Tis the Seaon for Triathlons

One of my favorite family bike rides.
Every Saturday morning if you live in the east end of Louisville you are bound to come across countless numbers of bikers, runners and walkers.  Some of them are doing it for exercise, some for mental stability, to some it is a means for socialization and for some it is preparation for a triathlon.  This morning was no exception.

Most Saturday mornings I head out to the seminary pool to do a 35-40 minute (without stopping) swim (which roughly translates to 1750-2000 yards, 1600.2-1828.8 meters, .99-1.14 miles).  I usually feel pretty great about myself for exercising on a Saturday at all.  However, recently I signed up for a triathlon and realized that just swimming every Saturday wasn't going to cut it.  One of my training plans was to ride my bike to the pool and then swim.  I would have my husband meet me there so I could drive back home (I knew I wouldn't be able to ride my bike back because my legs would be like jelly).  With my triathlon looming around the corner (in exactly 42 days, 16 hours, 24 minutes and zero seconds) and a beautiful morning forecasted, I decided to take this day and try my new training routine.  (I realize that most triathlon training plans that I have looked at have you swim and bike on the same day, but being a stay at home mom of a 2 year old doesn't give me that luxury.)

I was meeting my friend at Seneca park, a park that was well known by runners, walkers, soccer players and stay at home moms on play dates, at 10:00.  Around 9:20 I headed off down the street towards my destination.  Since we returned from our vacation three weeks ago, I had not done a ton of riding, but surprisingly this was a pretty easy one.  The most challenging part was when I had a trail of people behind me on a two lane street.  When this happens, I try to peddle with all of my strength as fast as I can go (which isn't that fast on my Jamis Commuter bike) so I don't agitate the drivers behind me any more than I have to. It's funny how much you enjoy the city you live in when you aren't driving by it so fast.  Riding your bike give you time to really take in the scenery and "smell the roses" so to speak.  It is by far the best way to see Louisville.  And Louisville is a very bike friendly city, so most people are extremely courteous to people riding on two wheels instead of four.  

When I entered the park I couldn't help but feel at home.  I passed at lease 10 bikers on the way in and found several more standing around getting ready for a ride on the inside.  There were children playing on the playground, all different types of people running and walking around the track.  I could feel the energy of all of the people who were as bound and determined as I was to get the most out of the June sunshine.  I saw a few older gentlemen, who were in their 60's, hanging out on their bikes and I couldn't help but wish my dad (who started riding about 3 years ago, but lives in St. Louis) was there with me to take it all in. 

My friend and I met up with her adorable little girl.  Both the little girl and I munched on apples while we walked the loop.  I found my legs were a bit wobbly after the bike ride, but after the first trip round, I was starting to feel like myself.  It helped that I was also surrounded by good conversation.  We walked the loop two times, which totaled about 2.4 miles. 

After we were done, I rode my bike to the seminary.  It's really easy to ride a distance for any length of time on your bike without stopping and not feel the toll of the road on your body, but once you stop and start again...well, let's just say it's not usually pretty.  The neighborhood I rode through in St. Matthews had these huge, gorgeous houses with a lot of hills.  The entire ride my legs felt like they were going to fall off, they were burning so bad.  I had never been so happy to see the steeple on the chapel at the seminary before.  The total bike ride that day was only 7.61 miles, but after the walk, it felt like more than that. 

I forgot to check the pool schedule and didn't realize when making my plans that the guard went on break at 12:00.  It was 11:29.  I stood there in the parking lot and waited for my husband to bring me my swimming gear.  I found out later he was running behind because he had to change a dirty diaper and got caught up in construction traffic.  When our blue Malibu Maxx pulled in, I frantically ran up to it, knocked on the trunk of the car so he could pop it, grabbed my bag and ran into the seminary.  In the locker rooms I quickly put on my swim suit, showered and then sped to the lap swim area.  The entire time I was telling myself this was good practice for the actual triathlon because I would have to do the very same thing only in the reverse order (change from swimming gear to biking gear).  Once I got my capt and goggles on I began to swim.  I knew my legs would hurt, but my arms hurt just as bad.  I realized it was probably a blessing in disguise that I would only have 20 minutes to swim laps.  My body was so sore.  I was caught off guard at how naturally my arms and legs did the right kicks and strokes to keep on going, despite how tired they were.  At one point, I could picture myself in the race with a sore body, but a mind that would not let myself give up.  I kept on chanting, "Go, go, go" to myself.  Reflecting on it now, it sounds like something from the script of a cheesy Disney sports movie.  But it worked.  I swam my 20 minutes, even sprinting the last one, finishing my "triathlon" with an approximate 1000 yard (914.4 meters or .57 miles) swim.  Sweating profusely on my way to the showers, I understood why they had the swimming first in triathlons.  My husband later (so lovingly) added that was so people didn't drown at the end of the race.  Either way, I would be more than ready if I trained this way on the weekends.  Come race day, swimming first and then biking would seem like a piece of cake (she says as she crosses her fingers).

My morning definitely wasn't Iron Man triathlon worthy, but I couldn't help but feel proud of myself.  I had done something I had never even come close to doing before.  2.4 miles walking, 7.61 miles biking and .57 miles swimming.  I thought it wasn't too shabby, but I knew I would do better and more next time (with cheesy Disney movie chanting behind me all the way).  

Future Triathlete?  Swim.


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