Of Bikes and Helmet (Head)

So, I have a bike…and really good fifties helmet hair, but more about that later.

My lovely neighbor was nice enough to pull her bikes out of the basement and let me use one.  It is an aluminum frame mountain bike with road tires, cage pedals, and to top it off, a groovy purple color.  It’s heavier than a real road bike, but it weighs less than my comfort bike.  At “free” it is about $1,000 cheaper than buying a new one.  Me likey.  This bike will go a long way towards achieving that whole “finishing” goal, seeing as how the lack of one would kinda get me DQ’ed.

As for the helmet head, turns out my new hair cut lends itself quite nicely to being rolled, back combed, and generally coerced into one of those old late 50’s helmet styles.  The neighborhood was lousy with such hair styles, fedoras, fake cigarettes, and cocktails for the Mad Men party we attended this weekend.  It was a fund raiser for the school and it was hilarious!  Everyone got as into it as I always do for anything that involves a theme or costume.  I do so love it when everyone is on board!

There were cocktails galore.  I tried something called a “Cuba Libre”, which boils down to rum and coke with lime.  I liked the champagne cocktail better.  I wore the Armani for the first time.  It is like wearing butter.  Total comfort from a little black cocktail dress, who would have thought it possible?  The ladies compared foundation garments and glove shopping.  The men tried to get drunk and not hear us comparing our foundation garments.  Good times.

We stayed out a little later than we should have, but it was great.

Now, however, I am starting to have a panic attack that there are only two weeks of school left, which means there are only two weeks until Disney, which means I am never going to be ready for the tri.  Does anyone have a paper bag?

Triathlon Update: Less Than a Month to Go

So yesterday I began the countdown to the triathlon:  one month.

I still hate running.  I still am having crazy tension in my shoulders.  Haven’t been able to swim for about two weeks now.  And I still don’t have a bike.

No problem.

The one thing I do have is my tri suit.  This amazing feat of engineering is a swimsuit, bike suit and running suit all rolled into one.  The idea being that there is nowhere to change at a triathlon, so the less you need to be naked the better.

Mine is hideous, but it was cheap.  It is lavender with lime green trim.  I told you it was hideous!

So, they say that you should train for at least a month in the clothes, shoes, goggles, whatever that you are going to use on race day.  The idea being that you won’t be surprised by any new chafing, pulling or “hey, that swimsuit wasn’t see thru in the store”.

This meant being out in public in my suit.  After I got the hyperventilating under control, I had a flash of brilliance:  I would disguise my giant belly underneath a large t shirt.  It might not have looked any better but I felt better.

I ran two miles (which for me is a huge moral victory) in the skimpy little thing and to my wonderment, it was pretty comfortable.  There was a weird point where it started to drift to the left on me, but it either didn’t end up bothering me or it self corrected.  Other than feeling like a git, it worked out fine.

Next, I will have to swim in it.  No getting away with a t shirt for that little experiment.  My only fears for the swimming are that the zipper will bother me or that the padding for the biking portion of our program won’t dry.  And, of course, I’m hoping that it’s not see through.

The bike is the biggest obstacle.  Now I know it should be easy enough to just walk into a store and buy a bike.  But there is nothing easy about me.  I am cheap and horribly wishy washy.  Plus, the garage is already bursting at the seams, and I’m not exactly sure where we’d put yet another bike.  There are already three suspended from the ceiling.  One more and the rafters may collapse.  Well, no one said this would be easy.

I have gone through the despair of feeling like there is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever finish the race.  I was relieved to find out that almost everyone goes through this for their first ever race at any new distance.  I just need to relax and remember that I am not training to win, just to finish.

So June 13th, ready or not, here I come!

Triathlon Update: Injury #1A

It’s a cold cruel world out there…and me without a sweater.

My publicist and I would like to let you know that the inner thigh pull feels much better.  But that might be because I am distracted by the severe bone bruise on the opposite ankle.

Not broken, thank you Triathlon gods…but very painful and tear inducing.

You might be wondering how I managed that nifty little trick.  If you ask my publicist, she will inform you that my ankle got caught under the crushing weight of a Harley Davidson as I slid on it sideways underneath a robot alien that was attacking the city in order to get a better shot at it with my armor piercing rounds.

The real reason is simply silly and embarrassing, so I will never tell.

Triathlon Update: Injury #1

It’s a miracle I made it this far.

I am going to blame running, though it isn’t really its fault.

The inner thigh muscle.  Not going to call it the groin muscle…I prefer something more feminine.

You know the thing that sucks the most about going about your daily life with an inner thigh pull on your right leg?  Driving.  I was such the grandma driving home at about 8 mph…you try to put pressure on the gas pedal with an inner thigh pull!!  And don’t even get me started on trying to go down the stairs.  Up is doable.  Down is a flipping nightmare.

My trainer assures me that it should feel better if I stay off it for 48 hours or so and ice the crap out of it.  Sure.  That’ll happen.

Timing wise, if I HAD to get injured, this works out pretty well.  DH is mostly in town, I have months until the event, and nothing physically taxing that HAS to get done.  I was going to finally get the lights off the big tree in front, but shucks, that’ll have to wait.

You may be wondering how I did it.  If you ask my publicist, we are going with pushing a baby out from in front of a speeding train.  As for the real reason…it is too embarrassing and banal.  Something along the lines of “Sammy Sosa sneezed, and threw out his back”.

But I’ll never tell.

I Hate Running

Best use of a treadmill ever.

I have always been a firm believer that unless something is chasing you, there is no reason to run.

This is not something that started in my sedentary adult years.  I have never liked running.  Even as a kid I would do anything to avoid it.  When I was in track…I did field.

And now I have painted myself into a running corner.  There is this stupid running thing at the end of the triathlon.  I must now make peace with it.

Y’see, I can swim for hours.  No problem.  I can’t do it very fast, but I can do it (kick turns and all).  And I have always been happy to bike anywhere and everywhere.

This makes me an exception to the rules.  Apparently, a lot of people who participate in these insane events are runners who for some reason or another can no longer do marathons or other even more insane races.  The blogs and forums are filled with tips so beginners can learn to swim well enough to make it to the biking.  Then they move on to making it through the bike to the run.  The tone is definitely “don’t worry…you will get past these unfortunate sports and run,  we promise!”


In my quest to finish, I will have to run.  I suppose I could just walk the 5K, but there is no “kick ass-ness” in that.  So run I must.

Every week I walk up to the treadmill.  I stow my towel, my water, and my iPod and prepare for my doom.  No matter what I try:  different music, watching movies on the iPod, books on tape, TV, Buddist meditation, daydreaming, quadratic equations…nothing can take my mind off the fact that I am running.  And I hate running, so you can imagine how I have to drag myself through my 20 minutes here, my half and hour there.

At the paces I am setting now, I might finish the run 2 hours after they have packed everything up to go home.  There will be one guy left at the finish, holding my bike, smoking a cigarette and checking his watch.

First Bit ‘O Gear

I got my first piece of official triathlon gear in the mail today!

It’s a “tri suit”:  a swimsuit/bike short suit/running suit that apparently dries phenomenally quickly, has super duper extra padding in all the places you need it to be to ride a bike a long way, and a day glow color that will make me easy to spot at the finish line.  Sweet.

I would post a picture of me in it, but while the training is well underway, I still don’t have the bod to pull the suit off yet.  I may never have it.  And then the picture will never appear on these pages.

I have discovered that, like with anything, there is a dizzying wealth of crap you can buy that will supposedly help you through this experience.  There are wet suits for the chilly water, there are the tri suits, there are separates that together will create a tri suit.  Don’t forget the special belts, hats, gels, goggles, power bars, powders, supplements, sunglasses, socks, jackets, training aids, bike handlebars, helmets, pedals, oh heck, if you can dream it you can buy it.

Tooling around on line I noticed that these suit thingies averaged a little over $100 on sale.  Honestly, I am trying to keep the investments to a minimum.  But I also know that racing swim suits and proper running and biking clothes are expensive as well.  Plus, there are no dressing rooms at the transitions.  Therefore, unless you are REALLY comfortable with public nudity, you have to wear your swimsuit for the whole nine yards underneath whatever else you brought.  Sounds damp to me.

This particular tri suit was on sale for $40!!  While it isn’t the colors I would have chosen, it was $40.  I couldn’t get a racing suit for that.

I tried it on and it fits, though I look a little ridiculous in it.  But it means I won’t have to change at all, so I can use the transitions for stretching, gasping for air, and cursing myself for getting myself into this mess.

Now I just have to figure out a bike to use…

Now I’ve Gone and Done It…

I signed up for my first ever triathlon today.

(Please wait for a moment as the panic attack subsides)

Now, don’t get all excited.  It is just a sprint triathlon (very short by triathlon standards), and my goal is merely to finish.  I won’t be blazing new ground in the age group that starts with a number we won’t mention and ends with a “0”.  I need to find/borrow a bike and figure out how to run/jog/walk 3.whatever miles without the aid of a iPod.  So there is still a long way to go.

Why?  You may ask.  That’s an excellent question.

I have always secretly wished that I was kick ass enough to do the Eco-Challenge.  Remember that?:  People hiking, running, climbing, kayaking, and bitching for a week in a race across the wilds of a third world country.  But not only am I not motivated enough to train for that, you have to have a team of four and there is no way I would ever find 3 people as insane as one would have to be to actually TRY the Eco-Challenge.

So a triathlon seemed like a close second.  And there is this lovely, women only, sprint distance one in June that everyone thinks is just the perfect first triathlon.  I won’t even have to travel.  Lovely.

I also will have at least one friend in the event…possibly more.  This gives me someone to train and commiserate with during the months leading up to the tri (that is apparently what people far cooler than me call it).  Of course, she is in a much younger age category (b#tch) but maybe we can drive out to Naperville together at 3:30 AM or whatever ungodly time we will have to leave to get there by 4:30 AM for check in.  Why is it that organized sporting events usually require such early call times?  Part of the masochistic mentality I suppose.  If you are going to about kill yourself swimming, biking and running, might as well get it over with early in the day!  Leaves time for the ER before dinner.

I will try to keep you posted on any exciting happenings in the lead up.  I can’t imagine what would actually be exciting about training.  I suppose I could trip and fall in a fantastic fashion.  We’ll have to wait and see…