For someone who will always identify first (athletically) as a runner, spending time learning the nuances of an endurance bike and all the things that go along with the sport that is cycling is a REAL TRIP.  Show of hands – how many of you have had a cyclist speed by them whilst out walking or running and thought to yourself, ‘douche bag…’ ?  It’s okay, I’ve done it.  Hell, I still do it.

The thing is, I’m starting to understand both sides.

Running is a sport that really relies on your mental fitness.  Your ability to keep motivating yourself, keep your mind entertained, keep yourself continuing to decide that yes for some reason I still want to run is a huge piece in what makes you a runner.  That requires some serious mental fitness.  Cycling is also a sport that relies on your mental fitness only in the case of cycling, at least for me, a lot of it is focusing on clearing your mind from what you are actually doing so that you don’t overthink and get all panicky because you’re afraid of crashing or just dying out there all alone where no one will find you.  Basically, allowing yourself to trust that dinky little thing underneath you is kind of a really big deal.

Many runners, while I am out there riding my bike, don’t bother me.  They stay on their allocated side of the trail (THE RIGHT).  They don’t wear earphones or if they do and it is a crowded day out there on the trail, they just have one earphone in.   However, then there is another, shall we say demographic, of runners that isn’t quite as aware of the ways of the multi-use trail.  They weave back and forth across it.  They stop suddenly standing in the middle to look at their phone or tie their shoe.  They are so engrossed in their music they have no idea what is going on around them and….. those people sometimes scare the shit out of me.  I have had a number of near crashes with oblivious runners.

Then there are your oblivious cyclists who also don’t understand the notion of staying to the right on a trail.  Okay – in fairness, I ride over onto the left to avoid bumpy roots sometimes because there’s only so much padded underwear does to keep my vagina from wanting to give up on me entirely and move out.  However, I make sure to look around me first before veering into the other lane.

Then there are the kids out on the trail.  Who are new to riding bikes so sometimes their wheels jut out suddenly to the side as they figure out their pedaling.  Who are too young to have any idea that a speeding object is dangerous so they just toddle around freely.  Whose mothers are on Facebook on their iPhones and are oblivious.  Who are riding their skateboards and fighting with their girlfriends in the middle of the trail.

And then there’s the fact that I’m clipped into this horrifyingly speed-capable contraption so I can’t really just stop – I have to remember to slow down and clip out and stop.  So if I have to stop suddenly… I basically fall over.

So you see…. there is a lot going on here.

I do make sure that most of the time I smile at runners and other cyclists on the trail.  I make sure I call out if I’m coming up behind someone so they know I’m there.  I do my part.  And for the most part, I keep pretty calm as my confidence is building with each repeat experience riding my bike.  But those little things can be actually really scary.  Because even though I’ve already done it a few times, crashing is still kind of scary.  Especially when in some spots, crashing means I’m going to fall into the damn Sammamish River while probably still being clipped into my bike.

This is, I think, why cyclists are douche bags when it comes to multi-use trails.   I cannot speak for what is going on when it comes to being on the road – I haven’t gone there yet.  But I have definitely caught myself thinking many angry and snarky things about people I’ve near-missed or who have made my heart leap into my throat while I try to anticipate what the hell they’re going to do as they’ve obviously not heard me calling out to them.

So I guess the point of this blog post is this;  runners, walkers, kids, dogs etc will always have the right of way on a multi-use trail. However, most multi-use trails come with rules and the first one is usually either’ pick up your dog’s poop’ or ‘stay to the right’.  Either way, that ‘stay to the right’ rule is there for a reason: to keep everyone on the trail safe.  So, ya know.  Just be aware and follow the rules and then maybe we can not kill each other.  ;)

 

 

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Entering Month 3 of Half Ironman Training

by BusyMama on March 31, 2014

Granted, I have 4 1/2 months left before Lake Stevens but I can tell you right now that my weakest leg of the three is going to be cycling.  I am getting better as I log more and more miles in the saddle but I have to tell you; I had no idea how mental cycling was.  I mean, I’ve seen other cyclist peepz posting on Instagram about the cyclist’s ‘iron gut’ but I never really registered what that meant.  Learning to let go and trust a bike is actually some seriously scary shit.  I guess it had been longer than I had thought…

Although in fairness to myself, mountain and road bikes are very different bikes.  I used to ride a mountain bike.

Since I upgraded to clip-in pedals, I haven’t ridden on the road.  I’ve been sticking with a multi-use path that I used to run on that has a 15 mph speed limit for cyclists.  It is mostly straight and flat with some small hills here and there and a few curves.  Curves scare the crap out of me.  Well, sharper ones anyway.  Add a down hill to that and yipes, I’m slowing down and squeezing my brakes for dear life.  One turn in particular, I can’t bring myself to take.  It’s sharp and curves down hill around and under a bridge so the entire thing is basically blind.  I tried one time and overthought it, stopped and promptly fell over still clipped in (that wasn’t embarrassing or anything).  So I clip out and walk my bike down it then clip back in and ride on and feel so, so lame about it.

Because of this, I changed where I park so I can avoid that turn all together.  I’m not exactly proud of this… But I ride with less anxiety because of it so for now, whatever.

I’ve been talking about this a lot on Instagram (I’m @TurboRachel if you want to follow) and have gotten a lot of repeat advice from veteran triathletes and cyclists:  more time on the saddle means more confidence on the bike.  So even though I am costing myself one running workout, I’ve added an extra cycling day so I can work on building trust and confidence.  Running, eh.  I can run.  It isn’t going to take me all that long to build back up to half marathon distance for my mileage base and I have 4 1/2 months to work with here.    I’m much more likely to kill myself riding a bike than I am running.  Well, hopefully.

Oh! I registered for my next triathlon, not that I’m planning on doing a ton of them.  The Issaquah Sprint Triathlon is on June 7th and it is outdoors with open water swimming, road cycling and running around the park (oh goody…).  I thought it would be a good idea to experience an actual outdoor tri before Lake Stevens 70.3 and see what it’s like to swim in open water with other swimmers.  I’m actually not really very worried about this since I plan on getting a wet suit soon to start hitting the lake and I used to swim in Lake Washington quite often when I was in high school so the idea of swimming in a lake doesn’t bother me so much.  Other than Lake Washington being pretty gross to swim in…  Thankfully I have a shower.  Also, my brother-in-law Matt and his friend Dan who I’ve ran a relay with are also signed up.

So that helps my confidence a lot knowing I will have someone to show me what the hell I’m doing because Matt keeps telling me that it’s going to be absolute chaos and that’s actually not really helpful…. Whatever.  At some point, a 5k was cause for panic.

Your turn!!!! Have you ever had a mental block in your fitness?  Out of fear or anxiety or something else?  How did you overcome it?

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Rainman Seattle Indoor Triathlon Recap

March 28, 2014

Oh look at that.  I’m finally getting it together and updating my blog.  And in fact, I’ve also reemployed my old daily to-do list system so that I can be a consistent blogger again!  Yay!!! This last weekend was the weekend of Rainman, an indoor triathlon series hosted by TriFreaks.  Before this, I had never [...]

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Lake Sammamish Half Marathon Recap, Cycling and Hangovers

March 10, 2014

I haven’t ran a race in a long time but the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon took place on my birthday and the course used one of my favorite local running trails and well, it was my birthday and that’s what I wanted to do.  So I registered and ran it.  Even though I didn’t really [...]

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Tri Training (Now Half Ironman Training): Week 6

February 26, 2014

So I did it.  I registered for Lake Stevens Half Ironman a couple of weeks ago so now I’m accountable.   When I first completed the registration, I was seconds away from a panic attack.  Seriously, running race registrations are hardly as in depth as those for an Ironman.  I had to fill out my [...]

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When We’re Naked, Please No Touching

February 5, 2014

So today at the gym I had a really cool moment and then… a really creepy moment. I finished my 30 minute swimming workout, which actually went really awesomely.  Like, feeling way stronger, lasted way longer before needing to rest between sets, not thinking I’m going to drown and die when using the pull buoy (or [...]

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Good Medicine

January 29, 2014

Holy crap.  2 blog posts 2 days in a row.  WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?????? Something kind of awesome happened today, but before I get into what it is, I have to be really honest about something that’s been really depressing me:  I really suck at running right now. Now I know, cognitively, that if [...]

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Tri Training: 2 Weeks In

January 29, 2014

Wow.  I am a really shitty blogger right now.  Sorry dudes. I have to tell you guys something though.  I have a new found respect for triathletes.   I  mean, I already respected them.  It’s just that I really didn’t realize how much strength and endurance it requires to train three sports at the same [...]

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Sugar and Gluten Free Meals

January 21, 2014

As I stated in my last post, last week I went through a pretty big detox.  I took gluten, sugar in all forms (fruit, dairy except yogurt and some cheese; refined, artificial sweeteners, all of it), fermented foods, legumes, and grains out of my diet in an effort to try to eliminate an ongoing candida [...]

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My Triathlon Training Schedule

January 17, 2014

Before I dig into the point of this blog post I need to warn you about 2 things.  One is that we did “Murph” today at Sammamish CrossFit (1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run) which was a bit of an ass kicker…. The other is that I am day [...]

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