So, this week was a whole host of annoying and frustrating experiences: wobbling around on the bike like a four year old, feeling less than fit after twenty minutes on a run, and having my ankle twinge after the first fifteen minutes of one run, curtailing my run to 45 weak minutes at a 10:07-10:15 pace. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever get back to fitness, injury free running, and if this white-knuckled cyclist could ever turn into a real triathlete.
Today’s team practice was supposed to be a bike ride, rain or shine. It’d been raining for two days here in L.A. and the forecast didn’t look like it was letting up. Coach Emily sent us an email saying that we’d be biking for sure, unless there was rain in the gutters. I was nervous. Not only would there still be slickness and puddles on the ground, but also it would be my first ride in a group setting. I’d warned my coaches of my nervousness beforehand by writing an email update.
They reassured me that things would be fine and that I could take a spin around the parking lot to get my nerves calmed a bit.
When I got to practice, it was raining pretty consistently. The coaches were still deliberating as to whether we would be doing a run or a bike. Neither one sounded too awesome where I was concerned, considering my nervousness about the bike, plus the fact that I’d wanted to give my ankle one more day’s rest before running on it again. Finally, it was decided that we’d be running and we were instructed to change into our running gear.
I’d brought a separate pair of pants and shirt this time, as last time my cycling jacket/jersey rode up in the front and rubbed me raw. My friend, Marianthe, and I looked for a bathroom in the shopping center where we had parked, but the only restrooms were locked. Since the shopping center was deserted at such an early hour, with many little nooks in which to hide, we decided to change out in the open, quickly and efficiently (my first transition experience?). For modesty, I tied both my cycling jacket and my running jacket around my waist while I quickly slipped off my cycling shorts and shoved my feet into my running leggings. Before I knew it, I was geared up to hoof it in the mist, hurt ankle or no hurt ankle.
As we started off, I had to remind myself to back off a bit, as I began by running a 9 minute pace, and I wasn’t sure if my ankle (or my cardio fitness, for that matter, would hold up to it). However, as I passed through one mile, two miles, and through three miles at a 9:30 pace without being very winded or feeling any pain, I stepped on the gas lightly. Several Ironteamers caught up to me as we wound through the quiet suburban streets in the spittling rain, and we ran in a cozy cluster, swapping stories, talking about food, movies and other “getting to know you” things. The miles were flying by. Around mile five, I started to get a little winded, my cardio fitness faltering a bit. I was still able to carry a conversation somewhat easily, but I had to take deeper breaths in-between.
Happily, I hadn’t noticed so much as a twinge from my ankle…until about 55 minutes in. At that point, I decided to end my run at six miles–in just over 57 minutes. And I felt a-ok! I’ve still got it–phew! Maybe it takes a couple of weeks post-marathon to fully recover. Perhaps that’s why I kept feeling like I was having such a hard time of it.
After the run, we all went out to brunch and a couple of my coaches chatted me up about my bike nervousness. They told me to take it easy, to get comfortable, to relax and get into a more “zen” headspace about everything first. Once I was there, they said, we could start building on the workouts. I think my main goal is to relax and have fun and to stop worrying about catching up to the rest of the team. Hopefully, that patience will build my confidence and will, in turn, get me where I need to be.
All in all, my excitement about the upcoming season is renewed! I’m going to be an Ironwoman!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m doing this for a great cause; to kick cancer’s booty! I’m a participant in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, a team with divisions in multiple sports across the nation, with the mission to raise funds for blood cancer research. For more information about TNT, LLS, or to donate to my campaign, visit my fundraising page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/los/VineFIrn13/SDIronWoman or you can contact me at solange DOT deschatres AT gmail DOT com.