Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wingman update! And...what is that SMELL?

In my ongoing quest to survive the triathlon I got coerced into signing up for (just 18 days away!!), I'm trying to take my training a little more seriously.  A little more time on the bike, a little more time in the pool, and maybe a little less time drinking beers.  Well... everyone that went camping with me this weekend is begging to differ, but hey.  It's a work in progress.  We know I had my first bike/run brick session last week, which was a real eye opener.  Well today I did my first swim/bike brick with Jackie!

Jackie and I spent a lot of time on the roads together over the winter, training for the Boston Marathon.  Jackie is known for creating the most scenic and hilliest, quad thrashing routes she can find.  So I should have been more skeptical when she said, "just to let you know, there's one hill that's pretty rough".  I was all like, "yeah but I have my awesome bike, so... no worries".

Our plan was to bike from her house to the lake, go for a swim, and then bike back to her house.  We had been in contact throughout the day because the weather was looking iffy, but it ended up being a beautiful evening!  I packed up the Trek in the Prius, and headed over to Jackie's.

She fits!
I don't know if I should be psyched or embarrassed that my bike fits in the back of the Prius without even having to remove the front wheel, but... I am psyched!  And incidentally, after much deliberation I have named the beautiful bike.  Her name is Lexi.  Since she's a Trek Lexa SLX, I thought Lexi made a lot of sense, and it's a fun name!  And kind of sexy!  On a side note, I finally decided her name on the way to the campground over the weekend, so imagine how awkward it was when I met up with my friend Paul and he introduced me to his granddaughter Lexi.  I feel like I have to explain to everyone now that I didn't name her after Paul's granddaughter.  Anyways, where was I...

Jackie and I headed out on the bikes, and it shouldn't have surprised me at all when Jackie hopped on the bike and screwed out of the driveway, hitting about 18 mph before she even made it to the road!  Oh, it's going to be one of those rides!  We had a great ride over to the lake, getting in a lot of practice through intersections on her windy route.  We came to a pretty tough hill, where I said, "oh this must be the hill you were talking about", and she said, "no, this isn't it".  Shit.  

Eventually we got to the hill and it was really as bad as she said.  It was the first time I actually considered stopping in a driveway to take a break.  I swore at her a couple times, but eventually I couldn't breathe enough to conjure up anymore swears.  Let me illustrate:

The good part about going up this hill was that I was dying so badly that I was forced to drink from my bottle.  Oddly enough I've never drank from my bottle before, because I always feel like I don't have enough coordination to get the bottle out of the bottle cage, drink, and return it to the bottle cage without tipping over.  At this point, crashing my bike would have been a welcome break, so I took a good long drink while pedaling.  Unfortunately I didn't tip over, so we kept on pedaling straight to the lake!

We got to the lake and I was worried about leaving Lexi unattended, but there were hardly any people there and she was within eyesight, so I just propped her up against a picnic table.

Tonight I got to try out my brand new Tri suit!  I spared you from having to look at a picture of me wearing a Tri suit.  You're welcome.  We put on our cap and goggles and headed into the lake for my first ever open water swim!  I was kind of nervous about it because I'm not really a fan of lakes and ponds.  In fact, if it's not chlorinated, clear water, with black stripes on the floor, it's a little sketchy for me.  The first thing I realized as I went underwater is that I can't see anything!  Nothing.  Just brown, and then more brown.  And then my arm goes in front of my face and creates brown bubbles.  I have absolutely no idea where I'm going.  So then I realized that I have to actually look where I'm going while my face is out of the water.  So then I realized that my goggles suck and I can't see a darn thing out of them when my face is out of the water!  I might need to look into some fancier goggles.  A couple of times I had to stop to adjust my goggles, and dip them underwater to clear out the fog, which gave me practice for race day.  Up until this point, I've only adjusted my goggles and cap from the safety and security of holding onto the pool wall.  Doing it while treading water is much harder!

Beautiful evening at the beach!

While we were swimming back and forth between buoys, I was vaguely aware of some people that were standing on a dock in the water, and I feel like they may have been watching us.  There was a man and two children.  I, being so focused on not sinking, never really paid much attention to it.  Jackie and I finished the last of our laps and then did a cool down swim back to the beach.  As we were getting ready to get back onto our bikes, the father hauled ass out of the water and came up to talk to us.  Here's a sample of the questions he asked us:

  • Are you guys training for something?
  • How far is it between the buoys?
  • So how far did you swim tonight? Coupla miles?
  • They make you swim first in a triathlon?!
All the while he had left his children unattended back in the water.  We tried to quickly wrap up our conversation with this guy, who I could only assume believed me to be a professional athlete since after all I was wearing a tri suit, swim cap, goggles, and KT tape all over my leg.  Oh and I showed up on a super awesome bike.  

As we pedaled off to head back to Jackie's, she said, "Dude. What is it with that bike?!"  And we laughed about the magical magnetic qualities of Lexi.  She really does make a great wingman!

Luckily, the ride back to Jackie's house was much easier, but it was getting a bit late and I decided one of the next things I'm going to get is a blinky light for the back of the bike.  I did get a bit nervous that I might not be too visible to drivers.  It ended up being an awesome experience, and totaled 15 miles of biking and 20 minutes of swimming.

On the drive home from Jackie's house, I became aware of an odor.  Then I realized that the odor was coming from my body.  Not just my body, but my hair, my suit...it was permeating the air.  Oh. My. God.  Pond Smell!  In all the research I've done about newbie triathlon training, I haven't seen a single reference to the horrible pond smell that follows triathletes!  Needless to say I made a beeline to the shower as soon as I got home!  I think it's safe to say that the pond smell will counteract the attractive qualities of Lexi, so I don't expect to have any admirers following me around town!

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