Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Casting Off The Training Wheels

Sometimes I wonder what, if anything, actually filters through my small brain. On Saturday, I needed to do a long run somewhere between 10-15 miles. You know - just depending on how I felt. I want to work on pushing my lactate threshold. 

Suddenly, via Facebook, I see the T3 group is planning a group ride on Saturday at 1 pm. I watch...and it looks like there may be a couple of groups riding at various levels. Cool! I'm in! I need to cast off the trainer and hit a real road. 

Saturday morning I taught Body Flow in Pekin at Parkside Athletics and I just brought my running gear with me so I could run in a different area for a nice change of pace. By the time I finished teaching and chatted it up with my participants, I found myself in the locker room with a couple of other instructors asking about a good running route for a longer distance. Delay after delay, I finally took off to hit the trail which starts behind Parkside Athletics. 

Ignore the long line heading back to Tremont. I forgot to hit reset before taking off on my bike. Grr. Oh well. Anyway, Pekin has a nice trail which starts in Mineral Springs Park and then across Parkway Drive to Coal Miner's Park.  From there, I caught Allenton out to Veterans Drive and looped back to Pekin. I completed the 12.05 miles in 2:11:26.4 for a 10:55 pace. A little slower than I wanted. I was trying to stay on a 10:39 pace, but I have time to work on that. 

By the time I got home to eat some food, I only had 30 minutes to change, reload my bike and head out for the group ride. My husband thought I was nuts and so did some small part of myself, but I felt like I needed a reality check anyway. Boy did I get one.  I've always wondered what the Bovine Loop was that all of the T3 group spoke so highly of. Today was my day to find out.  I showed up late, unloaded my bike and we took off. Or I should say they took off. Me? I was spinning, spinning, spinning, but going nowhere fast. Cadence? Between 100-120. Oh yah, I have gears on my bike. HA! I need to change them. Spin spin spin. What the heck? 

I know I've had problems changing my front ring in the past and I couldn't get it to move! I was feeling frustrated as the pack continued to move away from me. Not that I was upset with them, but because I felt like an idiot who didn't know how to work her bike! Suddenly it occurred to me. To change my front ring, I need to use my left gear shift. (I can't even believe I am admitting this in public.) Oh, yes, Dolce, my sweet bike, I remember you!

Suddenly, I wasn't spinning, but actually moving forward..until I turned into the wind. The spring wind was coming out of the SW and it was strong. Add that to my tired legs and you already have a preview of how well my first bike outing went. 

The pack was waiting for me about 6 miles out. They were all smiling, cheering me on, but I am sure silently they were saying, "Are we going to have to wait for her all day?"

I was horrified to watch everyone fly by me. I knew my legs were tired, but even with fresh legs I knew there was no way I was going to keep up with that group. I told Mr. Muscle I was going to turn around, but he wouldn't hear it. He would ride up the hill once, come back down and head up again while I was chugging through my first time. Oh how I hated that. Not that I blame him, but because I felt so lame and weak. 

Actually, Mr. Muscle was a great help. After the first long hill, he started talking to me about when to shift gears and how much pressure I should feel on my legs. The thing is I know I am strong. I know my legs can get me through this Ironman. It may not be fast, but I will get it done. The problem is conserving your legs during the 112 mile bike ride so you can get through the marathon at the end. It's all about balance and find the right mixture of tension and cadence to propel you through the bike and onto a relaxing run. 

Another thing I hate to admit? Did you see it? My speed. 13.6 mph. Oh good Lord. Seriously? I have a lot of work to do. I declared March to be the MONTH OF THE SWIM.  I guess that means April needs to be the MONTH OF THE BIKE. I will be spending a lot of time on that bike thinking about gears, shifting and ignoring my backside as I ride over the crappy Central Illinois roads.  

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