Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Inspiration - Part IV

Alright, I promise this is the last installation in this series. Who knew it would take so long to talk about this. When we left off, our heroine was just exiting the T1 transition area and setting off on her 56 mile bike trek!

What? It sounds a lot more dramatic than how it actually happened, which is this: I got out of the water and almost fell back in because my legs felt like jelly. I finally regained my balance, however, and booked it for the sandy shore and transition gate. Once I made it to my spot I yanked on my shoes. Pretty sure I even skipped the socks part of this exercise (as if the extra 10 seconds really mattered). I dried off, put my GUs and water bottle in my butt pockets, made sure my stuff was in the bag and strung up on my rack, and headed out. Jeremy filmed me running out, which was half exciting and half embarrassing as I had a massive wedgie.

I mounted my bike and settled into the ride with the full knowledge that there was probably a maximum of twelve people behind me in the entire race. I was a little embarrassed by this, but not too much. I had to focus on the cutoff at that point. So I rode and rode, and watched as I was slowly passed by each of the riders behind me. For the first two hours I just chugged along and, while the cutoff was at the back of my mind, it wasn't a pressing concern. I figured the four and a half hours I had would be plenty. It wasn't until about 2.5 hours in that I started doing mental calculations of my current pace and the distance I still had to cover. I just kept telling myself to push harder and make the cutoff even though a sinking feeling had begun to creep over me.

I won't go into some of the sad details of the rest of the race, though I will admit that I'm not above grunting and screaming my way up a massive hill. Let's just say it wasn't my finest hour (or five). Finally, I was pulled from the course at mile 47.

As much as I hated not finishing, it was a huge lesson in failure for me. Normally when I fail at something, I become intimidated by that activity. Not this time. I couldn't stop thinking about all the things I needed to do to get better and finish. And while my first instinct was to sign up for the next 70.3 race I could find, another part of me said to wait until next year so that I could not just be ready, but do well. I'm still struggling with this dilemma.

So the point is, I failed. But I can't wait to jump right back in (and on).

That sounds like a really good blog post ending, but I still have things to say so I guess it will be wasted. Once again, it's really early in the morning. But I decided that I really need to develop a structured training plan that incorporates swimming, biking, running and weight lifting. It's no longer enough to just do whatever, whenever. Triathlon is too demanding for it and if I don't have a schedule to stick to, I'm much more likely to either blow off a workout or water it down. There are a few ways to do this. One is to do lots of research and develop one myself. It's not an altogether terrible option but, let's face it, I'm not exactly the most qualified person to be doing that sort of thing. Another option is to join a triathlon team. I found an all-women's one called Team Lipstick. I'm looking into joining because their training program seems really comprehensive and I'm intrigued by the all-female aspect. Although it would preclude me from meeting guys, it would also provide a more appropriate level of support than a typical team, most likely. Regardless, I think it's worth a shot.

In other news, I'm starting to look at upgrading (or purchasing for the first time) my gear. My bike is a piece of crap, but I don't currently have the resources to invest in good bike, which would cost at least $1200. I need to talk to someone at a bike or tri shop about adding aerobars and clip-on pedals. At some point, I'd also like to get a wetsuit and bike computer. Triathlon is an expensive sport.

On the running front, training for the marathon is in full swing. The Queens Half Marathon was last weekend and it went really poorly due to a combination of circumstances, not least of which was that I just wasn't prepared. But I plan on getting better and more disciplined. Just have to work out some of these kinks. This weekend is the NYRR Sprint Triathlon. It should be interesting to see how I do. Last year was terrible, and while I don't expect to place at all, I do hope to perform markedly better.

Well I'd better quit. This is getting long and I have logistics to work out!

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