Triathlon Tuesdays, Week 2: Apples and oranges

21Jan08

Should I change this to Triathlon Mondays? Eh, no. I’m sure there will be weeks when I’m posting this on a Friday. Anyway, here are my Stats, my farthest distances to date:

Swimming – 700 meters

Biking – 12.78 miles

Running – 4.75 miles

Last week I mentioned that I would talk about swimming this week. I fully intended to do so. And then I went on a group ride last Saturday.

So far, I have been feeling good about my biking abilities. No, I am not burning up the road and breaking land-speed records, but I felt good going my speed while keeping my heart rate within range. But last Saturday, I joined a few stragglers from the team to go on the scheduled group bike. Personal business and Nevada caucusing kept most teammates away this weekend.

I don’t know much about the four other women who were on the ride, and I am just now getting to know their names. But all look very athletic. We were about to embark on a 60 minute ride, half of which would be uphill. As we took off, Coach Chuck ordered me to the front of the line, behind one of the team mentors, triathlete Michele. “Okay,” I thought. “I can handle this. She and I run about the same speed, this should be fine.”

And then there was a puff of smoke and she was gone. I was left there, now front of the line, spinning my legs and puttering along at Marci speed.

Coach Chuck immediately peddled up to me to ask if everything was okay. OKAY? I feet great! What’s up? Behind me, I could hear the other three women biking right behind me. I waved them on.

“To your left!”

“To your left!”

“To your left!”

You’re doing great, Marci!

ZZZEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOMMMM! Off they went. As they peddled on, they got smaller and smaller in the distance. My self-confidence got smaller and smaller too.

Coach peddled along side me, asking question after question about my heart rate, my cadence, how my legs felt, if I was in the right gear. Everything was where it should be. Diagnosis: I am really pathetic.

I glanced over at Coach, he was hardly peddling as to not speed ahead of me… as I was pumping pumping pumping my legs. I felt a little lump welling in my throat. I felt like crying. I felt like the weak kid I used to be, the one who took 15 minutes to run “the 500” in elementary school. I told Coach I felt really discouraged, I must be a really bad biker since I wanted to be on pace with the others.

“No, you’re doing really well! Don’t worry about them! Think about YOU!”

“What if I’m just not strong enough? What if I’m too slow and I get disqualified from the race?”

(WOAH? Where did that come from? I haven’t been filled with self-doubt like that since I was applying for law school 11 years ago.)

“You need to be positive! Look what a great day it is. Look at you, doing your best. Look at all the good you’re going for yourself and people around you. The race is three months away, and you WILL finish!”

I just kept puttering along, up and down the hills. Coach stuck with me the whole time, all 60 minutes. He kept asking me questions about how I was feeling, and when I got bored of those, I asked him about where he was raised, his son, his business.

“Yeah, anyway, so how are you feeling going up this hill? What’s your heart rate?”

Point taken. Coach isn’t interested in personal chit chat.

We all met up an hour later, and I received all sorts of conciliatory “Good job!” and “You’re doing great!” cheers, like I was the team’s damn Rudy. I joked that I was just pulling up the rear to make sure that none of them got lost.

While we chatted after the session, I listened more closely to what the other women were doing. One has run three marathons the past year. Another just finished a marathon the week before. Another ran a nine-minute mile for two hours non-stop as part of a charity event, and she plans to train for a Half Ironman after our triathlon in April.

These women are exceedingly athletic and active. I am just starting out. I am an orange amid a few apples. I cannot compare my progress to theirs. There are others on the team (who were apparently caucusing) that might actually be slower then ME! I don’t need to be first, I don’t even need to be in the middle. I simply don’t want to finish the race last.

So I will keep doing my thing, enjoying my progress, and feeling better than I have in many, many years. And Coach now knows not to stick me in the front of the line.

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12 Responses to “Triathlon Tuesdays, Week 2: Apples and oranges”

  1. Forget the bike ride…let’s talk about how you can run 4.75 miles in one jaunt.

    DUDE, YOU ROCK.

  2. I had a hard time not comparing myself to others, even while in the actual marathon. I kept reminding myself that I was just “competing” against myself and that since it was my first marathon anything I did was worthy of being labeled “awesome”. But it’s still hard to avoid getting bogged down in self doubt. And I got a huge boost in knowing that there were about 1000 people that finished the marathon behind me (and another 3000 that didn’t even finish – I’m so evil!).

    You’re doing great and I’m sure you’ll get better with more training and practice.

  3. I would have been in your dust so don’t feel bad. The fact that you can do all that without coughing up a lung is VERY impressive.

    YOU are my hero!

    Go Marci!

  4. you are my personal hero!!!

    go LVGURL….GO!!!!@!!!@#!!!

  5. I concur with those above.

    YOU ROCK!!!

    (As I sit here eating chips and drinking a martini)

  6. I can’t even imagine running with this gut/belly I have grown, so go out there sister and kick some major ass. I’ll be cheering you on from the delivery room. 😀

    I am proud that you even decided to do a triathlon, let alone TRAIN for one. WOOT WOOT!

  7. I think you’re doing enough working out for all of us. I might seriously contemplate a run later in your honor. Of course it will need to be followed by some wine, but that’s a minor detail.

  8. Aren’t you ‘training’ for a triathalon? Exactly. Although I know exactly how you feel, I will be cheering you on from across the miles. The fact that you are running, swimming AND biking all in one shot, make you my hero. In a month you will look back and laugh at this post, I know you will 🙂

  9. WOW. I am so very, very impressed with you. Keep us all posted on your progress!!

  10. You just can’t compare yourself to any of the other athletes. I think you’re doing an amazing job! Personally, I can’t wait to hear about your first day combining all 3 sports into one session. Any one of those is hard enough on its own. YIKES!

  11. I love swimming! It’s the best exercise. Though I haven’t done it in awhile! You must feel great about yourself! About Heath, I still am in shock!

  12. 12 MichelleN

    I am training for my first triathlon in April. I have a 3 month old, and am worried my post pregnancy training is not adequate. Your blog is an inspiration. Although it is called a “triathlon” it is a mini one compared to what you are doing. I had to take a break this week from training because I have been sick, but you have inspired me to really start getting on the bike. I am hoping I don’t finish last in the triathlon I am doing. I will look forward to hearing more about your training.


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