Monday, October 21, 2013


This summer this happened:

It's true.  After, promising, threatening, goal-setting, and several cajoling conversations from friends that thrive on time spent on two wheels on the triathlon course, I committed to a goal that's spent a lengthy amount of time parked in my brain and, more recently, on paper.

I purchased a bike.  A tri bike.

As a result of said purchase, this summer this also happened:

I'm currently all sorts of excited for a variety of reasons, in no particular order:
I have a tri buddy!  The beautiful, talented and tri-experienced LC (not Lauren Conrad, in case you're wondering) has committed to making the trek from the mean streets of #YYC to join me for this adventure.  Thanks, LC!  Nothing seals a friendship like 6 odd hours or so of sweating it out on a triathlon course. #miserylovescompany
Next, I'm certain that the cross training I will accomplish for this triathlon adventure is going to mean great things for my running goals: a sub 3 full,  and a consistent 1:25 half.  Yes it will and yes I can.
And also, new training, new adventure, new PEOPLE!  Look out #YEG triathletes, I'm here and I'm pumped.  Let's create some magic together.  Let's swim.  Let's bike.  Let's run.  Sometimes all at once, too. 

Mixed in with the excitement and the commitment and the planning, however, is a tiny bit of nervousness.  Maybe more than a wee bit.  Why?  The truth is, I don't know how to bike, at least not in the technical sense I need to if I am to complete a 90k pedal over the course of the tri.  I know how to bike in the sense that one gets on a bike and pedals forward.  But that's it.  That's all.

Shit just got real.  For real.

However, I'm a gal that likes a challenge, and this one is no different from any other seemingly daunting physical challenge I've undertaken in the past few years.  I know that I have great support from peeps that have danced this dance long before I decided to undertake it and I hope they're prepared to be hit by a barrage of endless questions in and around putting my ass on a bike and getting it all trained up by the 7th of July.  I have no doubt that I'll do the work and I'll get there, but, truthfully, one small item of concern continues to nag at my brain.

And that is, unlike the running and swimming portions of this race, the concern for the bike portion comes less from the training required and more from the idea that I am introducing a MACHINE into the mix.  A machine with parts like gears and brakes and screws that could fail at any given time on any given point of the ride.  A machine over which I have no control.  Repeat, zero control.  And this bothers me greatly. 

As I runner, I am seasoned and prepared to rely on my body, and my body only.  I know my body will preform if I train it to perform.  I know with certainty my body has done amazing things on the marathon course, particularly when my mind shuts down and I am lost in a continuous and beautiful moving meditation, guided only by the sound of my feet on the pavement and the flow of my breathing.   With the introduction of the bike, a certain amount of control is surrendered, and I've struggled to remove this doubting, negative thought from my brain.

And then I remember.  That this is what I know to be true: control is an illusion and none of us have it.  Not in any moment of any day.  The bike may fail during the tri, just like my body may fail during a marathon, no matter what I've done to prevent it.  The only option then, is the choice I have in how I show up in any given moment of any given situation, regardless of the circumstances that brought me to that point.    ALWAYS about the journey, NEVER about the outcome.  No matter if applied to a triathlon, a marathon or any situation in my life.

The real truth of it all for me lies in this.  I love to push myself.  I love to set a goal that requires my mind to get the fuck out of my way so my body can do the incredible things it was built to do.  I love the physical challenge that training for an endurance race of any kind will bring.  And I simply cannot wait to get lost in the training, whether its in the pool, on the bike or on the pavement.  That's it.  That's all. 

Great White North Tri.  January 1st training begins.  YES.

Until then, tri biking tips.  Hit me, triathlon friends.  I'm ready.


Dave Trumpour said...

- Get a professional bike fit first thing (if you haven't already).
- Fall in love with your trainer this winter. Spinervals and Sufferfest videos help to pass the time (or tv, movies, whatever works). Personally I find Sufferfest more interesting, but they're both beneficial.
- Your butt isn't going to be a fan of your bike off the start. Give it a month, and if it persists, many bike shops will let you borrow other saddles to try for a week.
- Try and stay aero as much as you can. It's tough and a bit painful on the neck and shoulders at first but practice on the trainer to get used to it. Not only is it better aerodynamically but it saves your running muscles.
- (From experience) Learn how to change a flat. It's much easier to struggle in the living room than on the side of the road!

Of course everything is different on the road, and especially in a race, but the time spent on a trainer in January is just as important as the time spent on the road a few weeks from a race. Congrats on signing up, I think you're going to love triathlons!

Columbus Runner said...

Just checking up on my NYC Marathon racing buddy. Wow, a triathlon? Cool. It's good to break things up from time-to-time. I think triathletes are the best conditioned endurance athletes, but tend to go a little overboard with their Ironman tattoos :-) Best of luck! Derek

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Anonymous said...

Dave T nailed it! Get a Sufferfest video or two, and hook yourself up to a trainer. It might actually be fun once you get your ass callous built up.

One tip re the tri bike. When the spring comes and you get out riding with friends, they won't appreciate it if you're in the aero position and they're all on standard road bikes. Tri bikes are really not meant to be ridden in packs and if you do, you should be ready to brake.

Another good idea would be to enter a sprint or Olympic tri before the GWN. You'll get a better feel for swimming in bunches, water exits, transitions, bike drafting (or not) and that extra-special weird sensation in the glutes when you jump off your bike and attempt to run.

Have a great one!