Go grab some cawfee and a biscuit. This is a long one, y’all.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this page- sorry about that…things have been a bit crazy-insane around here. This running heifer has turned into this swimming/biking/running heifer. That’s right. Running wasn’t ENOUGH torture – I, in a clear moment of weakness, called up my fitness-guru pal in Nebraska (turns out cow-tipping is great cardio…who knew) and challenged her to a triathlon.
Yeah. A freakin’ mother-farkin’ triathlon. The Lake Havasu Olympic tri, to be clear. You have to swim almost a mile (AYFKM???!! A MILE?!), bike something like 26 miles, and then because your legs aren’t dead enough – run something like a 10k. (So yeah, obviously you seasoned triathletes will roll your eyes and “pfft” me off your “favorites” list here – but this is my first one.) I’m not sure of exact distances. Nor does it matter. My goal?
To not die. Plain and simple.
So….yeah. The running part I’ve got down pretty good. The biking – holy cow – it’s still new to me. I bought a super-cool mega-warrior (ok really it’s pink and white like bubble gum, but that doesn’t really sound so bad-ass, now does it? My pink poof bike… yeah so anyway, more about my warrior bike)…. road bike on CraigsList. It actually seems to be a pretty decent set of wheels for a beginner – it has super fun shifty changey gears too, none of which I know how to effectively use (yet…) but I’ll get there. I started biking with a bike group (looking for a local biking group on your own level? Search the app called “Meetup” – it’s not “hookup,” so don’t worry about that … it’s actually for meeting up with people who are doing whatever it is you want to do.) I kinda like it. More on the biking in a minute.
Then there’s the swimming part. Here I was thinking I’ve got built in flotation devices, so hey, how HARD could swimming actually be???
Turns out it’s hard if you want good technique and important skills like … oh, say BREATHING. Yeah. Anyway – I hired an incredible coach (local PHX peeps check out Frank at http://www.soleswimsolutions.com/ for all your triathlon coaching needs, this guy and Sara are AAAAHmazing.) Trust me, call ’em. If they can get me to swim that almost-mile and not die, they can surely turn everyone else into an Ironman! I’ll keep y’all posted on my swim progress, for now here’s how I’m gonna break it down for you:
Ok. Now. Back to the biking. This is why I really wanted to post today. This past Sunday was my ‘group ride.’ I’m new to the sport, so obviously I’m new to this group. It’s made up of about 25ish regulars, I think, and on any given Sunday maybe 1/2 to 1/3 show up. Sunday I think we had maybe 9 bikers. It was FREEZING out. And by freezing I mean probably 52′ … don’t judge. It’s PHX. So I show up, with my 4 base layers of wool, my 4 pair of socks, 2 pair of gloves, ear muffs, and sunglasses. I sat in my car (butt-warmer on high, to keep this transparent), and teeth chattering. If my running/biking partner buddy didn’t show up, I was OUTTA there. (No offense, Kellie, I’m glad you showed up! I swear!)
Kellie shows up, so I knew I had to ride. The sky was dark. (ok well that might be because it’s winter and the sun hadn’t risen yet but in my own mind, we were expecting a hurricane). The group filters in, one by one…and I knew I had to go. Big girl panties (CHECK!)…. gloves on (CHECK)… time to roll.
(see that Strava meme? my athlete friends know what Strava is … so I feel cool knowing what it is, too). It’s an app. If you bike, get it. And add me for a good laugh.
We’re rolling along. The imagined hurricane is magically gone, skies are clearing up. But the wind. It’s windy. Now, the seasoned bikers barely noticed any breeze at all. Me? I was dying. DYING I tell you. Right there on the side of the road. In the back of the pack. It’s a “no drop ride” meaning – no losers left behind. So the poor “sweeper” (guy who draws the short straw and gets stuck at the back of the pack, making sure rogue mountain lions don’t kill off the slow ones) had to stay back (way back) with me, listening to me huff and puff. The wind. It FELT so awful. I’d say the headwind was awful. The seasoned riders, again, felt a pleasant breeze. It’s perspective. I tried SO hard. I tried to rally. I tried to pump my legs and put all my core-power into it. I relaxed my shoulders, hardened my guts and gizzards, and lowered my heels. I stayed calm and tried to breathe from my diaphragm (ok at this point, I was just happy to be breathing, I can’t lie).
The ride was slated for 26.3 miles. I was DEAD.LAST. for the whole ride. Actually a very kind woman stayed behind me shouting out pointers (“Keep on his wheel! You can draft behind him to give your legs a break!”) That is genius. DRAFTING is genius. Except when you can’t.even.freaking.catch. the guy in front of you to draft behind him. I tried. I tried SO hard. (See a theme here?) And I sucked it. I totally sucked it. We reached our halfway point, which is farther from my home than I normally like to drive. I was holding back tears of frustration. And THAT even pissed me off. I was so frustrated because I was TRYING MY HARDEST and still sucked. I could not keep up. I picked up my iPhone to call my husband, so he could come pick me up. But I couldn’t make the call. (not for lack of want, trust me.)
I CAN NOT QUIT.
It’s that simple. Before losing 110 pounds, what if I had just quit when the going got tough? What if I quit when I started running? (which, to be honest – two and a half years in, and I still want to quit every single time, I really do)…. What if I quit every time something in life got ugly? Then what? What do I tell my kids? Sorry I’M a quitter, but YOU can’t quit. Yeah, right. That whole “lead by example” thing puts pressure on a mom, let me tell ya. So I didn’t quit because I didn’t want to walk through my door knowing I gave up. I never did cry. But I got angry. Truth is, I’m STILL pissed off. I’m SO pissed off. I wanted to go back out and bike the route again, but I’m not that crazy. I’ll wait til next week.
And chances are, I’m gonna suck it again. Maybe (hopefully) slightly less suckage… and the following week, hopefully even less. My point is – DON’T QUIT. YOU ARE NOT ALONE in yourstruggle. I used to think every athlete I saw out there running and/or biking was having an easy go of it, happily pouncing down the road, happily biking 24mph down the road, etc. Some of them are. And I hate them (no, just kidding, well, mostly) … but the others – there are others out there who also are struggling. Who need support. Who need encouragement. Who want to quit but who won’t.
Be that person. Encourage the others. Struggle, because we all do. But DON’T.QUIT.
Just.Keep.Swimming. Wasn’t that from Nemo?
If you’re still reading, that’s awesome. Thank you. Thanks for reading, thanks for the continued encouragement y’all show me on the FB page and this blog and thru emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) and STAY AWESOME, heifers! I love you guys!