Monday, March 18, 2013

The "bike" fit

 Saturday I headed up the Rev 3 HQ in Manassas Va.  It was quite the day - 8 hours on the road-- ultimately worth the time -- a great fit.  I experienced the exceptional attention to detail from Alex Poon and Tim Andrus of Rev3. 
Growing up sailing really set a high bar for me in the sense that I expect "experts in the field" to be generous in sharing their knowledge and experience.  As a community, we send our seasoned sailors out with the new ones to share tips and anecdotal information to nurture the love of the sport.  Over the years I've not always had the same experience in other fields of sport. 
So for me as an embryonic triathlete this was potentially a nerve racking experience.  I like having my questions answered not sneered at and I am a sponge for details.  Tim and Alex not only took in the information I gave them but they also asked lots of good questions.  Within 5 minutes I felt completely comfortable -- so in the spirit of transparency I took ownership of my ride and gave them as much information as I could so they could make informed decisions and give some solid direction on what choices I need to consider.
I have two big races coming up- Rev 3 Knoxville in May and a 70.3 in June. My current bike is sufficient but not enabling me to perform at my best due to some discomfort in the saddle -- when I say discomfort I mean after 40 miles significant pain -- I get that cycling is not like sitting on your recliner watching Bond reruns but at times this is beyond belief.  
 Alex asked me to bring my pedals, shoes and cycling shorts.  I wasn't strong enough to remove them so I just brought the whole bike.... what a treat for me-they were able to take a look at some of the components and give some suggestions. 

I spent several sets on the bike all hooked up to some technology measuring different angles and pressure points -- these guys want me to ride well!  They don't want me focused on shifting around on my saddle finding 30 seconds of comfort -- they want me looking down the road picking off the next competitor.  When I say attention to detail - they were both genuinely interested in any feedback I gave even when it consisted of "wait, I dropped my chin and now I'm back to the pain spots."  I got fed some yummy Powerbars to keep my momentum up!
After lots of pedaling, measuring, retooling and re-measuring I'm sold on the tri-fit.  A QR is in my near future .. the bigger question is do I get it now or wait for the PINK one.  :) 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First Tri - one and done!

Cross pollination in learning is a strength of mine on the rarest of occasions - I think I've spent the last 5 years or so looking at that process and implementing it as often as I can -- I just wish it hadn't take 30 years for me to figure out how valuable it is.  Must be those long zone 2 runs and rides allowing my mind to wander aimlessly.

I jumped on the 70.3 bandwagon last August mostly in with mindset of seeing if I could "just finish."  I could already swim, I cycled to improve my running and I am a runner.  The race is coming to my town -- how could I pass up something where I can practice where I'll actually be competing!  I spent the fall putting on what I now know are called base miles.  My dad spent most of my youth telling me that prior preparation prevents poor performance and if out of earshot of my mom .. piss poor performance.  You Squids out there will recognize the phrase.  Come January I began a formalized training schedule complete with a Coach (@tribirdie).  I decided early I did not want the pressure of having to figure out the training schedule, what I should be accomplishing and how to surmount hurdles other than the workout in front of me.  What an ease to the brain! Just prior to that I was encouraged to put my name in the hat for Team Rev 3 - the amount of colour and underlying support this has added is beyond description - they are a tremendous group of people and give honour to the word team!  I'm sure I'll have more to add as the weeks go by on that experience.

Swim roster

So back to the premise... I've been in finance for over 15 years and it only just hit me last week that training for endurance events is lot like fiscal success - regular contributions to the overall objective - right down to any setbacks.  Since January I have approached training with discipline and even in the moments where I think "I can run faster than this," I've stuck to the plan trusting in my coach to get me to the finish line.  I got sick over President's day weekend in February and I'm still carrying a cough.  For two weeks working out was a daily decision.  I killed it at the end of week two and found myself bed-ridden for another weekend.  At this point I'm losing my mind with worry ... the starting line date hasn't changed just because I"m sick.  The hubris of inexperience ... I took with glee permission for one more day off and eased back in - smarter not harder and have been building up to this past weekend since.

Azalea Sprint Tri-Wilimington 2013
Well ... I raced my first Tri ever yesterday as part of practice for the big day in June.  A multitude of firsts... I took the advice of the race organizers and put myself in the "first time tri" swim group ... yeah should have listened to the veteran Coach ... almost got jammed up but spent a bit of time watching the folks in front of me as I waited my turn and figured out where I might need to hit the gas to get out around.  Number 600 in front of me had great etiquette - she turned around before we even started and told me just to tap her to pass her -- I took her up on it -- always easier when the expectation has been set. 

One decided highlight of the day is having teammates who have finished hours ahead of you hang out to yell support during transition - I think my favourite line was "drop the hammer Rachel!"  :)  Huge shout out to Tara Martine ( and her ENTIRE FAMILY (they were my hosts Friday evening as well - funniest people ever!) and Andrew Corbin - If I forgot anybody by name - please excuse me.  :)  I almost chuckled at the finish when the MC announced ..."and with a determined look, Rachel Stephenson from Raleigh finishes."  A lot different from running when there are too many finishers at once to add any commentary.  :)
I think assuming anyone is interested in reading a blow-by-blow is alarming.. my biggest takeaways go back to the beginning -- putting in the incremental work leads to tremendous success, there are always setbacks and as the old adage goes you can't control what happens to you just how you respond to it.  I read somewhere to practice your response to those setbacks.  I need some more work there but life is full of opportunities to put that into play.  As we say in the sailing community ... fair winds and following seas.

Nice guy putting on numbers asked me if I wanted a smiley face -- why not?!

Flowers from Hubby for finishing