Tuesday, June 15, 2010

MS Bike Tour

I did the Leduc to Camrose MS Bike Tour for the fifth time this past Saturday and Sunday. Here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (in reverse order) on the weekend:

The Ugly:

* 26 km/h headwind on Day 1
* Fresh tar on the road and construction that we had to be bussed around, cutting the Day 1 ride short by 14K. We felt ripped off but didn't want to ride our bikes over the tar.
* Me in the pictures of the tour. Seriously. I'm not being attention seeking here. I looked awful. So fat. When will I ever get a grip on myself?

The Bad:

* Pounding music at dinner after a long, hard, windy, hot day of riding. We all just wanted to chill out and chat and we had to scream at each other just to talk.
* So many people riding two and three abreast making it very frustrating and dangerous to try to pass.

The Good:

* A little bit more money raised that might help some people live a better life.
* 170 kilometers of riding on my trusty road bike, which feels so perfect for me.
* The massage at the end.
* The sore hip I started with feeling better at the end. The ride did it good.
* Quiet, comfortable dorms.
* Doing the tour with nine wonderful friends and family members - Kim, Ken, Tracy, Becky, Frank, Larissa, Dan (husband), Thom (brother) and Les (Dad) - so much better than doing it alone like I did the first year!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Was That a Good Idea?

Yesterday, I did the Vulcan Tinman Triathlon - a 500m swim, 15K bike, and 5K run. It was my fifth time doing this particular event.

Because of my hip injury, I wasn't sure if I was going to do it this year. Besides the fact that it hurts quite a bit, I haven't trained much at all for the last two months. I tried to sell my bib but there were no takers so I took my stuff with me just in case I decided to do it when I got there. I was going anyway because Dan was doing the race, as were several members of my extended family.

With five little nieces and nephews doing the kids' race and six other members of my family doing the adult race, it was a long and crazy day of running around and cheering for everyone who was coming and going. My swim heat was at 2:40 pm so by the time that drew closer, I was already having trouble walking and almost decided not to start. But I had already picked up my souvenir race hoodie and I wanted to earn it if I had it. That may have been a stupid reason to decide to do a race with an injury but that's exactly what I did.

The swim was just about the worst swim I have ever had in my entire life. It sucked royally from start to finish. Halfway through, I was about to tell the volunteer that I was getting out but instead she said to me, "You're halfway!" in such a cheerful voice that I couldn't tell her I was quitting so I kept swimming. My time was 15:15, a royally sucking time. I had predicted 12 minutes for my swim. That time includes about a 100m distance to the timing mats at the transition, which I walked half of in a totally demoralized state until I pulled myself together and got on with the race.

The bike, on the other hand, felt totally exhilarating. The soul sucking wind is pretty much par for the course in Vulcan so it was an effort just to keep the bike upright but I still really enjoyed the ride. I love my new tri bike! It is such a pleasure to ride! When I arrived back at T2, several family members were there to watch me and I shouted out, "I love this bike!" when I got there. They laughed and then I felt silly but I was just feeling the love at that moment. My time was 42:59 (including T1 and T2), which wasn't as fast as I felt like I was going but I can live with it considering the wind and my sore hip.

When I got off my bike, I found it very hard to walk because my hip had stiffened up on the bike. I hobbled to my transition spot and changed into my runners, deciding that I would see how far I could make it on the run. The run actually felt OK. I jogged slowly, taking it easy on my hip, but it was pleasant. It was my slowest 5K ever but it was faster than I thought it might be and I did make it to the end in 39:51 for a total time of 1:38:04.

After the race, my whole family met at my dad's trailer and we had a BBQ and visit. It's a nice part of the day. My family is pretty stats oriented and loves to analyze and it gets to be a little much for me, especially when the non-triathletes start analyzing your race for you. But I try to stay away from that kind of conversation and just enjoy the visit.

Today, I am evaluating the day and the race in my mind. I am in quite a lot of pain today and feeling quite disabled so I'm not sure that I was really good about followng my doctor's and physiotherapist's instructions to "let pain be the guide." I definitely overdid it in terms of my injury. But I am not enjoying these months of being sidelined and so limited in what I can do. I'm not happy that I sucked so bad at Vulcan when this was supposed to be my big year. Once again, I'm not happy that everyone else in my family can do their annual triathlon, barely train, and still go faster than me (except Dan, who did train and did do really well, even though he ran 100K the weekend prior). I keep wondering when my time will come when I actually get fit and fast(er) and have a great year. In some ways, doing the race made things worse from a physical and mental standpoint.

On the other hand, despite the suckage on the swim and the sore hip, I did get to go out there and do a triathlon and I was reminded yesterday about how much I love it. It renewed my desire to aim for bigger things when I am able to return fully to training and it made me happy to see how other members of my family have come to enjoy it, too. In a couple of days, when I can walk again, I'll probably think it was worth it!