Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not Feeling the Love

Today is Day 34 of the 100 Day Triathlon Training Challenge and I am on track. It's also Week 1 of my 20 week training program for the Great White North half iron triathlon on July 4. I am very excited about the upcoming race season and pumped to train and prepare.

There's just one little problem: My body is not enjoying it. My legs are painfully stiff and sore - knots in my quads, twitches in my hip flexors, permanent charlie horses in my calves, and tender spots in my IT bands. As well, I seem to have very little power when I run and ride. At least swimming is OK if I don't use my legs.

I am being sensible, giving myself rest days and recovery weeks. I am eating well now and drinking enough water. So, I'm trying to figure out what the problem is. Someone suggested that I have "dead triathlete legs" and another thought maybe I started back into things too quickly after the marathon I ran at the end of November (with almost no training so it wasn't pretty!). Of course, I always wonder if it's my weight and I'm sure the extra pounds don't help. I also wonder whether I am experiencing more aches and pains now because I am aging or because this is what being a woman who's heading for 50 will be like for me. Maybe it's all of these things or none of them.

I am trying to work my way through this. I am taking care of myself and pacing myself so that I don't lose training time or make my situation worse. It's very frustrating. I want to manage this so that I can keep my focus on the excitement I feel about this summer's races. My mind and spirit are totally into it so I'm going to have to coax my body back into feelin' the love.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lonely Bikes, Loved Bikes

I have just recently become aware of the number of bikes that I see outside, locked up to stop signs, abandoned now for several months. I'm sure I've driven past them hundreds of times but now that winter is growing long, I am realizing how long they've been there and I'm starting to feel sorry for them. I don't understand how they came to be where they are. Don't their owners have backyards, basements, bedrooms, balconies, or garages? Don't they worry about their bikes, out there in public for months on end?

OK. So you say, "Silly Sarah! What's the big deal? They're just bikes." Well, I suppose these sad bikes have just piqued my interest because I love my own bikes so much. I baby them. I worry about them when they're out in the cold garage.

Last summer, while I was riding my road bike, I had to slow down to negotiate a sharp turn onto a steep decline. I hesitated just a split second too long and fell right over to the left. I fell with my head slightly on the roadway and I felt the gravel under my skin as I went down. But, once I got myself back up, my only thought was whether my bike was OK! As I stood there oblivious to the bleeding from my arm and leg, I inspected the tear in my brand new handlebar tape and lamented about the damage.

Later in the summer, I accidentally tore a small hole in the seat of my commuter bike when I leaned it against a nail in the garage wall. It's very small and of no real consequence but it made me feel sick to my stomach for a little while.

A couple days ago, I was about to back my car out of the garage when my snow-covered shoe slid right off the clutch. The car lurched forward a couple feet, stopping just short of my new triathlon bike, which was leaning up against a cabinet at the front of the garage. My heart skipped a beat! Never mind that it would have scratched the hood of my car. Any damage to my bike would have been much more tragic!

Bikes are expensive and, more than that, they represent fun, fitness, freedom, potential, and power. I can't quite fathom just abandoning them to the elements. I'm pretty sure that other triathletes feel the same way about their bikes and probably have an affinity and respect for bikes in general. I think we notice beautiful bikes and appreciate how important they are to our sport. And the fact that we name our bikes sort of says it all!