Jun 29, 2007
fridays are my easy days -
30 minutes of pool running or laps. my choice.
since there is nothing easy about pool running, i choose laps.
so i'm swimming. i'm swimming.
i'm amused by the words "clean me" drawn into dirt at bottom of pool.
i like watching the bubbles that my arm makes on the strokes.
i can take an easy day to new heights. in short, i am in la-la land.
on slow, swimmy, planet suzanne.
but something is amiss.
something just doesn't feel right.
i finish the lap and look.
at my boob. and i can see it clearly. cause it's out. my boob. is out.
in all its very tiny glory. but its out nonetheless.
Jun 27, 2007
what? no hairpin turn? i'm in!
so there is (for once) ZERO anxiety going into ride. i don't even freak out when once on the roll, someone's water bottle is suddenly rolling all over the place and i miss it by a hair ... water off a ducks' back.
i'm good. i'm happy. i'm well ensconsed in the group.
then, my husband rolls up beside me & quietly says, this is not the group i want to be in ... i want to be in the group ahead of the one we are in. i think - no, that's the group YOU want to be in ... i'm good here. i'm happy here. why you gotta mess with my mojo? That's what i'm thinking - what i say to him is 'bite me. i am staying put'. i knew that picking up the pace to catch up to one group ahead was a recipe for anxiety - especially with a series of fast turns coming up.
but then, once we are out on river road - which is a good, long straight stretch ... i realize, and this pains me to say it - that my husband was right. this was not the group i wanted to be in. this group was far slower & far more unorganized. my husband & i tried to break away in the hopes of catching group just ahead ... but got stopped at a light & everyone caught up with us. then of course, the cocky girl who tries to pass everyone (that would be me) practically falls off her bike when her foot slips off pedal when trying to get going again. i think i got laughed at. so shit. i'll stay here.
its' crazy & unorganized, but its all a learning process ... i realized that i traded the need for a valium drip attached to me & bike for a slower ride. i think that it was a good trade. i knew i could do about 5mph faster - but i was ok with it. and so here's what i learned on last nights' ride: my husband is right.
haha. i should just end post here. imagine how much i could milk that statement.
anyhow - he says i've got the stregth & fitness level to be way up with first group. i just don't have the bike handling skills to stay with them in the first few miles through neighborhoods & on any major turns. and that lack of skills = high anxiety.
i did smoke the entire group on a major hill. and when i say entire group, i mean all of them. except two. my husband & another guy. there were 20 people in our group ... we hit the hill & i go up effortlessly. i am feeling very smug. very smug indeed. i think i have opened up such a huge gap & i see that my husband and the other guy have picked up a couple of riders that were ahead of them & i think i can have a miniscule slow down, catch my breath a bit & still totally catch up to them. and then - much.to.my.dismay - everyone i just smoked starts passing me one by one. WTF? people? hello? what are you doing up here? why are you not back there coughing on the dust i surely left in my 18mph wake?
ugh. no matter. group all back together ... including small group ahead & we head for home ... got to feel all smug again when another fellow came up to admire my very old-school steel bike & said i was a strong rider ... i attacked that hill.
yes. i did. i do love those hills.
Jun 21, 2007
attempts one and two didn't go so well.
but tonight - the cycling gods were smiling down on me ...
but not before i spent the first 5-6 miles hyperventilating & on the edge of a panic attack.
we roll out - and head into the park & i know what's coming: a hairpin turn. and i am hyperventilating. i kid you not. i think good god, i am going to have a heart attack - how pathetic am i? so anyhow - (insert ride minutiae here-blahblahblah) and then:
we go through the hairpin turn & i go through it faster than i ever have, but i still have to get in the big ring & HAUL ASS to catch up.
hauling ass & hyperventilating do not go so well together. so now i am flying through the park, in the big ring & i do not stop to chat with any other riders that fell off the back like i did last week ... instead - i just fly by them all - with one goal in mind: CATCH THE F--ING GROUP.
i'll spare the minutiae ... suffice it to say: i did indeed catch the group. (feel free to clap here). this was due to the workings of the cycling gods who decided to take mercy on me in the form of a TRAIN! the group gets stopped by a train & here i am ... i roll up to tracks, have time to catch my breath, coax heartrate down & sip my magic elixir h20. it was a beautiful thing. i was here now & knew i was there to stay.
i'm not saying i didn't have to work -- in fact, there was a point at which i told my husband that i thought throwing up was a really viable option ... his response? "good, then you are doing it right".
it was work. but i did it ... and the post ride beer never tasted so good.
Jun 19, 2007
Jun 16, 2007
thursday night i went on my second club ride with husband & friend ... it was the worst ride in all my 499 miles so far. (but lets pause a moment to reflect on the fact that i have ridden 499 miles in about 3 months!).
but back to my miserable ride:
there's a hairpin turn in the park & very early on in the ride. and when i say hairpin, i really mean hairpin. and when i say early on, i mean first 5 miles. (of a 25 mile ride). my trouble began here. i fell off the back (way the f off the back) due to my white knuckle death grip & fear of the turn. once i fell off, (the back, not the bike) i just plain didn't feel like putting it into the big ring and hauling ass to catch group. in other words, i was lazy, and i was struck by a serious bout of wussitis. and now here is where i am my own worst enemy: it was here that i did an amazing job of messing with my own head by convincing myself that:
- i had no right to be on these rides - for god's sake, i can't even turn without feeling like i am pulling a few G's - which sends me into pathetic panic mode.
- my legs were tired from morning 6 mile run and i would have been better off at home, i am after all "recovering".
- slowing down to about 10 miles an hour to chat with other girl (also dropped at that damn turn) & was perfectly acceptable.
my husband had to turn around to come back for me so we could chase the group. i had already messed with my head enough & convinced myself I was tired & wasn't feeling the love for the chase. i kept trying to yell after him " i don't want to do this!" ... and then, "i'm not feeling the love tonight honey" ... and then the whiny "my legs are tired" ... all of it bullshit, of course. when he told me at some point after going through a neighborhood that we were going slower than training rides, I almost died - mostly, because i felt like i was gonna die. i was just all jacked about:
- my breathing -- it was all crazy - am quite sure i was close to hyperventilating - i probably could have talked myself into it if i tried hard enough.
- the fact that we were chasing the group for the second damn club ride in a row.
- about the fact that i just felt so out of control & it pissed me the hell off. and why couldn't i just be good on the damn bike. wtf was i so scared of???? (i'll tell you in a minute).
lets just say my husband had to pull my sad, sorry, whiny ass for about 15 miles - we saw the group at the turn around ... we were all of about 3 minutes behind them - the whole damn time. there was a brief shining moment in the ride, when it occurred to me that my legs were not actually at all tired - this realization came when i pulled my husband up a hill, into the wind, in the big ring, at 20 mph. but that was the end of the ride ... took me that long to get my mojo back. too bad it didn't come back earlier.
later that night at home - i am beating myself up over my biking inadequacies (again, i am perfecting the art of being my own worst enemy - i could hold seminars i am so good at this) ... my husband wants to know what i am so scared of. i'm not entirely sure, but mostly i am freaked out that i'll fall & get really hurt - in which case, that means more time spent not running. so my husband says, the why don't i just quit the bike & concentrate on the running. when he sees i am considering this option, he says, jesus - reverse psychology doesn't work so well on you. i'm not hanging up the bike. if i could just tell my head to shut the hell up, i think i could be really good at it. so its just a challenge.
i thought it was a challenge between me & the bike ....
but now i know that its a challenge between me & me.
Jun 7, 2007
the grass may as well have been 3 inches of mud. my back hurt.
the whole thing sort of sucked.
i long to be over this back issue.
i miss the bliss of running.
a runner friend who knew how much biking i've been doing lately asked if i got the same feeling on the bike as i do running.
no. not even close.
the bike is this thing i need to conquer ... the bike is the thing that is allowing me to keep my fitness up so i can get back to running. i love it - but there is no joy. maybe if i stopped being scared shitless for a minute some joy could eek in ...
but as of right now - its' not anywhere near the sheer, blissful joy i can get on a run ...
i feel like i am in detox (not that i've ever been there & not that there's anything wrong with that. it's just a metaphor.) & jonesing for a really good fix. i really really need a blissful run.
Jun 6, 2007
so - the newest addition to my schedule is deep water pool running. 1 1/2 hours of pool running a week. 1 hour one day. 30 minutes another day.
i tested this out earlier in the week ... told the kids to play on the steps at the pool, swallowed my pride, because i was sure to look like a total dork with my just my head out of the water as i s-l-o-w-l-y made my way across - and plopped my bikini clad* self in a lane to give it a try before i had to do my official hour the next day. *note: not good pool running attire. any kid underwater with a pair of goggles on likely got an eyeful. not that there's much to eye. but still.
lets just say that the "testing of the waters" so to speak was less than stellar. my mantra? "he's insane, he's insane" ... referring to my coach - i thought he was out of his mind to think i was going to do it for an hour. i did it for 15 minutes & got out.
and of course - when i got home, i googled pool running. apparently, every minute of pool running equals a minute of regular road running. i smugly thought - yeah, right.
the next morning, i'm up at the butt crack of dawn to get a lane at the pool (also the added bonus here being that no one would really see my crazy self) ... i had secured myself a buddy to keep me company ... a runner friend who is 7 months pregnant & has put off running for the last trimester ... so there we are in the pool, running. we don't really know what we are doing - it takes a few laps to get some sort of rhythm ... and it is SLOW going ... but my heartrate is up. i didn't really know what to do with legs ... you are supposed to do exactly what you do on land ... but this is easier said than actually done. in hindsight - i think i wound up doing more of a scissor kick / cross country skiing thing.
whatever i was doing - i had absolutley no intention of sticking it out for the whole hour. (which is unusual for me - i follow my schedule to the millisecond of a mile. i do everything it says.)
but then, just as in running, when you say to yourself - i'll just do one more mile, or run to that tree, telephone pole, run for 5 more minutes ... i say, i'll just do one more lap, 5 more minutes - we'll tell another story ... then lo & behold, the hour is over ... we're done!
and because i still do not respect the pool running, i think its' a bit of a crock -- i just shower & go home to start my day. no stretching. nothing. as the day wore on - i felt the run. i felt like i ran 7 miles. only - my back didn't hurt. nothing hurt. it was just the nice, tired soreness of a run. a real run. only i did it in the pool. sheesh. who knew?
until that is - i got to the parking lot where everyone meets - at which time, i promptly wanted to throw up. the feeling of anxiety was not unlike my first big dog run. there were about 50 other riders decked out in snazzy bike duds. with snazzy bikes. and then there was me. runner girl trying to be a bike chick for a while. runner girl who can't even clip out of her pedals on time at every stop & has got the bruises & cuts all over her knees to prove it. in my bike shorts, with a running top on. on a 20 year old hand-me-down steel bike.
as an aside, i am looking at 20 year old steel bike as the equivalent to high-altitude training. i mean, jaysus - if i can get fast (eventually) on this old beast ... imagine what i can do when i get down to sea level on a snazzy, carbon somethingoranother bike.
so - ride starts, everyone heads out of parking lot ... i make my husband promise not to leave me .... so we're off & the 3 of us are in the back. i'll spare you the minutiae of every light ... there's a bunch of lights, a bunch of people in front, and i do just fine. we make it out to where we can really start to stretch out a bit & i feel more comfortable ... i hang way back - but am in the middle - there's another big group behind us ... at any rate, we get out to river road (this road parallels the ohio river & is so so so gorgeous) and i'm feeling more comfortable about making my way into pack more ... then i notice my friend paying a lot of attention to his back wheel - he's talking to my husband & there are weird hand signals going on about slowing down & having other riders pass us. i realized he had a flat - my husband was trying to get a tube out of his seat pack for him. th eother riders had passed us & i thought we had to sit on side of road to change a tire -- i thought my husband told me to stop. so i stopped. but what he said was to keep going. how i confused the two is beyond me because they sound nothing alike.
suffice it to say, we lost the group & proceeded on a 6 - 7 mile 22 mph CHASE to try & catch them. amazingly - we did catch the last two stragglers & kept going to see if we could catch the back group ... about 24 miles into this ride, we see the first (i.e shit-ass, crazy fast) group pass us going other way (it was an out & back course) ... we turn around in between this group & the slower group behind us. now - this is where it gets exciting. for me at least. that slower group behind us never caught us. so i am now in the middle group. i am the only chick. my husband says to the guys that its' my first time & i'll hang in the back. i am now in a pace line of 7 veteran riders & i am keeping up. we turn into a little neighborhoody area & there is a hill ... and I SMOKE THEM. ok ... granted, they rode farther than my husband & i ... and this was likely their "easy ride" day ... but i still went right by them all on the hill. my glory was very short lived because where there is an uphill, there are downhills ... and on the downhills - i f-ck up all my hard earned glory because i start to brake like a total wuss.
anyhow - we make it back home. in one piece. i didn't fall. i clipped in to pedals every time. i have a really big problem with the artificial gap that needs to be worked on (this problem deserves an entire post all its' own). i need to grow a pair. i did not cause any major 7 bike pile-up.
i had naively told my husband that i didn't think our 25 mile rides were doing it for me anymore. i felt i could handle more. i got more. i rode 33 miles and averaged 18 mph ... including a 7 mile 22 mph chase ... and i smoked a bunch of guys on a hill. i was drop dead exhausted when i got home. but i did it. i'm fairly proud of myself that i just jumped right in & gave it a try. i need to do a lot of work -- but the tuesday night rides are going to be my regular gig now. i am going to get over my issues & be good at this. all in good time.
Jun 3, 2007
so in the meantime - this is what i've been doing:
and loving every minute of it. (that's me in the middle there - on today's 25 mile ride)
the bike scared the shit out of me at one point in time ... that tiny seat, the pedals that you had to lock your shoes into, the traffic, the speed, the thought of road rash -- i am a worst case scenario girl & believe me - i could conjure up some ugly scenes while riding the bike ... me, in a ditch still locked into bike. me, flying through air smacking into a tree - never to run again. or worse. one might wonder how i can possibly enjoy a ride with these thoughts in my head ... but here's the thing: i couldn't run. if i couldn't run - i HAD to do something else ... it was complete serendipity that despite the crazy shit going on in my head about what could happen -- i actually found that i enjoy it. i really, really like it. the thing about worst case scenarios - is that they almost never happen & you are left with pleasant surprises. my pleasant surprise is that i have found this great thing i can do to cross train & keep my fitness level up & best of all i can enjoy doing it with my husband ...the fear is slipping away little by little. ok - key word here being little.
here's what i am good at: i can kick some serious ass in the hills ... in fact, i LOVE the hills ... i know there are hills out there that i have not encountered yet that would reduce me to tears ... but, until i meet them, head on - i like hills in that "i'll take some hills with my breakfast" sort of way.
i love the flats - feel like i can go for days & days & days and never stop ...
the downhills - a straight downhill - are slowing growing on me. in that, oooh - i get to go into my big ring, turbo-booster gear sort of way.
the thing that gets me? the place where i am always dropped? a turn. a measly turn. i start to panic about the bike skidding out from under me & wonder to what degree i am banking & i brake like a total wussy girl ... but i know i'll get over this. eventually ... right?
my husband says i need to learn to trust the bike and myself. he says the bike wants to stay upright. i have heard this before in different contexts ...
my husband and i met at flight school ... so our dates were always spent flying a little cessna 150 together ... we'd talk about flying & all that i was learning - i confessed to him that i was too scared to practice the stalls that my instructor wanted me to practice ... he said i needed to trust the plane ... because, inherently, it wanted to stay flying. it wasn't just going to fall out of the sky.
we had a sailboat when we lived on the coast of maine and would go 'sailing' frequently ... sailing in quotes, because i was too afraid to ever leave the harbor. i was terrified that we'd capsize ... he always told me that if i could fly a plane, i could sail a boat - imagine the sails were wings ... and, inherently, the boat wanted to stay upright ... it wasn't just going to go over.
do you see a pattern here? clearly, the common denominator here is me & my irrational fears. i really just need to conquer this fear of the bike & learn to trust it. and me on it. mostly, i think - i just need to trust myself. cause if i can do that - i can kick some ass.