Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Athletic Uprising, Part 2

First order of business: I lost a bet to Melinda , goddamnit. Her dog, Frodo, entered a bracket into my basketball pool and he had more points than me and my dogs. So, as per the bet, I will wear this shirt today. Lupe is consoling me.

* * *
I just wrote a long post about how my child and teenhood identity was anchored in athletics. I compared and contrasted my level of athleticism now, noting the ebbs and flows of activity throughout the years. I was all but making a graph and power-point demonstration. Then I deleted it. I hate when my writing bores me. I'm also hating the NEVER-ENDING sorting out of things in my mind, on paper, via the blog. Must I be so epiphanal about every goddamn thing? Must everything be so monumental? I can say it doesn't, but that doesn't seem to keep my mind from reeling and endlessly digging for the well of optimal happiness and meaning and purpose and fulfillment and perfect being. Give me a break, mind. Just sometimes.

So, I'm training for a triathlon. A baby one or a Sprint as it's called in tri world. Why? Sparring you some of my violent introspection it's because I want to. I love all athletic-to-life metaphors and every Triumph of Spirit stories, but I'll try to keep those down. Still being able to dig deep; just the simplicity of Being Able drives me nicely now. I learned that during the marathon. The marathon stripped me down like no introspection has been able to do in a while. There was something about dusting off my strength in the solitude of the training and the race that made me feel brave. Damit, I wasn't going to get all sports-spiritual about this. I really can't help myself. But the truth is that I felt like an real athlete again. I trained and I completed. I felt overcome often, but I did it. That rawness cleared away some of this laughable need to constantly reinvent my physical self. I just was. I just did. So, I'm just gonna do a triathlon.

I'm in Week Two of training and it's been a thrill. Training moves me past the ol' I-Better-Work-Out-to-Expel-Demons level. Or the Mmm-My-Jeans-Seem-Tight level. Both of these are legitimate and very good reasons to work out, but those haven't been as exciting as training for an actual event.

Sometimes I don't feel that I'm a part of the tri experience, like I'm not in the thick of it yet. I feel I'm humbly joy riding it until I know what I'm doing more. The fumbling through the components has been mildly hilarious. Here's a initial review:

Running - I mention running first because it's my weakest event. I'm a whiner-runner. I run. I whine. Historically, I've had a million effective justifications to stop running. I justify why I should stop running during a run. I justify why I should never run again. But I'm always intrigued by and drawn back to the meditation of running. This is the event where I need the most practice. Here's the other thing I love about a triathlon, I have two other sports to concentrate on. I don't have to just run!

Biking - I'm not buying a new bike, yet. I've done a ton of research and I've decided for this first race, Loops (my bike's name) and I will make the best of it. Loops is a hand-me-down Specialized hybrid commuter bike. It was a bit rusty and dented when I got it, but I tuned it up, replaced some things and covered the frame in bumperstickers. Cool. I've taken off the rear and front baskets for training. This probably took off five pounds. I left the bell on for good measure. When I ride, I'm painfully aware that Loops ain't built for performance, but hell no can I in clear conscious invest in a pricey beauty when this first race has only a 10 mile ride. I can't do it. If I fall in love with tri's, we'll talk. I also bought my first helmet ever. I KNOW, don't start. I've never worn a helmet my whole life, and I'll just admit right now that safety is still taking a back seat in my mind to the fact that they won't let me compete in the tri without one. I KNOW I NEED ONE. I got one. I'm wearing it even if I feel like my head is a big penis with it on.

Swimming - I was a good swimmer as a kid. I was on a team though I was very mediocre in relation to the rest of the competative swimmers. My specialty was backstroke. That's probably not a wise stroke for open water swimming, just a hunch. But I did ocean swimming in high school and competed in a mile open-water race so I'm not unfamiliar with what the tri will offer. I haven't swam in a long time though. I've been nervous that after entering the water I'd stroke and kick and stay in the exact same position. I'll be fine, I think. I just need practice. I was not, however, prepared for swimsuit shopping. Trying on speedos was horrifying. Do they make a performance suit for women with HIPS? I stood in the dressing room and stared at my suited body in the mirror. I laughed out loud. Short in the torso, loose in the lats (read, boobs), up my butt, hips escaping the high leg holes, my waist was turned into a tube . . .lord have mercy. I laughed to keep from crying. Can I swim in my workout pants, I wondered? Too much drag? I'm sure my neighborhood Big 5 didn't have the most stellar selection of suits and I ended up with the best-fitting speedo I could find from the sale rack. That's another thing, $80 for a suit? Gimme a break. I considered looking for someone to sponsor me for the race -- until I thought about what I'll look like "competing" in it. I laughed again as I hunched over to peel off the swimsuit. I visualized:

I'll do a thrashing backstroke in a slim-hipped vice of a suit with no chest support that makes me look like a bloated rectangle. After veering off course, I'll revert to a dog paddle/side stroke just so I can finally get ashore. I'll run to Loops, knocked over from having no kickstand, my hips spilling and flopping out of my suit. I'll tug on a sports bra over the suit, slap on my dick-head helmet, slip on my vegan running shoes and shorts without padding. I'll hop on the dented, basket'ed bike where the frame reads things like "Treehugger." I'll ring the bell to let them know I'm coming. I'll ride too upright; sometimes I'll try to lower my head and tuck in my elbows for a more aerodynamic ride. I'll shave a few seconds off my time that way. In my front basket, I'll collect extra Gatorade. I'll reach the end of the ride and hop off Loops -- she'll crash down from the load of the back basket -- I'll rip off the helmet, unclear how to quickly unclick the strap, and as I start to run I won't be able to straighten out my legs which have been molded by the bike. I'll trot along in a strange cowboy gait. I'll whine until the finish.

Aah, yes, the resurrection of my athletic career is in full force, and looking quite glamorous.


CWrites said...

I love, love, love your blog. I commented on another post of yours sometime last week. I find your posts to be funny and insightful. I wish you the best in the triathlon!

Melinda said...

Lupe is not consoling you. She's saying "Word. Frodo rules."

You look fabulous as always, but even better with my name emblazoned across your chest.

Hil The Thrill said...

Wow. Triathalon. When will you ever cease to amaze me? You are awesome, and I hope you have a great time at it!

Ok, I'm fat and I don't exercise, and I look bad in a swimsuit, which is, you know, not surprising. Then, there are these marathon/triathalon people, who STILL don't feel good in a bathingsuit. It makes me want to stay right here, on the couch. Pass the cheetoes. :) xoxo, hil

PS-I'm trying to say that I bet that you look fantastic, and perhaps are being too hard on yourself?

madness rivera said...

Thanks Cwrites!

Frodo rules, Melinda drools.

Hil, dude, I don't talk badly about myself ever so seriously, these suits sucked ass. But see? I deflected blame from me to the suit. Genius! I still bought it and I'll still all strut in the pool like WHATEVER because I'll also be sporting a hot swim cap and eye puncturing goggles.

Maven said...

Ha. First, I love the shirt. Second, I actually bought my mom a racing suit for Christmas from, a TYR reversible suit, for about $20. My mom doesn't race, but swimming is her preferred workout, and she'd been getting loads of suits at goodwill. I decided that had to stop and took a chance on the sizing after checking them out at sportmart or some such store. And: success. She looooves her suit.

All I'm saying is, if you keep swimming, I think the internets is your best bet for reasonably priced suits.

You and Loops and the suit will be dope.

Mandi said...

A triathlon? That's awesome! It's on my list of things to do -- but first I'm going to have to learn how to actually swim without having a panic attack and hyperventilating. So until then, I'll live vicariously through you. :) Good luck!

Marigoldie said...

You know, those helmets are soooo dickheadish. I hate it, but I am a safety freak. What I want to know is when will Stella McCartney or some such invent some decent looking bike wear? Bike stuff is the WORST.

madness rivera said...

Thanks Maven. I dug the site and may just go for it with one of dem suits.

Thanks Mandi - hey, you could always try a duathlon (running & cycling).

Marigoldie, actually you were a big voice in my ear when I got the helmet. Seriously. You and SSB. I thought, alright already, Marigoldie! I know I need the helmet! And from your lips to Stella's ears, man.

Sarah C. said...

What is so funny about your narrative of what your tri event will be like is that it's true! And yet, you will love it and you will be a triathelete forever. I've just done one so far, but I was not an athletic person growing up and I still got third place in my age group! I also had a hybrid bike and no fancy tri outfits (and yes, you can get a tri suit that is padded shorts made of swimsuit material that dries quickly and it covers your hips!), and felt like an idiot outsider - until I passed people on my bike, passed runners who had done tris before, and came loping into the shute without having a clue that I was about to place!

Anyway, just wanted to say you'll love the tri and good luck with the training (in fact, that was my favorite part - I love structured and purposed workouts!).

greenish said...

This is awesome!!! I'm working towards a sprint tri too. I'm shooting for one in September. I have a long way to go after several months of heath problems but I'm hoping to finish the damn thing.
I have never run before. God help me.
You will be fantastic!!!
Hey, I'll let you know if I find a good hip suit if you promise to let me know if you find a good boob suit. Or, if I may highjack your blog for a second and ask anyone who reads this to recommend a sports bra for women with luxury sized chests. Peace.

LeS said...

You are hysterical.
And brave.
And powerful.
And all kinds of beautiful.
Go get 'em girl.

madness rivera said...

That was an AWESOME comment Sarah C! Thanks so much for the encouragement. It makes me feel better.

Hoorah Greenish! Great for you! My (Speedo) suit ended up not being that bad. I think you just gotta try a million on because some Speedos fit in the boobs and some didn't. The other thing I'm gonna try is a two piece trainer with a tankini. That way the torso doesn't feel so short.

Thank you LeS!

Kristin C. said...

Yippee! A triathalon, good for you! I have always wanted to complete a mini-triathalon but have been WAAAY to busy with school. Until NOW! I totally will have the time to train after April.'ve got me thinking! I am now on the hunt for a triathalon in late summer. Thanks Madness. You seem to always insipre the bejeezus out of me. Or maybe I'm just a copy cat :-)

madness rivera said...

A copy cat? Hardly! The more training the better. I'm all about preaching the training . . .Can't wait to hear your adventures too.

Betsy Kimmel said...

i laughed out loud picturing you doing your "cowboy running gait". oy vay! and your waist is a tube? ha, ha, i don't think so!
you are one focused chica! awesome, as always!

John Mc said...

Good for you!

How is the 12 week program working out? I'm guessing what you will end up loving is the bike, and I forsee a new bike in your future. An unfitted heavy bike will get old pretty quickly, but will work fine for your first one!

madness rivera said...

Thanks Buh!

Hi John, it's going well, thanks. My training is much more mishmosh and unorthodox than your training, that's for sure, but I am having a good time with it. The actual event should be interesting. I'm positive you're right about the bike. Of course I would love a new bike! As I ride, I think that instead of ever buying a new car again, I just want differnt types of bikes; a super commuter/town bike, a tri bike, and a bike for centuries . . .

Antje/Germany said...

haha your description of the planned triathlon made me laugh! I ran a half marathon last Sunday. Ouch everything was sore and hurt til wednesday.... LOL But it's so cool and you become so proud of yourself - it's really worth it. I would so love to also do a triathlon but my BIG weakness is swimming... I can hardly cross a swimming pool without gasping... Biking or running would be fine for me... You are doing great! I also read your post about the marathon - you were doing so great there too! And you collected so much money for the animals - you are really a very big inspiration! Good luck and all the best wishes for the triathon from Germany!