I did this little thing weekend before last that has confused some people.
I entered a tri (triathlon). I know; I had to look it up in 2004 too. Don’t feel ashamed for not knowing.
I sort of felt that I should probably try one out if I am going to continue to poke fun at my tri friends…
…and most of you will be happy to know that I still intend to do so.
So long as there are events with aero bars and running and until the people running are doing so whilst carrying said aero’d bikes, I will poke fun at tris.
And there you have it.
That said, I am likely to do a few more tris (as I mentioned last year) because my littlest, sweet Sass, likes them and it is the only sport she has ever been even vaguely interested in so I am supporting her on this.
So that I do not develop a twitch about the whole “swim-bike-run” thing, I have decided that I will do mostly off-road tris, specifically XTERRA events.
Simple. I have no interest in swimming far distances or running far distances and the likelihood of having some mud at an XTERRA is far greater than at an Ironman.
Don’t get me wrong, I am exactly the type of personality who will do an Ironman event at some point just so I can say “suck it” to that one former Ironboyfriend who told me I was “too slow to get a road bike” and who now has man-titties.
…but for now, I still choose the dirt with a side of swim and jog.
So, for these reasons I did a little indoor tri the first weekend in March.
I won’t lie, I had stopped swimming the first week of February and had only run about once per week leading up to the event…because that is how I roll. Slowly and in my comfort zone.
I stopped swimming because I am an ass. As soon as I started making progress and relaxed, I let some stupid shit someone said to me wreck my head and I just stopped.
Once this happens, trying to get me to do something I do not want to do is like trying to walk a cat on a leash in a downpour.
(I would rather that you did not ask how I know this.)
I am one of the most stubborn people you will ever encounter when I want to be. If I don’t want to be, you will feel as if the Universe has kissed your eyelids with a million sun-filled kisses.
So here we are on the morning of the event and because I was pretty smart and rode my bike the prior day with one of those Ironpeople in the cold and wind after staying out way too late the night before that, I of course had swollen glands and felt sickish.
I knew (KNEW) that regardless of said sick, I had to go do this tri thing because every one of the tri folk who know me knew I would find any (and every) excuse to skip this event.
I mean come on…Why would one ruin the zen that is a bike ride by RUNNING directly after it?!?!
I didn’t even run as a kid.
When I played softball that one year, I purposely/accidentally flung my bat after each hit so I would get thrown out of the game and not have to run with witness.
Once while running to first, I tripped and fell and was teased relentlessly and that was that with the running. I was 11.
(Technically I did that very same thing when I was 16, but because I had boobies by then, the boys were all in a trance and no one noticed…sort of.)
So back to the tri…
While I am not a runner, I do not get freaked out by runs anymore and know I can do whatever distance.
Sure, I may not walk the next day, but I can and will do it.
Swimming was/is another animal entirely.
I could and did swim like a fish when I lived in Florida all those years and did not forget that when I moved here. The problem is that fish swim under water….as they should.
There are no free-styling, breast-stroking, butterflying fish. They just effing swim.
I can do that. I used to surf and snorkel. I would spend HOURS in the water and never get tired.
However, it’s not “cool” to swim like that in a triathlon, so one has to learn a “structured swim”.
Yeah, I do REALLY well with structure…as long as I am the one dictating said structure.
The structured swim is like learning Flemish. I just don’t see myself falling in love with it or doing it very well, yet I know it is important to the sport.
Swimming is to tris what beer hand-ups are to cx races. I know that they are a big deal and yet I still believe I can get through the event without it.
For this reason, I watched the swim heat before mine.
Typically, I do not like to watch events before mine because I am frankly easy to mind fuck.
Watching the heat before mine was the wisest event decision I have made in a long time, which as someone who does not pre-ride courses, drink a lot of water the night before races, or get a lot of sleep, does not say a whole lot…but it was a good start for me.
I watched the 10 swimmers and felt a calmness wash over me and a smile expand across my face.
Some of those swimmers were doing things in that water that in normal circumstances might call for a rescue.
Some were beautiful; some were a mess.
Some were walking. In the water.
I felt pretty good about things and knew that at a minimum, I would not drown and I would not walk, so I was good to go.
It was a 10 minute swim, so I had no idea how many laps I would get done, but was hoping for 10 and thinking based on my inability to breathe well that maybe I would get in 6. I got in 13. I am OK with this.
I did not die. I did not accidentally drown my lane partner, Crystal. I did not walk.
I had a plan to rotate between freestyle and backstroke every other lap, but after the 3rd lap, my “excitement” over doing an event where they write on your skin with a Sharpie took over and I flipped over to the backstroke and got my shit together.
When the whistle blew, I jumped out of the pool with a squeal and hugged Karl, the most patient swim mentor ever, and ran into the locker room (or T1 for the tri geeks out there).
I peeled off that swimsuit and hauled ass up to the super fast TT spin bikes.
I was the first one in my heat to the bikes. SCORE!
It is another 3 minutes before the next person gets there and make no mistake, I was counting because that shit matters when you are in a suburban health club and need tri cred with the tri people.
Ask them; the transition is a big effing deal.
[Throws out “M dot” sign to the Ironpeople.]
That is why in real events I will be wearing one costume. That is it. I need all the time I can get.
(If you have met me or watched me race, you are nodding your head in agreement right now and I dig it; I like when you agree with me. Doesn’t that feel nice?)
So, during the event, there are triathletes from Off the Front Racing who are there volunteering and being awesome and nice and Diane tells us that the bike computers are wonky. That they “zero out” if you pedal over 55 “MPH”, which sounds fast in theory but in reality is not sweat-inducing…for almost anyone.
I mean, I may have felt wicked fast for a minute because it was effortless, but then I realized that everyone was as bored and sweatless as I was.
So with my hopes for anyone falling apart on the bike dashed, I decided to spin and Tweet my race updates until the run segment since the distance was maxed.
(I am an awful triathlete.)
Time to transition to the run and off I go…
I run into a friend and we hug and chat and I hit the treadmills.
I am nothing if not a great transitionalist. (I just made that up.)
In truth, it is easy to transition when you don’t have to grab actual equipment and don’t have to worry about getting to actual destinations other than other areas in the gym.
So the run starts and I am relaxed and just warm enough that I don’t cramp.
I don’t really want to talk about my run because I didn’t run it as I would in an actual event. I did pyramid intervals to keep myself focused because treadmills suck and if I didn’t entertain myself, I would fall asleep and fall right off that damn thing.
(Don’t pretend that you don’t know in your head that this has already happened. You know.)
Five minutes into the twenty minute run and all I am thinking is, “Seriously? I poop like thrice a week and I have to go NOW?!?!”
Yes; I really thought that because that is what my body felt like. It is just not right to do this running nonesense to yourself. You know why? I did not actually have to poop. In fact, I did not poop until Tuesday. So any event that makes you feel like you have to poop when you do not, is just unnatural.
It is natural to run if you are being chased by that one girl from high school with the machete or if there is some other emergency during which a bicycle or helicopter will not do, but otherwise, no.
I have a friend who was with the frowny face this weekend because he only got in 15 miles of his planned 16 mile run.
If you ever catch me saying this shit, consider this free license to smack the snot out of me.
I believe that any sport which makes you sad after it or makes your feet ugly should be avoided and from what I can tell, a bad day on the bike is still way better than the best run. Perhaps that’s why runners only smile at the END of their events…and why so many switch to cycling after they grind their knees to nubs on the inside.
Anyway, when the event was over, I hugged some people, got in the velowagon and headed to the mtb trails to have some actual fun…because the type of athlete I am is as clear as mud….as it should be.
*Note: I would like to thank all my tri friends who let me poke fun in jest at their sport. The dedication to your sport and training is awe-inspiring and I am fine to watch you do all that work. You have all been ridiculously patient and kind to me and regardless of the jokes, I love watching you swim. Watching the swim is one of the most relaxing things I like to do. Thank you for all the tips, support, and cheers. Eventually, I will do your “M Dot” thing and I will suck at it, but I look forward to it if not simply because you are all a super fun group of people and are not in fact “from another planet” as I oft state. Much love and smooches.