Switching Gears. Literally.

I began the year with a goal to run 1000 miles, just like last year. I’ve written time, and time, and time again, how burnt out I am on running. I just haven’t felt the running this year.

Which is all to say that I realized, sometime in early to mid-September, that if I was going to hit my 1000 miles, I needed to step it up. Regardless of how much I didn’t want to run more, I had to get disciplined and increase my weekly mileage if I wanted to cover 1000 by December 31st, 2015. Doable? Absolutely.

Desirable? Remember how I felt about running in early to mid-September? On the heels of the summer runstreak debacle? I was not in a place to up the running ante. Add that to the always-insane back to school 6-8 week rat race, and I found myself genuinely questioning whether making myself miserable just to, once again, complete a goal I set for myself, was the “right” choice. #personalgrowth

At this same time, my best friend finished her first triathlon.

Now, the triathlon is her story to tell, so I don’t want to write much about it, other than to say I was, and am, ridiculously proud of her. I helped her train for the swim component over the summer, so I saw firsthand the amazing progress she made.  I was there at the finish line, both humbled, and inspired, by how hard she worked. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Former Division I swimmer? Four-time half marathon finisher? A sprint triathlon should be a fun no-brainer for me.

And it would be. Except for the bike. Oh, the bike.

Do I know how to ride a bike? Sure. Do I get on bikes? No. No I do not.

When I was a child (I think age 10? 11?) I had a very serious bike accident. I was rammed from behind by the (older male) neighborhood bully; I was fleeing from him as fast as my feet could pedal (why was he chasing me? I don’t know. Or I don’t remember. It’s not pertinent to the plot), but he was older, stronger, faster. I was completely and totally unprepared for the impact that sent me face first over the handlebars, with a force so abrupt and sudden that I didn’t even have time to put my hands up to break my fall.

I went chin first into a manhole cover. My chin split to the bone (the doctor said it was amazing my mandible didn’t shatter), requiring 3 layers of stitches (23 total) to close up. I also cracked 6 teeth, only 4 of which were baby teeth, so I have 2 crowns to this day as a permanent reminder of the accident. Incident. Assault. Whatever you want to call it.

I don’t ride bikes.

Except that my life journey over the past 5 years has been proving to myself that I can do what I’m not “supposed” to be able to do.

The very fact that I say I don’t, can’t, won’t, ride a bike tells me that I really, really should.

So, I’m doing a sprint triathlon in April. I already have 4 (running) races on the books between now and then, including 2 half marathons, so my training still needs to be run-heavy. As much as I want to spend time in the pool (because that is where I can kick ass in the race), I will probably focus on that least, since my time is so limited (damn full time job and 3 kids), and I could jump in the pool this afternoon and do a sprint distance fairly strongly.

And the bike.

My husband is going to buy me a bike for Christmas (because obviously I don’t own one), and I need to learn to ride again, after 30ish years.

I’m scared. Like, when I think about riding a bike at a quick-ish speed with other people riding around me, I actually feel my pulse start to race, kind of scared.

Maybe I will hate it. Maybe I will complete it, check it off my list, and turn around and put the bike on Craig’s List (I have a very understanding husband).

Maybe I’ll love it. Maybe the cross training needed for a 3-sport competition will keep me from getting bored and I’ll enthusiastically sign up for more, determined to get stronger, faster, better.

Or maybe, like with my half marathons, I will hate pretty much every second of training and the actual race, but continue to doggedly pursue it because I have some dysfunctional, disordered obsessive drive to continually make myself uncomfortable in a quest for self-improvement.

I don’t know. First, I need to get on the damn bike.

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5 responses to “Switching Gears. Literally.

  1. This is fantastic,T. It is definitely a bucket list item for me, to do a tri…the training for both the swim and the bike ride make me nervous…

  2. You are an inspiration!

  3. Pingback: New Year’s Goals: 2016 | I Used to Drive a Minivan

  4. Pingback: Tri? What tri? | I Used to Drive a Minivan

  5. Pingback: Another summer of my discontent: the triathlon version | I Used to Drive a Minivan

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