This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Training is for Chumps- Next Time I'll Be a Chump

It is always fun to try new things and this time was no different. The Lake Freebird Sprint Triathlon in Mtn. Grove, Missouri was a blast. I was a little nervous about giving it a shot but less so than I have been in other events. This was mainly because I had no idea what to expect. Guess that is one good thing about not training..... you have no clue how hard it will be, so there is no need to be nervous.

I got the call at about 10 a.m. Saturday morning that my old Schwinn would be ready for pick-up by noon. Great news. Kind of. That would leave me PLENTY of time to test ride it. Except it didn't happen. A pizza party for my sons baseball team and a promise to take the boys to White Water made this impossible. But I DID get the bike and it appeared to work would I know anyway? I DON'T ride. Also purchased a helmet while I was there. Probably should have asked for help adjusting the straps and all that- but, in typical style, I didn't even bother to take it out of the box in the store.

We closed the Water Park down and made it home around midnight. Perfect for a few hours of sleep after rounding up some of my gear for Sunday. (last minute is ALWAYS best) I got up at 5 a.m. Ready to roll.....almost. After loading up the bike and the rest of my junk, it was off to McDonalds for a little breakfast and coffee- the perfect pre-race meal.

I arrived plenty early for packet pick-up..... I thought. It was about a one mile walk from the parking area, had I known THIS I would have done things differently. Got the packet, bib, t-shirt and numbers marked on my arms/legs and hiked to the parking area for my gear. Made it back with 5 minutes to spare- missing most of the pre-race instructions but my friend Charley filled me in. Charley actually “trained” for this- at least 4 or 5 swims and a few bike rides. He doesn't think these things through real well either.

The swim. 600 meters. Pretty sure that I was the ONLY person without goggles. Goggles? In the lake? I wasn't planning to scuba dive. It did have me second guessing things and really feeling like a stupid rookie (which I was) making me wonder JUST what I had got myself into. A deafening boom from the cannon signaled the start. I went after it like a pro, gliding through the water, so smooth that there was hardly a trace of ripples to tell where I had been......uh, not really. I flopped out there and splashed like the non-swimmer that I am. I was leery of starting to fast for fear that I would fade out and be “that dude”. You know, the one everybody talks about for the next five years- almost drowned and had to be saved by the lifeguard types. Half way down the front side, I realized that it would be MUCH easier if I actually used my legs and kicked once in a while. Coming down the backside, my competitive side kicked in and I pushed pretty hard, knowing that I had plenty left to make it back. Coming out of the water, I was a little wobbly but not too bad. Time to transition to the bike.

I probably spent too much time here but I was figuring things out on the fly. I scrambled to get my shoes, socks and shirt on. Then I remembered my Garmin- but did not have it set up for biking- so it took a little bit to straighten that out. Helmet? Oh yeah, gotta have that. After securing the helmet and hydration pack I was off. Just in time to see Charley coming in to the transition area. Wasting no more time I pedaled away and began the bike portion.

The bike ride was 14 miles and immediately I realized that it was not going to be as easy as I had imagined. A HUMONGOUS hill started the ride. (maybe not humongous but it was a hill and seemed like a mountain to a novice) Pushing the old bike through the first couple of miles was the toughest but I soon settled into a groove and got the hang of shifting, something I should have probably figured out beforehand. About 4 miles in, this dude on some super duper speedy road bike came up on me. He asked if I had done this course before. All I could do was laugh and say “NOPE”. He advised me to watch the corners. Dumb me- “for what?” Apparently loose gravel is an obstacle to watch for when on a bike- I felt like an idiot but thanked him for the advice. Finally hit the turnaround and knew that I would be able to complete the bike portion. Pedaling hard, I ran into Charley. He was only behind by about a mile and looking strong. We hollered the usual words of encouragement and kept going our separate ways. Around mile 10 a woman looked at my bike and told me that I was at a huge disadvantage riding a bike like that. SURPRISE!!! She also told me that I was doing an AMAZING job, so she gets a pass for the first comment. I managed to maintain a 16.4 mph average on the bike which I think is pretty decent for my FIRST ride and considering the monster mudder tires rolling on the pavement.

I hit the transition area and fumbled with my Garmin again to set it for the run. This was supposed to be the “walk in the park” portion. I am a RUNNER, right? A freakin' marathoner, better yet an ULTRA-marathoner. Whatever. Jumping off a bike and going straight into a run is a little different. I learned this real quick. The 5k started with hills that were small but felt like mountains. Just when things started to feel better- that same HUMONGOUS hill from the bike course showed up. I ran pretty slow for 2/3 of the run but finally decided to step it up and bring it in at a decent pace. 21:15 for an overall pace of 6:51, pretty slow for me. I think that IF I would have got my head together earlier it would have made a difference of a few places overall but IF's don't really count. I crossed the finish line with a total time of 1 hour 29 minutes and 14 seconds placing 27th out of 65 finishers. I was very pleased with this time because I had figured that it would take at least 1 hour 45 minutes. Charley, who ran an 18 minute 5k, came in at 1 hour 32 minutes for 32nd place. Not bad for a couple of rookies.

This was a lot of fun and I would recommend that everybody try it at least once. Me? I HAVE to give it another shot....... after a little training.

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