Friday, May 16, 2008

Take It from the Pros

Here’s the thing about me. I’m a joiner. I rejected that label for a long time (read: the tumultuous, angst-filled teenage years) because I was, in fact, “too cool for the school.” Enter running. Running changed everything for me -- including, and maybe most importantly, it stopped me from trying to change me. Among other things, I accepted and embraced my desire to join, to be a part of something, to belong. I can explain it in many, many paragraphs and even more words, but I’ll spare you -- this time.

The truth boils down to this: I want community and camaraderie. I want a shared experience, and I want that experience to be about pain and pushing the limits and elation and all kinds of awesome.

That’s right. Pain. I said it.

This triathlon stuff is new to me, but I have so already drank the Kool-Aid. In other words, I’m way ahead of myself. However, I made myself one promise when I decided to do the triathlon -- do not spend money on tons of triathlon related shitz until you know you love it. No new bikes, no wetsuits, no $300 fees to join a training group.

No group?!?!

So, I’m left to my own devices deciphering training schedules, fitting in workouts, and figuring out my damn bike. Stupid fucking bike. But because I desperately want to join something, I’m supplementing my training with small group activities here and there -- like swimming lessons or the lecture for first-time triathlete wannabes I went to on Wednesday night.

It cost $10 -- the lecture did -- and while I feared it may be money not-well-spent, I was glad I went. I learned so much! First and foremost, I learned that I have no idea what I have gotten myself into. But I actually learned some other stuff too:

Panic Stroke
A whaaaaaa?

OK. So it didn’t actually occur to me that I might panic while swimming in open water. I mean, I could be the best gosh darn swimmer this side of the Mason Dixon line (I don’t know where that came from), but if someone kicks me the face, I could totally lose it. And even if I don’t lose it, the woman next to me could. Or the woman in front of me. And what the hell am I going to do to keep myself above water and (hopefully) moving forward when someone else starts flaying about a couple of feet away?

Breast stroke. I’ll do the breast stroke. I think.

Um. Hi. I’m Lou. Three time half-marathon finisher, one-time marathon attempter. Quick question: my wonderfully loving boyfriend keeps telling me that I’m totes crazy if I go in the water without a wetsuit. I keep telling him that’s he’s totes crazy if he thinks I’m going to buy/rent/put on one of those monstrosities. Who’s right?

He is. He is? Well, sort of. Ultimately, I can do whatever I want. But, the woman gave me a really good suggestion: Email the organizers and ask what the temperature of the lake has been the past few years. Then you can get an average temperature, and make a decision. If it’s lower than 70 degrees, wear a wetsuit.

Huh. OK. I’ll wear a wetsuit. See how that works? I will listen to a stranger, but not MM. Cute.

Bike Clips/Straps
You know how all those nutty cyclist folks show up to Spin class with the funky shoes that snap into the pedals and look all professional and stuff? And you know how those of us who are wearing our running shoes just “strap in” to the pedal? And you know when you bike for leisure, you just pedal and you don’t even think about clips and straps?

Soooooo… apparently those clips and straps aren't just there for decoration or to complement pro-cyclist dude’s neon spandex apparel. Nope. They actually have a purpose, and without getting too technical, it’s basically so your legs don’t have to work as hard. What does that mean? That means you’ll actually be able to run when you get off your damn bike.


Ohhhhhhh… Ahhhhh…That's right, you have to run after you bike.

So those were my three key takeaways other than all the fun transition stuff (swim to bike, bike to run). Luckily, I think I am going to be able to stick to my whole “Don’t go buying a lot of triathlon shit” rule. Why I am lucky? Racing bike with pedal straps? MM's got one. Wetsuit? MM’s got one. And because we are so close in height and -- ahem -- weight (oh shame!), I’m going to see if his stuff will work for me. And then, once I know I love it and decide that 2010 is my Ironman year, I’ll go buy my own.

What? Ironman?



Lindy said...

you shant ever hear me utter the word (words?) Ironman.

This side of the Mason Dixon line, or the other.


Kendra said...

Blake has all the fancy riding gear. Apparently its "necessary".

Roisin said...

Ironman = crazy town

RBR said...

I did my first triathlon on a circa 1987 bike, that spent the first 10 years after it was purchased at a garage sale, serving as my laundry line. I had toe cage thingies and rode it in my running shoes.

I did swim in a wetsuit, but to be fair the water was about 50 degrees and only polar bears and 65 year old nut jobs in Wisconsin swim in 50 degree water without a wetsuit.

the longest run I had EVER run (in my life) at the time of my first triathlon was 0.2 miles shorter than the triathlon run I would be running after a 24.6 mile bike ride, but you know what? I had a blast!

You don't have to have all the goodies (although I am certainly NOT opposed to goodies, *wink*) to do your first triathlon.

Sure you don't want to do an Ironman in 2009? I know this really crazy chick that thinks she can do one and would love some community. She is another former bad ass that is really a joiner too. ;o)

L Sass said...

Awesome! But I do think there are cheap solutions for these problems--rent a wetsuit and get straps instead of the expensive clip pedals for now. :) So you're not REALLY breaking your vow.

TravelGretta said...

I'm concerned about chafing.

Jaime said...

Oprah is doing a 21 day vegan cleanse... the website has some good receipes...