Print Story Well, that didn't go as well as I had hoped
Diary
By lm (Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:49:28 AM EST) (all tags)
I literally should not have gone the extra mile.

Inside scoop: I'm old, fat, and slow.



One of my goals this year is to run in The Nation's Triathlon come this fall. This goal started to take shape when I purchased a single speed beater bike off of Craig's List just over a year ago to try riding to work to save money and improve my health. I was already regularly running 5+ miles a few time per week and riding to work reminded me how much I liked tooling around on my bike. I said to my self, `self, all you need to do is learn how to swim.'

Now, it's not as if I cannot swim at all. During my two month or so sojourn in the Boy Scouts as a teenager, swimming was the only badge that I earned. And before that, both my mom and my dad would regularly make trips to what passes for a beach in Ohio.  Nevertheless, I think I've been swimming less than a fistful of times since I became an adult.

So last fall I took a couple of rounds of swimming lessons at the county rec center. I got some good tips on form. I joined a gym with a pool so I could swim regularly. I pushed the distance I covered up to two miles worth of laps nonstop.

So when the local triathlon club offered a training race, I felt prepared to swim 750 meters in the Potomac. 750 meters is not a long way to swim. That's less than half a mile, a quarter of the distance that I swim regularly. I had not realized what a hard bitch Mother Nature was or how much she would kill me as soon she would heal me.

Waves, my friends, they want to kill you.

As soon as that horn went off and I pulled my feet of the muddy river bottom the waves started trying to push me under. Everything I knew about good form made a hasty egress from my head. I struggled just to keep my head above the water.

That half hour I spent in the water seemed to stretch out for a lifetime. The cohort of men that I had taken off with left me far behind. The horn blew again as the women began the race. They passed me by and left me in their wake. The seconds stretched out. I thought about giving up, about following the direction supplied at the beginning of the race, ``if you get into trouble, turn on your back and wave your arms, we will come get you.'' But I did not give up. I kept on plowing through wave after wave. Mother Nature was not going to make me her bitch.

And eventually, I made it back to to the pier.

lm looking tired and beat up after swimming half a mile in the Potomac river

The bike portion of the ride was far easier than I had thought it would be. I do not do very many long bike rides. Earlier this winter when the weather popped up into the sixties as if Old Man Winter stepped out for a drink at the bar and the Heat Miser showed up to see the weekend through, I did a 25 mile circuit from my neighborhood down to the national zoo and then up to Bethesda on the Capital Crescent Trail. It was nice ride. But I couldn't try to go fast. Being a warm weekend in the middle of an exceptionally cold winter for the region, the trail was packed with walkers, skaters, runners, bikers, strollers, and small furry animals. It was hardly a good test of endurance.

I actually caught up with a few people despite having a bike that is really too heavy for racing. On that fateful day last year when I was mistakenly told that the frame of my beater bike was cracked, I bought a steel frame road bike. It suits me well. I'm hard on bikes. My road bike gets me to and from work with aplomb. But on the way to the race when I stopped to pick up some other folks and hoisted their machines onto the bike rack on my van that their bikes were half the weight of mine.

lm in the distance on his heavy assed Torker bicycle

The run was easily my best event. I passed up half a dozen people who were running out of gas. I would have passed up another half dozen but I missed a turn and, not having my hearing aids in, did not hear the other runners shouting at me to turn around.  So I turned the 5k into a 7.2 k. Most of the runners that I had passed up found their way to the finish line while I was trying to find my way back to the course.

But eventually I did find my way back. Coming down the home stretch, I passed a guy coming the other way. The one guy who finished behind me had just started running when I had the finish line in my sights. That man deserves a prize for keeping at it.

apparently the photographer was amused by lm running in his bare feet

After the race I was surprised by how much energy I had left. I was not as exhausted as I thought I would be. I was, however, too late to get much out of the open water swimming clinic that was held after the race. Between the late start of the race (go figure, an event in the DC area that did not start on time!) and my slow pace, there was only fifteen minutes left in the clinic. I passed.

Afterwards there was a picnic. Right before the food was served I started to feel nauseated and the tiredness came crashing down on top of me like one of the waves that had previously tried to drag me down into the dark depths of the river. I forced myself to eat and drink and hoped that I would not heave it back up.

I did not. Instead I drove the folks that I carpooled with home, I returned to my wife and daughter waiting back in our apartment, and I felt like a champion. I finished the race. I fought the good fight. Mother Nature can kiss my ass.

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Well, that didn't go as well as I had hoped | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
750 meters in the Potomac by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:58:59 AM EST
Ugh. The current's would be an issue. And I would never swim in that river downstream of Little Falls. But I grew up swimming in it near Scott's Run, just upstream of the Legion Bridge.

Saturday morning I got on the bike , rode out to Ashburn for lunch at Caroline Brothers BBQ, and rode home. 40 miles. Legs were still hurting yesterday. Gonna do 20 miles today. Nice and slow and drinking lots of water.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

This was at Gunston Manor by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:21:53 AM EST
Just outside of Lorton. The current itself wasn't all that bad.

Looks like most of the popular swimming spots of the past now forbid swimming for good reason.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well done by riceowlguy (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:49:54 AM EST
The swimming thing is what keeps me from wanting to do triathlons.  Well, that and I can't run very well.  But mostly the swimming.

Congratulations.

I think that bike weight is pretty irrelevant for most people, especially on long road rides without a lot of starting and stopping.  And a heavier steel bike is probably more comfortable on long road rides, since it absorbs vibration better.

Could be by lm (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:09:11 AM EST
It is true that the extra power it takes to get that weight up hills is partially paid back as gravity pulls on that extra weight back down the hills.

But I'm pretty certain that there is a reason that most triathletes try to get their bikes as light as possible and when the difference in weight is pounds if not tens of pounds, that makes a difference.

That said, I think that I'm only going to go as far as adding aero bars to my bike. I'm not interested in shelling out the cash for a racing bike.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
You, Sir... by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:35:41 PM EST
are a badass. Good job. Keep at it! And holy shit, you really ran barefoot?!?
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB
I usually run barefoot by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:31:31 PM EST
This year winter was exceptionally long and cold and I wore my rather minimalist running shoes for much of the winter. I built up to full barefoot mode about two weeks ago. I generally run ten or 12 miles 2x per week, once on pavement and once through Rock Creek Park. Pavement is easy once you've been down a few rocky paths.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
You rock by R343L (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:20:11 AM EST
Perhaps I should side step my running shoe question (which "barefoot" style?) and just be cool like you. :)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
It doesn't work for everyone by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:07:54 AM EST
I like it. It's pretty grueling to work through building distance up at first. There are a lot of ways things can go horribly wrong if you push the distance too far too fast.

But if you are interested in minimalist running, I can't recommend Xero Shoes highly enough. I have a pair for when the temps drop below freezing or when I want to run a trail that I know is exceptionally rocky. They fit right into the back pocket on my camelbak so I also take them on long runs just in case.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I wore a pair of five fingers thru. :) by R343L (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:32:24 AM EST
Though mostly not running but walking and hiking. But toe shoes sadly are a bit annoying to get on and off. So my most recent pair (pre-pregnancy) was a Merrel. Wore those they too though they had the problem that they were too slick (coking in from the rain onto tile was dangerous with no natural grip from the toes.)

So I should look at these. The packability means I could bring them to work and not add another bag.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
(After looking at link) by R343L (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:36:28 AM EST
At one point I had some Jesus sandals I used to run in occasionally, usually inadvertently. But between the toe stuff is generally out.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
You don't need to run the cord through your toes by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:59:37 PM EST
If you look at their page on tying the cords, there are more than a few ways to tie them up without going between your toes.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Congrats! by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 6) #8 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:26:57 AM EST
You're a triathlete! 50% better than a biathlete!
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
Well, that didn't go as well as I had hoped | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback