Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Return to the Scene

A little less than a year ago, I bought my bike and went on my first real ride (as in, not in a parking lot) with a beginner's group hosted by the local triathlon club. It was pretty much the worst night of my life. I was totally unprepared to be riding in traffic and down hills and it was essentially a ten mile complete panic attack. I still remember the terror.

Yesterday I got an email that the triathlon club was hosting Monday night rides again, starting from the same spot. I'm pretty far behind where I want to be training-wise for the HIM, so any time I can get in on the bike needs to happen. Not going to lie though, the idea of going back to that specific spot for a ride made me pretty anxious. There's a really awesome Hunger Games reference I could make here. I don't want to include any spoilers, but I'm sure true fans can figure out what I'm thinking.

Only one other person showed up, and the two of us had a great ride. We started out on the same hilly panic attack route down a busy road in rush hour, with approximately 2 feet of shoulder in the "wide" spots. Then we went to some quieter neighborhoods and did some ridiculous climbs. My long rides have been on pretty flat terrain with a few short, steep climbs. This was more like mile long gradual inclines that had me sucking wind like crazy.

Elevation profile - pretend to be impressed even if you're not.
The exciting thing is that I wasn't gripping the brakes so hard my hands hurt in a panic on the downhills. Even flying down curves at 30mph wasn't fazing me. (They may not have been sharp curves, and that may not be flying to some, but it was to me.) My nerves were more at the level of when I check my grades  (my own grades, not grades I give my students) compared to last year when they were more at the level of hearing someone break your bedroom window in the middle of the night while you're all alone. 

However, it did make me a little nervous about my preparedness for the HIM - I need to get more hill work in, stat. 

In other news I received some almost decent race photos. 

This one has me almost smiling, eyes open, both feet possibly off the ground at LPM. Bonus, you can see the pretty water view in the background.

As I crossed the finish of the Rock and Roll DC half marathon, I swore that for once I was going to get a finish line photo where I wasn't pausing my Garmin.

Actually I think this means I didn't run hard enough
 I took this one after DC RnR. If only the photographer could have waited until I looked at her and stopped covering my medal. I felt more like that girl behind me looks.

Casi and I are pretty covered with the "proof" watermark here but Eric looks adorable before the race. So happy and unaware of what awaited him.

What's a fear that you have overcome?

Did anyone else get nervous looking up their grades (or finding out grades in some other way before they were online)? I strongly suspect this is not totally normal.


  1. You got some great pictures from the marathon down here! You look like a magazine ad for a happy marathoner.

    I'm also really impressed that you weren't looking at your Garmin at the finish line! I can't NOT look, it's a sickness.

    Just reading about biking down hill around curves makes my blood pressure spike a little. I could probably give you a run for your money on the biking panic :)

  2. That first pic of you is great! Beautiful scenery and you look great-- Runners World cover, anyone?

    When I did that bike trip, we rode over the Appalachians and because of the paniers on the back of my bike, I got HAULING. I think my max was 43mph and not gonna lie... I was a bit nervous :) I kept thinking of what would happen to my head WHEN I flew over the handlebars!

  3. I think that first picture should be your new banner shot.

    I don't think I've ever been that afraid of anything. However, I am a big giant wuss, so that's probably worse.

  4. 30mph is pretty darn fast. 30kph, not so fast. Maybe your speedo is off.

    Also, I think those photographers put "PROOF" on their photos for a reason...

  5. I also get nervous from the same two things -- riding close to traffic, and riding downhill fast.

  6. that is an awesome marathon pic! i clearly need to take notes from you for boston!

    i need to NOT look at my damn garmin at the finish. i ruin every finish line photo (as if me looking at my garmin was the only problem with the picture!).

  7. Your photo from the marathon is amazing....a nearly perfect picture. And that IS fast to be going down hills, curve or not. In my opinion, anything above 25 mph is hauling...since a front tire blowout at that speed would be less than pleasant.

  8. Wow, 30 MPH? I am psyched when I hit 20 MPH! You're awesome! I have total panic about hills - I have fallen too many times! Nice new race pictures! I always think I am looking up when they are snapping & I never am!

  9. That's a great marathon picture of you!

    I would totally panic on the downhill.

    And yes, I felt my heart pounding when I looked up grades.

  10. None of that biking mumbo-jumbo means anything to me but I can judge by the comments that it is awesome, so congrats. Maybe one day I will learn to ride a bike and then I can say I conquered my fears.
    I used to FREAK OUT about my grades. I never did badly but I am such a perfectionist I couldn't sleep before report cards even as a kid.

  11. Wait. No camelbak. What's wrong? It's only for real long-distance runs?

  12. Nice biking elevation. Hills on a bike are no fun. Sweet race picture with the water in the background! It totally looks like a magazine ad. I've become a wuss lately, freaking out while hiking. I need to overcome that. Also, the girl behind you in the RnR race pic looks like death!!

  13. Oh man, I can't NOT look at my Garmin at the finish. Patrick and I finished RnR, hand in hand...and the only picture I got has me already looking at my Garmin.

    Awesome job on the bike! The bike is definitely keeping me from trying a tri. Going that fast scares the bejesus out of me!

  14. I agree that you should use that top picture for your banner assuming there's a way to get the digital rights. You look great!

  15. Those are really good race photos!


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.