Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ramblin' Rose - Where clunky bikes and doggie paddles make the best stories....

So, September was a big month for Team Peeta.  Graham finished the half iron distance.  Jyl swam with the fishes (and a dead whale?) in Boston Harbor.  And me?  Well, I tri'd the swim bike run thing at the Ramblin' Rose women's beginner triathlon.  You know, to see what all this triathlon hub bub was all about.  I decided back in July that I would do this.  You know, when I had a peg leg.  Because of course that's when we come up with all our goals and grand plans...when we're injured and can't do anything else but think.  So, it was then that it was decided that this 250 meter swim, 9 (ish) mile bike and a 2 mile run would be in my future.  And futures become the present in the blink of an eye!

Actually, this was why I started this love/hate relationship with swimming.  It took me just about a year, but I graduated from back floats and doggie paddles to actually looking like I know what i'm doing....kinda.

Biking?  Well, you never forget, right?  So, I thought I'd just take my mountain bike that I hadn't ridden in a year (and never on the road).  Should be okay, right?  I mean it's got two wheels, handle bars and a seat.  A bike is a bike, right?

Running?  I can do anything for 2 miles.  That's what I kept telling myself anyway.

So, on a dark Sunday morning in September, I woke up well before dawn, put on a borrowed tri suit (thanks Lori!), ate my English muffin and peanut butter with honey, loaded up the beast bike and my bag on my jeep and off I went.  Two pretty awesome ladies, good friends and fine athletes came to be my "crew" and cheer me on.  Rebecca beat me there, arriving before 6 a.m. to help unload and carry gear to the transition, Maggie came with coffee and bagels with cream cheese.  I had to wait for my bagel post-race.

It was a chilly morning.  Poor Rebecca, I kept throwing stuff at her to hold and to carry; clothes, phone, water, cap and goggles!  I was so fidgety, we both thought it best I get in the pool to do a length or two while it was open for warm-ups, just to calm the nerves a bit.  Finally the hour or so of waiting was over.  It was time for me to get to the race briefing and then line up for the swim.  It was Go-Time!

Damn I make a swim cap look good.
I felt confident.  I had worked so hard at this swim thing.  Coach Sarah thought I could put in a really good time.  I doubted her when we first talked about it, but I slowly began to believe her.  I still had nerves though.  I've never swam with people chasing me before.  After a bit of a wait, it was my turn to hop in and push off.  And me thinks I pushed off a little too fast.  By the third length I was starting to doubt I could keep the pace I was on.  I told myself that I could slow down a bit, it was okay!  So I did.  Too much.  At the wall at a lane change, I glimpsed like four caps in my lane.  All bearing down on little 'ol me.  Time to pick it back up.  So I did, but unable to get my breathing rhythm back I had a little bit of a freak out.  I ended up at the wall for a good 45 seconds to a minute trying to get my bearings.  All the while, cap after cap after cap went by.  Finally I was ready to get this thing over with, and then I realized I only had one more length to go.  SERIOUSLY??  YOU COULDN'T HOLD IT TOGETHER FOR ONE MORE STINKING LENGTH???  Boy was I angry.  I got out of that pool and made my way to transition, ripping my cap and goggles off and muttering choice words the entire way.  I hoped I used my inside voice, but seeing the looks on some faces, I'm sure I cussed in front of children.

I have no words
for this picture.
I think I yelled at myself the entire way to my transition area.   Things like "this is so NOT fun," "this absolutely sucks," "what on earth are you doing," "just quit and put yourself out of this misery!" I think that was the last thing I said before I got on my bike.

Oh, the bike.  I pedaled my little heart out.  I don't think I ever STOPPED pedaling.  And still I was getting passed.  Passed like I was standing still...or going backwards!  All that kept going through my head was "do I really suck that bad?"  I got decimated!  I think I may have passed one person, only to mess up a gear on a coming hill and she got me right back.  But there was one fleeting moment when I wasn't cussing or hating on the world in my complete loneliness and discouragement when it was actually pleasant.  Riding, the wind in your face, the landscape.  And then moment was broken as the words "ON YOUR LEFT" cut through the air like a knife in my back.  "yea yea...on my left.  Don't worry sweetie, I'll get you on the run."

Props to Maggie for her
mad photo skills!
I think these shades make
me look fast.
I don't know how many of you have tried running after spending 9 (ish...i think the course was short) on a bike pedaling your little heart out.  If you haven't had the pleasure, let me tell you that you actually have to tell your legs to walk.  After a wobbly 1/2 mile or so, I found my sea legs.  2 miles at 16 minutes 25 seconds, and a bunch of passes later, I was DONE.  It was over!  I'd never been so happy and angry at the same time.

Rebecca and Maggie were waiting for me at the finish...

Crew:  "How was it?"
Me:  "It sucked."
Crew:  "Ready to do it again?"
Me:  "Let me see how different a road bike is, and maybe then we'll talk."

And then I had the best damn bagel and cream cheese EVER.

1 comment:

David said...

Hope, do you like the music of Chris Rea? An awesome British guitarist and singer song writer.

On YouTube there is the most amazing motivational Tri video ever.

Its in 5 parts and by shear coincidence I happen to have the full thing too, so could give you a DVD with it on. Watch the whole thing, laugh, cry and enjoy the music and then the finish.

A New Zealand lass gave me a VHS copy years ago when I was into and loved triathlon.

You'll never do a tri again without the music going through your mind and you're GONNA LOVE IT!