Welp, triathlon training continues to be humbling.
I thought this post would be about how I went to a training camp and now feel so much stronger and more confident about my abilities.
Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5 and took the train all the way up to 145th and Riverside to meet Sam, my triathlon angel, for a tri training camp.
The plan was to swim, then bike, then run. We swam for about 45 minutes or so, doing some drills and some free swimming. At the end, Sam had us simulate the race experience by having us all line up at the end of the lane and start swimming together. This slow swimmer â€œwonâ€ this mini race, which I felt really good about. Even if it was only 25m.
It was nice swimming in a longer pool, and I loved that it was outside and had a view of the Hudson. You can buy day passes for it, so I may come back here for some longer swims.
Gratuitous swimming pic.
So, Sam had told us to wear whatever weâ€™d wear on race day. My tri suit is in NJ, because all of my tris have been there and this was a last-minute thing. I improvised and wore bike shorts and this Asics tri top they sent me. But now I want a super cute tri suit…
This would be the last time Iâ€™d smile during this training camp.
After this, we set out on our bikes. I never clip in riding through the city, but for some reason, clipped in immediately for our trip. I think I thought weâ€™d be riding on the path to the bridge, but we rode through Washington Heights to get to the George Washington Bridge. And the â€œHeightsâ€ is no misnomer; that shit is HILLY.
There was one four-way intersection where we had to go uphill. After a ride with ShannonÂ a few weeks ago where we started up a really steep little hill and immediately unclipped to avoid slipping backwards and falling to our deaths, hills clipped in make me really nervous. And this time it was like, panic attack-level nervous. I started hyperventilating and just couldnâ€™t bring myself to do it.
Finally, Albert, the kind fellow on the left, came over to me and said I didnâ€™t have to ride clipped in, why didnâ€™t I just put my sneakers on and give it another try? Good idea, kind fellow. I was a bit less nervous after I did this, but still shaken.
Our game plan was to ride over the GWB and into NJ (hi mom!) to the Palisades. My cousin lives in West New York, so I know that Edgewater/Fort Lee area pretty well and knew itâ€™d be HILLY. Sure enough, as soon as we got over the bridge, there was a long hill down to the entrance of the trail.
photos via Sam
I managed to hold it together relatively well on this hill. When we got to the entrance of the trail, I was already behind the crew anyway so I stopped for a second to try to calm myself down and regroup. There was a very hot dude on a bike there, and he asked if I was tired. We chatted for a minute, and I told him I was doing a HIM in September and terrified, and he said he was doing an Ironman next week and also terrified. He wins.
I felt better after our little chat, and continued on riding. Itâ€™s really pretty back there, and I was finally sort of finding my (slow, cautious) groove.
Then we came up to this hill, and I totally lost it. It looks like nothing in this photo, but I swear it was a big hill. (All hills are big to me, though.)
After having already freaked out so much, I just couldnâ€™t do it. I just couldnâ€™t push through any more, and I told Sam I was going to turn aroundâ€¦and immediately started bawling. Please note: I cry at the drop of a hat watching movies but rarely cry in my own life, and certainly not usually over something athletic that Iâ€™ve chosenÂ to do.
I told Sam I was really scared of these hills, and I was miserable, and I just couldnâ€™t do it any more. â€œBut youâ€™re a fighter, I know you can do this,â€ he said. But I had no more fight left in me. Something about those hills had psyched me out, and I just couldnâ€™t imagine pushing through any more. I was already so emotionally drained.
We chatted for a few minutes, and he said something about that moment when youâ€™re pushing yourself outside your comfort zone like this is where life is lived, and thatâ€™s where youâ€™re really alive. â€œFor whatever reason, youâ€™re one of those people,â€ he said, â€œthat isnâ€™t content to sit back and have life happen to them. You go out and you push past your comfort zone, and do these things you never thought you could do.”
We talked, and I asked him what he thought about the NYC Triathlon, which Iâ€™m doing in two weeks, and the half-Ironman. He said that Iâ€™m 100% ready physically for NYC, but I needed to work on my mental game; for Princeton, he said he still thinks I can get there.
I was only going to ride back over the bridge and get on the subway there, but the idea of that ride back seemed interminable. I sat down on a bench and really cried it out for a few more minutes before turning around and riding back.
I had a really great open water swim today (that Iâ€™ll blog about separately), but Iâ€™m still feeling terrified of this HIM, and wondering if I made the right decision to try to do one. I feel so over my head right now. Itâ€™s really worrying me and scaring me, so Iâ€™m trying to just focus on getting through the next two weeks and getting to the NYC Tri.