Yes...that was me just 2 years ago at my first triathlon. Oddly enough, I was loving it! I did wonder why my bike didn't look like everyone else's though :( This current post is a MAJOR eye-opener that anyone can make dramatic improvements with their training. Even though I was a college swimmer, I can't tell you all the improvements that I have made with my bike and run training during this past year. I can remember a little under 2 years ago when I was falling over on my bike cause of those stupid clip pedals and silly aerobars. Ok-stop the laughing at the picture already! :)
Last night I had one of my BEST rides to date. It was with the gearlink group in Landsbrook (6:30 pm), which is always a FAST ride. 2 loops warmup (a loop is around 3 miles) and 5 laps FAST! The first fast loop was around 25 mph and then you try to hold on at 28 mph for the rest of the laps. For most of the guys on the team, this ride is only tough if you can win the sprint at the end of the 5th loop. Other than that, the riders rotate so there can always be a bit of high intensity. Believe me..these are strong guys that ride! IT sounds fast and the group is really strong, so even when I ride during the warmup at 20 mph I know I am not going to hang for the rest of the ride. Last year I barely made the warm-up cause I was not strong enough to even draft and stay on someone's wheel. Last year I rode two loops of warm-up and because my cornering was so bad also, I would sometimes get dropped during warm-up on one of the 4 corners. Then once i got dropped I would ride on the other side of the road in the opposite direction just wishing I could have hung on a bit longer. But....this year I saw more butts than I ever have! Because I rode up to Landsbrook around 5:30pm (12 miles) I was thinking I would only do the 2 warm-up laps and then ride home. Well, during warm-up I felt so strong on my road bike that I had to at least try to test my endurance and skills that I have been working on since last summer when I rode with them for the first time on my b-day May 31 Until Sept. I figured I would get dropped during the first 30 seconds of the first lap like last year and then ride my 12 miles home. I was shocked....I made the first lap! I kept trying to stay at the back and hang on to a draft as everyone was rotating. And I couldn't give up. I kept saying "OK, 1/2 more lap and see if you can hang, ok 1/2 more laps, etc." I survived 3 1/2 laps before getting dropped!!!!!!! I was totally amazed. I think some of the guys were a bit shocked too that I was still in the pack when last year I wouldn't even rotate during warm-up. My ride home was tough cause I was DONE after my 5 laps !!! As I was riding home in the dark around 8pm I was thinking to myself how far I have gotten in this short amount of time. Even with teaching my spin class and running 6 miles in the morning, I was still having a blast out there with an average 148 heart rate (high for me on the bike!) and lots of lactate in the legs during the ride. A total of 45 miles last night and a ridiculous 23 mile high intensity workout! Boy was I huffing and puffing. I was even getting pushes on my butt so I wouldn't get dropped. Those gearlink guys sure look after me! But in less than one year I am now able to draft off some of the best cyclists in Florida... and to have only been riding a bike for 2 years??!!! This post would make a lot more sense to those who saw me riding last year. It was pretty pathetic. I'm not trying to boast about myself at all. I want to show people that with enough determination, enjoyment in what you are doing and hard effort during training, you can turn yourself into the best triathlete you want to be. Maybe you want to do your first triathlon but are scared to be out there with the veteran triathletes. DON't BE afraid! Istarted as a newbie with a hybrid bike at my first 3 triathlons before investing in better equipment. Most of all..I didn't give up. I asked questions, I read articles and I submersed myself into this sport! I can't tell you how many swims, runs and bike rides I have done with others and have gotten my butt kicked. I could have gotten myself in a rut and tore myself apart by not being able to keep up with others but I kept hanging in there. I worked on skills, technique, endurance...you name it and I did it! Think about YOUR goals and dreams and when it comes to training and racing, the only person you have to compete with is yourself. I am a tough cookie when it comes to training, so it doesn't take a lot to get my competitive side going....especially if I am training with guys! Well, if I plan to race in Kona and pursue my dream of turning pro, I guess I have to keep stepping up the training. Swimming is going unbelievable with 4 x 400 pace set this morning (holding 1:22 per 100 yr), followed by 3 x 100 on 1:25 (held 1:15) and an easy and enjoyable 47 min run on the trail. 3 days of running this week and no treadmill!!! According to some of the elite triathletes I have spoken with, I know I am doing the right thing by not running on the treadmill. Oh Cybex treadmill..I do miss you!
It's going to be a great weekend of training as I step up the intensity and volume. As I get myself ready for the last couple of weeks of solid training before st.anthony's.... I'm feeling so good...OK one last look at the picture.