Leave it to me to start a running blog and then pretty much stop running. That’s so me…refusing to be defined. But wait, I have an excuse! I spent my summer learning to be a cyclist. Here’s how it went…
Somehow, not by skill, but by sheer dumb luck, I got myself invited to a cycling camp in the French Alps in July 2015 during the Tour de France. It’s the trip of a lifetime for someone who has been cycling for a lifetime (that would not be me). But I also consider it the trip of a lifetime for anyone who is an endurance junkie and considers any physical torture amongst breathtaking natural scenery to be vacation-worthy. So I figured I was qualified to attend. So, way back in February, I bought a bike, hung up my running shoes, and began the 6-month process of overtraining/panicking over my cycling ability. It all worked out, and I got the souvenir photo to prove it:
If you’re looking for quality training advice on the bike, the best tip I can give you is that Amodex Ink & Stain Remover removes bike grease very well from body parts and your fancy new cycling kits. Other cycling tips are better left to the experts. What I did learn through the process of training for France Camp is how great it is to step outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. I repeated my training mantra often, ‘You cannot do anything epic without being willing for things to go wrong.’ In other words, giving into fear and playing it safe results in nothing interesting. Did anything go wrong in France? Maybe.
But most of the trip was absolutely incredible, and over time, amnesia will take care of all my little mistakes. I’ll just remember how awesome it was! One of the best trips ever.
While we’re on the subject of fear, let’s talk triathlon. Not wanting to waste my France Camp training, I signed up for my second sprint triathlon this past weekend. My first tri was in 2011, and I’ve been chickening out for the past 4 years on a repeat performance. However, I couldn’t figure out a better opportunity to use my bike skill before it disappeared, so I signed up. Never mind that I had barely gotten my feet wet all summer, so the pool swim was predicted by me to result in a pitiful time. I wasn’t exactly running as fast as usual, either, due to my reduced running volume. My only hope was to kill it on the bike, and see how fast I could go.
That plan worked out, and I had the fastest female bike split of the day by 1 second. This will likely never happen again, so as far as my cycling career is concerned, I am complete!!! I got REALLY lucky on that one, because due to my triathlon inexperience, and general goofiness, I stopped to pose for a picture at the bike dismount line and chatted with a race volunteer before realizing the bike split didn’t end until I crossed the timing mat heading into T2. Yikes! I know real triathletes would never waste time like that, but what the heck, it’s my local neighborhood race, so no need to be too hardcore. Thank goodness I hustled and got over that mat with that 1 second to spare. My bike split was enough to snag me 2nd in my age group, so I got to stand on the podium…a big surprise.
I feel great (relief) knowing my next race is the Richmond Marathon, and I can finally get back in my wheelhouse. I am dusting off my Marathon Maniacs gear and getting ready to do what I do best. Ironically, I’ve never placed in a running race, but for some reason, it feels like my sport, and like a fine French wine, I’m probably getting better with age.