Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Bike!

I'm a little late in my posting this week as the kids went back to school after three weeks off for Christmas. You would think this would give me all of the time in the world to focus on posting, but it always seems to be a complete circus when we head back after a lengthy break. Today is the first day that I finally feel like I can take a breath of air and focus long enough to get my post up, which I have been dying to do since Saturday!

Why Saturday you ask?  Saturday afternoon my husband took me out on my first official training ride, YAY!!!  We rode a total distance of 9.25 miles and followed it up with a short 1 mile run.  I'm not going to lie - riding on the road was nerve wracking at best for me. The first 3 miles I was hyper aware of everything, especially the passing cars.  However, as I got further into the ride I slipped into a more focused state of being and realized several things that I am going to attempt to share here.

Let me start by explaining that I am riding my hybrid bike which is simply a bike that combines road, mountain and touring designs into one bike for a wider range of use as discussed at REI's site.  My husband bought my Schwinn hybrid many years ago because I had expressed interest in wanting to ride around with the children, but in reality that happened very seldom and my poor bike sat and collected dust for the majority of the time I owned it.  Because I am only just starting out in triathlons I refuse to buy anything else until I know whether this sport is for me.  The hybrid is perfectly fine for what I am attempting to do.

Now with that understanding, the first thing that I began to notice on my ride, after I got passed the fear of being flattened like a pancake on the side of the road, was how angry my hands were getting at the constant vibration of the road.  Now, I'm not sure if that was entirely from riding without gloves or partially because of the type of grips on the bike, but I am positive that my hands itched like crazy for a greater part of the 9 mile ride.

The second point of notice was that I am no expert in a multi-speed bike's function.  It shouldn't be that difficult, but since I was hyper-focused on staying alive I think I may have over thought the process of shifting into the proper gears at the proper time.  The good news is that by mile five I was beginning to get the idea but, sadly, not before my chain slipped off and my husband had to help me get it back on.  All well, it is our mistakes that we learn the most from, right?

The last thing I realized during the ride was that, aside from the hills, riding isn't terribly difficult.  Let me not diminish the effort it takes to bike great distances.  It was still difficult and tiring, but it is very different from running the same distance.  I found that I wasn't really sure where my fatigue levels were at. Just when I thought I might be starting to fatigue as I crested the top of a hill, we would get enough of a break coming down that I felt re-energized. The problem with this is that it really is hard work and I could see myself easily pushing too far and not being able to make it back. This would suck.

All of that being said, I really enjoyed the ride and was disappointed that it was over as quickly as it was. So much so, that when my husband said "Now I am going to go for a short run." I said, "Me too then!"  This brings me to the things that surprised me most about riding:

The biggest surprise for me was how heavy my legs felt after I got off of the bike.  Like I just said, the ride didn't seem that difficult in the grand scheme of things. So when I walked up my stairs and found it very difficult to lift those legs of mine, I was somewhat shocked.  I mean, it makes sense when you really think about it, but I just hadn't expected it. This discovery is very important, however, because I still have to run 3.1 miles after I get off of the bike in this race.  For this, I was glad my hubs had decided to do a quick run because it gave me a good idea of what to expect as I transition into more brick workouts.

The second biggest surprise was how ridiculously hungry I felt not too long after the ride was over.  In fact, I discussed this yesterday with my brother-in-law (who is currently training for his third Ironman race.) He initially thought maybe it was due to the time on the bike, but I run for 45 minutes often, and although I do feel extremely hungry afterward, my hunger from a run is nothing like the hunger I felt after the ride.  He agreed that he is always starving after a ride, but he rides A LOT more miles than I did on that first ride.  Maybe it was coincidence, but something I definitely found surprising.

The last surprise was how wiped I felt the next day.  Really, this is probably more because I am not used to a structured exercise routine anymore. Nevertheless, I really didn't have a great deal of energy the next day and ended up taking a day off of my training which I probably needed anyway.  It's not good to push too hard when you first start out which is something I'm not very good at adhering to, unfortunately.  It is always better to start out slow and work up to more days and more difficult workouts.

All in all, it was awesome and I can't wait to get out there for my next ride.  Now I just need to focus on getting into my swim routine, yikes!  Once I have that down, I feel like I can really focus on putting everything together.  For now, I would love to hear from anyone who rides.  Did you find any of the same surprises when you started out?