The Story of My (almost) Triathlon

So I realize it’s been a while, but it’s finally spring in Boston! I made it past the brutal brutal winter 🙂 I signed up for a triathlon a few weeks ago and thought it would be the perfect post to re-start my blog (again). The whole thing was rather unexpected, since I haven’t swam in many years and have never ridden a road bike (only hybrid bikes/mountain bikes), but I thought I’d just go for it. After all, I’ve been spinning all winter long and running is second nature to me, so all I had to conquer (both physically and mentally) was the swim (1/4 miles). I did a test run last week to make sure that I wouldn’t drown and once I did I thought “Hey, maybe I’ll survive this after all!” Yesterday I went and picked up the bike that I was going to be using for the race. I was told I had rented a $4000 bike and that I was going to be the first rider to use it. I was pretty excited! The bike was extremely light and very sleek. I couldn’t wait to get on road with her! In the beginning I had them put on the clip-on pedals because I have spin shoes that I thought would work. However, what I didn’t think about beforehand was how I was going to actually get on the bike with those pedals. This occurred to me as I was at the bike store getting fitted and I asked “how exactly do I put my foot down if I need to for whatever reason?” I wasn’t sure of the timing of unclipping, etc. The response was simple: “oh, you just unclip one foot so that you don’t fall over, you’ll slow down a bit and you’ll be fine.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking “oh I don’t know about that.” I didn’t see myself remembering to unclip in time if I needed to immediately slow down for whatever reason; moreover, I couldn’t even envision myself getting onto the bike like that in the first place. I’m terrible at standing up on snowboards after I’ve fallen down; same goes for water skiing. I was feeling pretty nervous, but I decided to give it a try. “I’ll be fine, it’s just a matter getting on the bike. I can do this.” So I walk out with the bike, clip in the right foot, try to clip in the left foot and promptly proceed to topple over. I’m lying on the ground with the right foot still clipped in and am thinking “great, this is going to be a disaster.” But I decide to try again because I hate quitting. When I realize I’m not making any progress and that the race is the next day, I decide maybe I should just use my running shoes for the biking part meaning I’d be using regular pedals. Considering I planned to ride the bike home and there was no way I was going to make it home alive if I was going to be falling over every two seconds, I had them switch my pedals and then biked home.

After dinner with friends, I got together my things for the race. Wetsuit, check. Bike, check. Helmet, check. Goggle, check, etc. I spent the evening relaxing and watching tv (and trying not to be too nervous), and set my alarm promptly for 5:30 am since I was getting picked up at 6 am. Eventually, I fell asleep ready to compete the next morning.

When I woke up, I was surprised that I had beat my alarm (considering I had it set for 5:30 am), and not going to lie, I started to panic a little. Sure enough, I looked at my phone and it was nearly 7:30 am. I had 5 missed calls and my alarm was still snoozing. For a moment I just couldn’t believe it. How did I not hear my alarm?! I always hear my alarm. I also wasn’t sure how I had missed all the phone calls, except then I noticed my phone was on silent (it’s always on silent but that is usually never a problem). Except for today. I had missed my ride to my first triathlon. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. I thought about catching a taxi/uber/lyft, anything to get me to the race, but I realized I wasn’t going to make it before they closed the gates. UGH, THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING. Once I finally accepted I had overslept, I decided to make the most of an unfortunate situation and find a bike group to ride with. I ended up biking with a group of 7 other people (meeting up at Alewife) and biked 27 miles (all the way to Beford on the bike trail). It was my first time on this bike path and it was great! Met some cool people and the weather was beautiful (gotta love that Boston sunshine).

On the way back home from the ride, I thought about how I should really fix up my hybrid bike, which was locked up in front of my house. Over Thanksgiving someone stole my bike seat, and I misplaced my bike key so I hadn’t really been riding it. However, this morning’s ride inspired me to take a day and get it fixed up (new bike seat and all!). As I biked up my hill, I was expecting to see my bike, only when I got to the top, it’s not there…I couldn’t believe it. MY BIKE HAD BEEN STOLEN. And it had a U lock and another lock (both tires were locked). Totally insane. I didn’t know what to do except just think about how completely absurd the situation was. I’ve had this bike for over 4 years without anything terribly bad happening to it and now in less than a year (after moving 2 miles from where I had been living) I got my bike seat and later, bike stolen. Now that’s just great.

Seeing as my day couldn’t get much worse, I decided not to think about it and instead took my rental road bike for one last spin before returning it, and then I ran home. In the end, I biked about 30 miles and ran/walked 3.5 miles. While I may not have completed my first triathlon today, I think I successfully completed my own version of a duathlon and learned a couple lessons along the way. First, never have your phone on silent when you have an important meeting/race/anything the next morning. And finally, don’t lock your bike outside if you can help it. The next bike I get will be sleeping in my basement.

Happy Spring!

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