and not have to worry about cars or sudden hills or spectators so I took it to a nearby park and ride lot at 8:00 on Sunday morning – as close to deserted as anything in this area ever is.  To say I was scared to death would be putting it mildly.  I literally sat on the bike, hanging on to the side of my car, unable to go forward or even shift on the saddle.  I thought, okay, there are two ways this can go.  I can scramble off and run home with my tail between my legs, giving up on triathlons forever or I can ride the damn bike.  Guess which one I chose.

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I did it!

Not only did I ride it, I rode it in the aero position!  I did 5 miles around that parking lot.  I practiced braking and cornering.  Starting and stopping.  There was even a nice hill from the lower lot for me to practice my shifting.  I didn’t fall off.  I didn’t hit any parked cars (almost hit a parked commuter van but pulled it out at the last minute!)  I didn’t even hit the Metro bus that suddenly came barreling into the lot from a side road!

While I was riding, I was grinning like a maniac.  I felt light and free!  I couldn’t believe that I had allowed my own fear to hold me back for so long!  I knew about halfway through the ride that I needed to buy that bike and make her officially mine.  She was named Ruby before, a very nice, sweet name.  But to me, she is Kali – goddess of time, change and destruction.  Fitting as she his helping me destroy some more of my long held, and unfounded, fears.

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Kali’s most common four armed iconographic image shows each hand carrying variously a sword, a trishul (trident), a severed head and a bowl or skull-cup (kapala) catching the blood of the severed head.

Two of these hands (usually the left) are holding a sword and a severed head. The Sword signifies Divine Knowledge and the Human Head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha. The other two hands (usually the right) are in the abhaya (fearlessness) and varada (blessing) mudras, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshipping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and in the hereafter.
(Wikipedia)

Kali and I are going to do great things together!  I can’t wait until the next cold snap passes and we can go longer and start working on speed and distance!  I also need to practice the clipless pedals.  I decided that using flat pedals would be enough of a challenge for me on the first ride but I know I need to start working on those skills so the habits are ingrained early.

Onward and upward!

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Falling into place

Registration opened yesterday at noon for the Marine Corp 17.75K race which, like last year, was the “golden ticket” for the Marathon.  Last year it sold out pretty fast but since the Marathon is now a lottery, I knew it would be smokin’ fast this time around.  And… I had a meeting rescheduled for 11-12.  Nargs!  What to do??  I did what any sensible runner would do and excused myself 10 minutes early (it wasn’t a terribly critical meeting) so I could be at my desk by 11:59.  After a bit of fussing around to log in to the new registration site, my entry was processed at 12:06.  The race sold out at 12:09.  Holy moly!  Unfortunately, some people lost their slot literally as their credit card information was being processed.  So not cool.

But – I’M IN!  I will definitely be running MCM again this year and I can’t see what improvements I can make to my time.  I’m now filling out my calendar with all of the build up races I did (and enjoyed) last year – Revenge of the Penguins, Crawlin’ Crab, ATM, etc. – and suddenly I’m no longer drifting!

I have a lot of fun things going on this spring and summer – my first triathlon (and maybe more??), a Spartan Super, a Ragnar Trail relay – but I can’t wait to start my fall training!  Bring on the sweaty days and the long runs.  I’m ready!

(someone please remind me of this when I’m griping about the long runs and being too hot… 😉 )

Body Issues

I, like just about every woman I know, have major body issues.  I can’t remember ever actually liking how I looked.  In fourth grade, we were to wear shorts to school for spirit week and I was in near hysterics before leaving for school at the thought of everyone seeing my fat legs.  Last year, when planning my first obstacle race, the rest of the team was talking tank tops and I went for the full t-shirt so no one would see my fat arms. I feel that no matter how much I work and change my body, I will always see myself as fat.  Accurate or not, that is my self-perception.

In November, one of my crazier  more adventurous friends and I were talking and the Cupid’s Undie Run came up.  It is an annual Valentine’s Day weekend race run through a major metropolitan city in your underwear to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  Of course we decided to do it and were talking about wearing trench coats and calling ourselves the Flashers.

Then I saw Amanda Trusty’s Roar video (burlesque dancer – NSFW).
And I decided to ditch the coat.

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True
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My outfit – I went with fishnet stockings and the underwear are reversed so you can read the butt 🙂

So, despite the Snowpocalypse 2: The Reckoning that was happening on the east coast and the chance of freezing rain and the horrific period I was having (TMI, sorry), I stripped down and joined over a thousand other undie runners.

ImageNow, granted, some “liquid courage” was involved but, as I was talking to people and just hanging out before the race run, I was struck by how normal everyone was and how many were clearly just as stressed about stripping down as I was – even some of the hotties people with a more socially acceptable body type.  In the end, I decided that it didn’t really matter.  This is me. This is what I look like right now.  Am I satisfied with that?  No, not at all.  I know I can improve.  Am I going to continue to beat my self up over it?  I certainly hope not.

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I’m actually throwing snow in the air but maybe I’m letting go of some mental garbage, too

 This is me at this moment in time but it’s not all that I am nor all that I will become.