Feeling discouraged.

16 May

On Friday, I officially registered for the Boulder Sunrise Triathlon on June 4th. That means I have 3 weeks left and only 2 to really train (the last week will be a taper). I have to admit, I’m feeling kind of discouraged. Even though I’ve been diligent in training 4-5 days a week (missing only 1 workout a week), I am worlds away from where I was 2 years ago. I had expected that getting a real tri bike would make me faster on the bike, but no, I am just as slow or slower than I was on my mountain bike.

On Saturday, I finally bought a bike trainer so that I can ride my tri bike indoors. I tried it out last night for the first time – I decided to do my 15-mile ride while watching the season finale of Desperate Housewives (which was very good, BTW). I realized after I started that I should have done a little research or watched the training video before attempting a ride of that length on a contraption I barely know how to operate but there wasn’t time for that. So I just jumped on and hoped for the best.

It was brutal. I was ready to be done after just ½ mile. I had my bike gears set on the smallest big cog and the middle of the small ones but I was still only going 8.5 mph. I’m pretty sure an 8-year-old on a 1-speed bike can ride faster than that. After 3 miles of torture, I seriously contemplated throwing in the towel. But I really needed to ride 15 because the bike leg of the triathlon only 3 weeks away is 17 miles.

I remembered that the guy who sold the trainer to me said that you could change the resistance on the trainer itself, instead of on your bike. So I got off, grabbed the cable, and started clicking as I rode. That was definitely the main issue. I decreased the resistance to the point where I could shift my bike gears back to the middle big cog and the 3rd or 4th small one. For the rest of the ride, I was comfortably riding at an 11.5 mph pace (still pathetic but I cared about distance more than pace).

Then the issue became how uncomfortable and at times, painful, it was to sit on the bike seat for that long. After 8 long miles of constantly wanting to quit, I started alternating 5 minutes of riding in position with 5 minutes of sitting straight up to give myself a break. I’m not sure if I just need a different seat or if I just need to get used to it. I plan on riding at least 20 minutes every day to see if I can get more used to the seat. If not, I will have to go buy a new one because that is by far the most miserable part about riding the bike.

Regardless of all that, I finished the whole 15 miles in 1:28.

So you can probably see why I’m discouraged about the bike portion. I’m also discouraged about the swimming and running parts. While I am getting better at the swim, I’m still very slow (it takes me about 21:30 to swim 800 yards) and while I “come from a running background” into the sport of triathlon, I’m incredibly slow at that too (running 10:30-11:30 minutes miles on average).

I’ve always said that I do triathlons for fun and the personal challenge, not to win because I know how slow I am. God did not build me for speed. But I’m even slower than I had been! When I was training in 2009, I was biking at a 14 mph pace regularly (on a mountain bike), running 9:00-10:00 minute miles, and was swimming 200 yards in 4:30 instead of 5:00 or 5:15.

I know that a big part of why I was faster then was that I was doing weight training in addition to the cardio endurance sessions. But I’m hesitant to add that in because it made me so tired that I could barely function. I had no energy for anything beside working and sleeping. I stopped grocery shopping, stopped cooking dinner, stopped reading, writing, doing anything except what I needed to do to survive. I felt like my quality of life went down because I didn’t have the energy to do most of the stuff I enjoyed doing. But maybe if I just did 15 minutes a couple times a week…

Despite my discouragement, I’m not going down without a fight. I’m going to focus more on biking and trying to get used to the seat, doing more running intervals to increase my speed, and look into upper body weight workouts that will help me be a faster swimmer.

And come race day, my time will be what it is.

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