Ok, I know I have read about people doing the birthday challenge (triathlon based, not alcohol based!), but I can't remember what exactly you are supposed to do. I have one coming up next week and want to try to do it this weekend! Help please!
Yesterday I got taped while I swam which was very cool in an educational sort of way. Many things I already knew I needed to work on like my kicking and getting my hips up but I also need to work on my reaching more which I never even thought of. So, as far as learning, it was great.
What was not great about it? Confirming that my purple swimsuit does in fact make me look like an aquatic Barney.
I have never taken my bike to the bike shop to have my new pedals (that I bought six months ago) put on. I had tried before to get the old ones off, but they were pretty stuck. So, last weekend when I went home for Easter, I took my bike with me so that way my brothers could help me. The bike originally came from my oldest brother so I thought he would be able to help me and it would be no problem.
The first pedal took a bit of work, but eventually it did come off. The second one however, would not budge. I remember both my mother and I suggesting he should try turning it the opposite way to get it off but after a half hearted try, he decided brute force was the way to go. Since I am bike repair handicapped, I figured he knew what he was doing. After about 20 minutes of prying and a lot of grunting, he gave up. He took my bike home with him to work on in the "shop".
The next day we went over there to offer assistance. He and my boyfriend went to work on it and mentioned all sorts of tools and really got into. I tuned out and decided to let them do their manly thing and I could pet kitties. After awhile, I walk back in to see how it is going. The first thing I notice is that my brother has a cutting torch in his hand. The second thing I notice is that my bike was flaming. I turned and walked out.
My boyfriend came after me and tried very hard to reassure me. After a second look, I could tell that it was just the plastic on the old pedal that was on fire, but I still not so comforted by the fact I had seen flames rising from my bike. I tried to talk them into just letting me take it to the bike shop, but by this time, it is a challenge. They ARE going to get that pedal off if it is the last thing my bike ever does. (wimper) I go back to petting kitties and in my head start thinking about new cranksets and how much they would cost.
About this time, my father and another brother show up to help. How many men does it take to unscrew a bike pedal? There is more cutting torch activity, several grunts of frustration, and the sound of a drill. This was the point when I started wondering if I had seen any new bikes at the shop that were in my price range since there would be a chance I would be in the market shortly.
Finally, I hear a shout of victory. They got what was left of the pedal out! Of course, the crank is completely stripped but the important thing is that they got it out. They emerge sweaty and victorious and I am just grateful it is over. Parts can be replaced, but if they had destroyed the whole bike, that would have been devestating.
Monday, my boyfriend takes the crank to the bike store to see what to do and explains why half of the crank is black and stripped. I was too mortified to go and tell them what I had allowed to happen. To his credit, the bike shop guy did not laugh or even call Bike Protective Services. He very kindly explained that the cranks are reverse threaded. In other words....you should have just turned it the other way and it would have come out. Oops.
I texted my brother to tell him the news. I got a one word reply that just said it all. Shit.
I have not ever been one to actually see how many yards I swim when I am at the pool. Really, I am just out there for survival at this point and anything beyond that is just a bonus. This week however, I really tried to keep track of how many yards I swam and I was fairly shocked to see that I can now swim over a mile (with minimal clinging to the side of the pool and gasping for air)! As best as I can count without having to look at my toes too much, I think I swam right around 1900 yards during my coaching session which gets me right past that mile marker! This may or may not have been the first time I have swum that far, but this is for sure the first time I tried to count. It kind of makes the idea of doing an Olympic length at the end of summer a little more possible. We will see though. While this may not seem like a lot for the Masters swimmers, I am elated. It was only six months ago that I could not swim 400 yards without backstroking and some dog paddling (and lots of clining to the side and gasping for air).
I also ran last night. We will pretend I did not count and see how far that was and just say I worked really hard for as far as I went. Which was not far. At all.
Have a good bike story coming up, but this one has to have pictures so I will work on that tonight.
Swimming yesterday was HARD! For the first time ever during our session, I actually looked at the clock to see how much more time I had left. I made the mistake of telling my swim coach that I needed to increase my yardage, and boy did we! It was good though and we worked distances and sprints. I am going up to two sessions a week with her for the next few months to really get ready for the next few triathlons. Hopefully between those sessions and my individual swims, this will be a breeze! I also ordered my first triathlon wetsuit yesterday. I think this will be a short term wetsuit because it was fairly inexpensive (Neosport)but as long as it fits, then it will be fine for my first few. Then if I continue in this sport and get more serious about it, then I will invest in a better one. I am excited about it because it means my move out of the pool and into open water. Time to put on my big girl panties (or wetsuit as the case may be!). In a funny note, someone the other day wrote a blog post warning about checking your swim suit to make sure the rear was not see through. I have been religiously checking mine to make sure ever since but I never thought about the same thing happening to shorts. I lent my roommate a pair of bike shorts that I don't use anymore so she could wear them at our triathlon and after we got done she was walking around and I realized that I could very clearly see her swimsuit under the shorts I had given her! I am so thankful she did not take my advice to just swim in the shorts because then she would have given everyone a show! Oops. So, it is good to make sure ALL of your sport clothing has adequate rear end coverage. Unless you are into that kind of thing....then more power to you!
Saturday brought my first "almost" sprint triathlon of the year. The course was shorter than a normal sprint, but what should have been an easy, fast race was hampered by high winds. I was excited about this race because: A) A perfect second triathlon for me to make sure that I really want to keep trying to do this. B) A short distance because I know I have not been training as much as I should so I could do it, have fun and not kill myself. C) I talked my roommate into doing it! Ok, I signed her up for it and then told her she was doing it, but what matters is that she did it!
The race was about an hour away so we packed up early that morning and headed out after a quick stop for oatmeal and coffee....yum! Even though it was only 45 miles to the North, when we got out of the car, it was COLD! We got marked at quickly as possible and set up transition so we could sit in the car and thaw back out. Luckily the swim was a pool swim so at least we would be warm for that. The swim was what I was most excited about because I have really been working on the swim and I really wanted to see what I could do now as compared to a few months ago where I had to backstroke more than half the race. The odd thing about this race was they had us lined up according to number instead of by time and the lanes were not set up to allow enough space for passing so they told us if we wanted to pass someone to tap the bottom of the persons feet in front of you and then wait until the end of the lane and then pass them. I quickly started looking at everyone in front and behind me to size up the competition and figure out what I needed to do. There was a pack of very fit guys a few people behind me that I was worried about, but just decided that I would just swim as best as I could and try not to hold any one up. Much to my delight, the swim went great and I never got my feet tapped! I even passed several people which really made my day knowing that if this had been a few months ago, the outcome would have been very different. Looking back, I should have just stayed in the pool and enjoyed the warmth and calm. I knew my run would be very slow so my plan was to do the swim and bike as fast as I could and try to get as much of a lead as I could. This plan worked perfectly for the swim as I got out quickly and only a few other people ahead of me. The first mile or so went great until I had to turn onto a hwy access road that they had blocked off for us. That is when the wind hit with gusts up to 50 miles an hour (according to the news). My pace slowed to a crawl but I could feel my heart rate still climbing. To add insult to injury, I then got attacked by tumbleweeds which were as big as my tires. Nothing like a West Texas race for you! Luckily, everyone else was having the same problem so we were all super slow. By the time I got off the bike, I was exhausted. The idea of having the run and having to do it in the wind was unthinkable. I put on my shoes though and started out. My feet felt like they had cement blocks attached to them. I just got new shoes and could not decide if that was the problem or just that I was tired. I brought a new meaning to the term plodding. The time finally came when people started really passing me, but at that point, I was focused on just keeping going and stopped caring so much. When I finally finished my second loop, I have never been so grateful. I was not totally nice to the guy who told me I still had one loop to go as I assured him that I did in fact do both of my laps. I think my gasping for breath told him that I was in fact telling the truth. Obviously, I am still going to have to working on my plodding...er...running. New shoes!
A few hours later, it did not seem quite so bad as it did right after. Funny how your memory of pain fades. I am glad I went of course, but it was not the easy, fast race I thought it would be. Just shows that you have to be ready for any type of weather conditions! So to recap, the swim was great and I am on track there! The bike probably would have been fine except for the battling the winds but I do need to start spending some more time working on that. The run sucked. Have to start training more there even though I hate it. I have no good excuses because out of the three, it is the easiest to go do! Oh, and my roommate did great! She finished right behind me and did fantastic even though she was shouting "Never again Renee" on the course. Thank goodness her asthma was bothering her or she would have passed me on the run for sure! (teasing of course!) The good news is that it was still fun and I am signing up for more. The next one will be May 3rd and I am going to do that as part of a team which I think will be fun! After race salmon and pasta!
"I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood." - Susan B. Anthony 1896