Six Days

My first (super) sprint triathlon is in  6 days!  Gulp! How the heck did that happen?  I am so thankful that it is the super sprint distance (read: very tiny.  If a Sprint is analogous to a 5K then a Super Sprint is the kids’ fun run.) Even though it is a short distance, I am still extremely nervous!

We were discussing it at dinner last night and we all decided that the run would be a piece of cake. Did I mention that this is a reverse tri so the run will be first?  It is 1.5 miles and I’m not worried about that at all.  I just need to warm up properly before hand since it will be so incredibly short.  Even the 200 yd swim is not looming too large in my head.  Little Runner came to my swim session on Saturday and saw me really swim for the first time.  He was pretty surprised!  Up until then, he has only seen me goof around in the community pool.  We both agreed, however, that the crawl is by far my best stroke.

No, my biggest worry is the 4 miles on the bike.  Due to the Winter That Will Never End, I have only been able to ride outside twice.  I cannot clip in and out of my pedals.  Heck, I still have a problem even starting!  So, what am I going to do?  This is such a short race, I need to just pull the band-aid off and get it done.  The bike course is pretty flat but there are a lot of corners and U-turns.  I might be able to get into my aero bars but I’m okay if I can’t.  I’m also not going to worry about bike shoes and clips.  I plan to run in my Asics and keep them on for the ride.  In the first transition, I will only need to switch my bib to the back, put on my helmet, and get my bike.  I will likely lose a lot of time on the bike leg but I’m okay with that.  (sorry, just trying to beat that through my brain)

Breath in. Breath out.  It will be okay.  At least I am going in to this with just one truly horrible weak spot. The bike is taking longer than I had hoped but I know I will get there by summer.

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Never give up

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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!

I’m So Excited!

[I was going to embed the Pointer Sisters video here but I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea.  Have you watched that lately? Ahem!]

One of my goals for this year was to do a triathlon. I hemmed and hawed, signed up for a clinic, etc. but I didn’t have a bike.  I thought that was it until my enabler friend graciously said she would loan me her bike.  I thought it was just a road bike.  No, it’s a freaking Cervalo!

Similar to this
Similar to this

That bike freaked me out! I felt I was too big, too clutsy, too inexperienced, too everything for that bike. So, after taking it in for a professional fitting, it sat propped against the wall in my treadmill room. Staring at me.  It got to the point that I wouldn’t look to my right when I was on the treadmill but I could still feel it silently judging me.

Last week I was walking on the ‘mill (damn PF!), listening to Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run and staring down The Bike.  Finally, I had enough!  I decided that I WILL be doing triathlons next year, come hell or high water!  I had finally reached my internal tipping point. Even though I said I wanted to do triathlons earlier, I was too consumed with MCM to make the full commitment.  Now, though, I’m all in!  The next day I asked the awesome Swim, Bike, Mom if she had any coaching slots left and she replied that she had one left!  I kinda believe in signs like that so I immediately sent in my coaching fee.  I received some funny looks when people learned I had hired a coach for a super sprint (the absolutely shortest distance) but I really need that one-on-one interaction that I haven’t yet found in other places.  I can read until my eyes fall out but unless I have someone to verbally walk me through things (and give me hints like “practice clipping into and out of the pedals while you’re in the house”!), I’m going to wind up frustrated and overwhelmed.

Right now, though, I’m riding high!  I’m looking forward to starting my training in January and I can’t wait to see what challenges it brings!

Fitting

Yesterday I had a fitting at the local bike shop for a super speedy Cervelo time trial bike with aerobars. Similar to this:

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Talk about bringing a gun to a knife fight!
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Let me back up.  When I decided I want to try a triathlon, I posted this on Facebook and said I would somehow find a bike. A friend immediately popped up with an offer to use her bike.  I thought it was just a hybrid/road bike – maybe a Schwinn.  Uh, no.  This is a serious tri bike with the special aerobars (which scare me a bit) and shifters (which I do like).   It is one sexy bike!

The first order of business was to get me fitted for the bike.  My friend is a bit shorter so I stopped in to the bike shop last night to have everything adjusted. In work clothes. And flats.  Duh!  Of course the padding on the shorts and my type of shoe would make a difference!  The woman who helped me was super nice but I can just imagine what she was thinking!  She hid it well but I know she thought I was all sorts of crazy.

She raised the seat and flipped the stem so she could raise the bars higher (otherwise the incline from back to front was like 15 degrees!)  Unfortunately, the front brake cable is too short now and this brand uses a special type so they are ordering in a longer one.  It won’t be in until next Tuesday.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated by this bike!  I know I need to be confident or I will have problems but I’m just not there yet.  I have an uneasy relationship with bikes.  I didn’t learn how to ride a two wheeler until I was 8 or 9 (I think because of my eyes) and have had various mishaps over the years (almost falling off the sidewalk in front of an oncoming truck was a big one!).  I think I had better wear knee and elbow pads, in addition to the helmet, for the first few rides!  I am definitely starting slow.  I will take the bike to a nearby park at the crack of dawn so I can ride on the access road around the park before it gets too busy – and there are too many witnesses to my blunders.  Hey, I wonder if I could have the bike shop add training wheels??

Onward and upward!  Tri clinic on Sunday where I will get to show off my lack of swimming skill!