Monday, March 9, 2009
Where did it all go wrong?
So this past Friday was my first "race" of the season. And let it suffice to say, it was not how I hoped to kick it off.
As long as we're talking about firsts, let it be known that this was me first ever indoor tri. I was sort of stumped by this indoor tri thing. How does it? How do I transition? How competitive is it? How many people? And so on. I came across this race as a coworker of mine was registered for the series and couldn't make this one. She was looking for a stand in, and I said sure, why not.
I should've known it wasn't going to be my best race ever when all afternoon I kept having pangs of anxiety, I wasn't hungry, I was antsy and I kept trying to think of excuses not to go. Well, no valid excuse in sight, I went. It was at a gym I had never been to, with a pool I had never swam in, using bikes I had never ride before.
So I get there nice and early and find the registration table. They weren't the most helpful and looked at me like I was dumb when I asked where the locker rooms were. Right. After solving that mystery I changed and wandered into the pool. I had been told it was a salt water pool (versus chlorine) but I wasn't really sure what that meant other than less smelly. What I found was that in addition to no chlorine, they also didn't believe in lights in this pool. Well, at least not many of them anyways. So on an overcast Friday evening visibility in the water was less than good. I got in warmed up a little, and thought I was as ready as I was going to be. Its about this time that I realize there is only one other person in my "wave." We made our small talk and he alluded to not having done a whole lot of training in the past few months, so I was feeling ok about things. 10 minutes in the pool, that's nothing! Then we started swimming. I felt strong off the wall and was cruising along. I was holding my own for the 5 or so minutes, then he started to gain on me and fast. Next thing I knew I was in his wake and getting passed. I tried to just keep swimming. By the end of it, he had a full lap on me. Dammit. Not my best swim, not my worst swim.
Out of the pool and into transition.....er, I mean the locker room. I didn't know quite what to do with myself having to go into a locker room and change. I had tried to set up my transition area....er, I mean locker ahead of time, but that didn't work out quite as planned. Basically I was just confused and flustered for close to 10 minutes (the alloted transition time). And ladies, I am sure you can relate when I say 5 or so of the minutes were spent just trying to wriggle into a sports bra while wet from swimming. Not an easy task.
To the spin studio. I approached the clubs bike of choice and had no friggin clue how to adjust this monstrosity. Seeing as I had spent the majority of my transition time being confused and fighting with my sports bra, I didn't really leave myself much time to solve this riddle of the sphinx. I got it as close as I could and hopped on. These bikes were nasty. I won't name names here, its more political not to. But these beasts were nothing good. Yuck, yuck, double yuck. The next thing I was enlightened to was that they were setting the resistance at a given level and no adjustments were allowed. Um, right. Ok. Well what they forgot to mention is that it was a gross mash-y like level of resistance. Just plain uncomfortable. No spinning here. 20 minutes of mashing on a poorly adjusted uncomfortable bike. Awesome. Oh yeah, I also couldn't find my spin shoes the day before, because, well I avoid spin classes like the plague. So while my new PINK Newton running shoes are wicked awesome, they are not the most comfortable way to ride a bike. Especially with plastic cages. And without my spin shoes there was no pulling in pedal stroke, only pulling. About 5 minutes into the ride I new just how much I wanted off the damn bike. I seriously considered getting off and telling them just to call me a big fat DNF'er. But I didn't. I kept riding. And trying not to hyperventilate and cry. Oh, and the same dude that had a full pool length on me in the pool had almost an entire mile on me by the time the 20 minutes were up.
Finally off the bike. Thank gawd! To the tready. Unfortunately by now my will and spirit was so broken that not even the thought of a 10 minute run perked me up. I saw it more as the last obstacle to over come before I could pack my sorry self up and go home. And so I ran. The run wasn't terrible, but even that was off. I should've been able to run much faster and therefore much further. But it was no longer about performance. It was about survival. I finished, swallowed the huge lump in my throat best known as a mix of tears and humiliation and went home.
I got as far as the car before I started to cry. Overall, my times and distances weren't awful. They really weren't. But this was not how I wanted to start my season. This was not a blow to my confidence that I needed. This was was the first time I had ever felt (and still feel) like I had failed myself. I sat all night Friday in a complete panic. How could I got to and through Ironman if I couldn't muscle through a 40 minute indoor tri? I seriously thought about throwing in the towel on my entire season. Why did I want more humiliation? If I sold the new bike (which had been fit just the day before, but had yet to be picked up or ridden) I could pay off a pretty chunk o bills...
In light of my early season crisis, I took the weekend off of anything tri related. I got a haircut, ate a piggy cookie, read a trashy novel and watched some questionable tv. I ate french fries and slept in. I left my bike at the shop.
I'm still feeling pretty down and out. Not to mention feeling uninspired and lethargic. I have yet to make any final decisions on what's in store for this season. Its just too soon to tell.