Monthly Archives: September 2009

9/3/09 Less Than Zero

Thursday.  Well it was just a matter of time.  I knew I had to get back out there.  You know how sometimes you think something is going to be really bad and then it turns out to be not so bad after all?  Well,  this wasn’t one of those times.  I got my butt on the bike this morning and went to practice.  I was thankful for once that we practice in the dark  because I really didn’t want anyone to see me squeezed into my cycling shorts and huffing and puffing my way up 10th avenue.  ‘Thank God for bad lighting’ was all I could think.

Last night I went to a meeting for a new cycling team that is starting up.  They are just in the planning phase and we are going to start with a boot camp.  I was well aware that in my best cycling days I was still a much weaker cyclist than everyone who showed up for this meeting.  We are supposed to start next Wednesday.  “Hmmm” I thought to myself.  “Next Wednesday.   I wonder if they think I should be on my bike before then?”  Came home.  Dug through all my cycling gear.  Found the most stretched out shirt I could find and pumped up the tires with an extra few psi’s of air hoping it might help.  Just go.  Just try. I told myself.  It won’t be that bad.  You always exaggerate.  How bad could it be?   Ha, ha, ha, ha.  I had no idea!

Part of the problem with sports is your brain knows what you were once capable of doing but your muscles are not always in synch.  “Just get up there.  Get  in it.  That’s easy!   You can do that…”  Your brain says.  So your muscles trust your brain and start to do what they used to do and all of a sudden you hear this Scottish voice coming from somewhere yelling “We’re Giving ‘er all we got Captain!”  And then everything starts shutting down.  I take some pleasure in knowing that I made more than one runner’s day today when they passed me going up  Harlem Hill.   At least someone was happy.

Lungs burning.  Side cramping.  Quads screaming.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING???    They are crying at me as I make a feable attempt to spin up Harlem Hill and keep up.  I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.  I cry back but I then say, hey, it’s now or never kids.  We got a lot of work to do and it’s not going to get any easier if you duck out now.  But could I please just pull over and puke at least?  NO!  Keep moving.

I let the team go ahead.  (That’s a really nice way of saying I got dropped like a hot potato).  I told myself it was okay if you just kept spinning and going they would catch up.  They didn’t.  (That meant they were doing another repeat that I was not doing.)  Okay, okay, you’re almost done with the second loop, try to eek out one more and you’ll be done. 

A friend spins by while I’m in shut down mode.  My brain says “oh you can keep up with her, go get her.”  So I take off in a sprint and catch up to her.  I say two words and then sputter “uh, I think I’ll just hold back and wait for my team.”  I was toast.  I couldn’t even keep up.

Everything started shutting down.  I was like one of those little kids who wants to avoid going to school.  I think I have a fever.  Was that a cough?  I think I have the flu.  What was that twinge?  I was failing my physical inventory.  Oh God, am I dizzy?  What  is that?  It’s called you are out of shape you wimp!  Quit your belly aching and keep pedalling!

I made it to the bottom loop and tried to do an easy spin.  Wasn’t working.  I was cramping everywhere.  Even my cramps were getting cramps.  Geesh this is ridiculous.  I’ve never felt this bad before.  (You’ve not been this out of shape before.)  I pulled over at Tavern on the Green and stretched while jealously watching all the cyclists effortlessly spinning by.  Then the people from last night’s cycling meeting cruised by.  “Hey!  Where were you?”  They yell out to me. “Come ride with us.” 

Once again my big brain thinks I can speed ahead and catch them.  I do.  I start riding with them just to say “hi” thinking they are just doing a lower loop.  They they yell out “if you have time, let’s do one more loop.”  I say “no way” and try to duck out.  They are having none of it.  “C’mon, it’s just recovery pace, stay with us.”  Even on my best of best days I wouldn’t ride with this group.  Each one demanding I ride with them.  Hmm, well, nothing is cramping right now and if this is the pace I can keep up with them so I’ll just go for a bit.  Lad de dah de dah, okay, not so bad.   Boom we hit Cat hill and the front of the group all stands up to sprint up the hill.  Then everyone else stands to keep up and starts to sprint over the hill.  Uh yeah.  Not happening.  I let them go.  I’m toast, I’m spent.  I chat with a few old teammates who are running.  I finish out the 5 mile loop and head back.  I’m done.  Toast.  Burnt toast.  Charcoal flakes.  I think I made 20 miles in total.  And they were not pretty ones.

Truly I am not disheartened.  I know that this was something I had to do.  The rude awakening.  No messing around now.  What I failed to mention is that I got into Ironman Canada (August 30, 2010) and I’m very, very excited about doing it.  Only problem is they kind of expect you to be able to swim 2.4 miles, ride your bike 112 and run 26.2.  Hmmm, that would require me to, well, let’s see — move my butt?!?!!?

It’s September.  This has always been my favorite month.  For me September is all about the new year.  School starts.  Summer is over.  Buy a new notebook.  The air starts turning crisp.  Fall tennis is the BEST tennis of the year.  Nothing better than a round of golf in September.  Time to get working.  Get cracking.  So here I am.  No excuses.  I’m feeling good enough to train.  I have to lose a lot of weight.  Weight Watchers starts again tomorrow.   I have to build a TON of muscle.  I have to start all over again.  It feels like I’m at less than Zero but I’m strangely optimistic.   The really great thing about being at rock bottom is there is no place to go “butt” up!! 

Ironman here I come.  Ready or not!!


I felt it was appropriate to pull out my number one inspiration.  When I am at less than zero, I call in the big guns.

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