Thursday, June 28, 2007

Race Report

Event: US Women's Triathlon Series / Subaru Sprint Triathlon
Swim: 750m
Bike: 22K (13.8 mile)
Run: 5K
Date: 6/24/07
Location: Naperville, IL

I already had a rollover registration for this race because of the running injury last summer that took me out 10 days from the event. The rollover was only good for one year, so I was relieved when, after I discovered I was pregnant, my midwife allowed me to keep this shorter, slow-poke friendly event on my schedule.

I was especially looking forward to this race because I was finally going to meet Tri Blogger extraordinaire and all-around cool chick Wylee, which I was understandably over the moon about. To make it even more fun, her good friend Teri threw her hat into the first-timer ring, and we also managed to hook up with the very sweet natured Tri Blogger Meepa. The icing on the cake was a last minute call from Swim Coach "I'm never doing another triathlon" Marcy to let me know she was coming back for more.

So, the stage was set for an epic Girl Power weekend. I was looking forward to the weekend with the girls, but for several days before the race I was strangely numb - not at all my usual psycho happy OMGIGETTORACE self. I'd been plenty psyched in the preceding week, so I chalked it up to hormones and made myself go through the motions.

Saturday morning Wylee had me laughing my ass off with check-in calls that, no matter what the call was about, boiled down to two things: 1) I am freaking out about my precious baby, my fourth child being strapped to the back of a truck going down the interstate, and 2) Just to prove exactly how FREAKED OUT I am about my beloved bike being strapped to the back of a truck I have grown a giant zit. We're calling her Fiona.

So I pretty much knew I was going to love her from the start.

We managed to arrive in Naperville from our respective places of origin (hats off, btw, to Wylee and Teri for driving 300+ miles for this) with just a little bit of "our exit was closed for construction and we're lost in the suburbs" and "what do you MEAN they don't have our reservation?!" thrown in for flavor. We got settled into the hotel, popped over to the Expo, drove the course to show the first-timers it wouldn't bite, and then headed out for some traditional pre-race face stuffing.

After dinner group shot (from Left: Tri Blogger MommyMeepa, Tri Blogger Wylee, Wylee's friend Teri, Tri Blogger Siren, Swim Coach Marcy)

The 4:30 wake up call went off like a bomb (seriously, this was the loudest phone I've ever heard), instantly making my head pound and forcing me wonder what the hell I was thinking. Hello... pregnant, tired, just yesterday morning you were puking... why EXACTLY did you think this was a good idea?!

Marcy and I moaned for a few minutes about how tired we were and how much we just wanted to be done, then we got on with it. Me, Marcy, Wylee and Teri were all ready to go by about 5:30 (effortless for those three perky morning nazis; a new record in race morning punctuality for me) and we headed to the race. We made it to transition by about 6:15 - not bad for my I-hate-mornings self.

Oh, and the weather was absolute perfection - overcast with a projected high of about 80. We even got a little bit chilly waiting for our starts.

I started to shake the odd depressed numbness I'd been lugging around for days when I set up my fantastically OCD transition space. Then I got cheered up even more as I watched Wylee and Teri getting their stuff ready, because I was just so happy for them to be embarking on their first race.

The last of my hormonal bad moodiness disappeared when we decided the baby needed a race number too. Aside from being ten different kind of silly, it really helped remind me just how incredibly lucky I am to have this wonderful life and amazing friends.

(And how can you not love all my shiny I-got-up-at-4:30-and-bathed-in-SPF50 glory. Now that's SEXY!)

We posed for one more group shot before transition closed, then we were off to, ya know, wait around for 2 hours for our wave starts.

Around 7:00 - standing in line for the bathroom
Around 7:15 - bumped into Meepa, hugs and well-wishes all around.
Around 8:00 - standing in line for the bathroom
Around 8:30 - high-fived Meepa coming out of the water
Around 8:45 - cheered for Marcy coming out of the water
8:54 - Wave 29, game on.

The water was a wonderful 78 degrees and in spite of the gloomy sky remained the most inviting "open water" venue I've ever seen. New this year: I WAS NOT ONE BIT SCARED. Unwanted replay of previous year: The humiliation of the swim buddy guy thinking I was such a pathetic swimmer he followed me through the whole course, telling me over and over how great I was doing. I wanted to DIE. But I can't blame him - shoulder injury-induced lack o' swimming for, oh, the last 11 months or so really put a dent in my performance. I was really frustrated, because even though I did not feel one iota of fear I couldn't stop hyperventilating, so I couldn't put my face in the damn water and swim properly. I finally started to get control about halfway through the course and started swimming like I'm supposed to, which of course felt lovely and I was kicking myself for not getting myself together sooner.

Wylee was a freakin angel. She obviously could have gone much faster on the swim and I was alternately feeling horribly guilty for holding her back and humiliated for my pathetic performance. I know I can do much better. But I also should know better than to beat myself up over it after being out with an injury for so long. And that whole hosting an alien energy sucking pod person thing probably didn't help either.

One mildly scary point on the swim - near the end I got one of those sharp shooting lower abdominal cramps that pregnant women sometimes get. My doctor calls them growing pains - they're perfectly normal and they always pass fairly quickly. The only problem is that they generally make me double over in pain and I was in 15 feet of water. Thankfully curling my legs up in a ball for a few seconds helped it pass with no real trouble.

The real irony was that even though I was beyond humiliated by the swim my time ended up being a PR for this course. So even coming back from an injury, being pregnant and having zero stamina, my swim coaches have obviously done wonders for me.

I had to pee. Big shocker - I'd promised my midwife I'd hydrate up the wazoo to keep the baby safe, and I had been. I felt fantastic, so I jogged from the porta potty to my bike hoping to make up the time. I strapped on the HR monitor (another promise I made to the midwife) and got a nasty surprise. Jogging maybe 50 yards had made it go as high as if I'd been running several(pre-pregnancy) miles. Holy crap. It went down a bit when I sat down to get my shoes on and such, but it was unfortunately a sign of things to come.

Once again, Wylee was a freakin angel. She kept an eye and me and Teri, obviously coasting dramatically slower than she was capable of going on the Sexy Biatch. She's got legs as long as I am tall and I suspect she could smoke just about anybody on that bike course with her speed machine. Instead, she chatted with us, made sure I was eating and drinking and tried to keep me honest about the not-so-perfect HR monitor readings I was getting.

If I had to sum up the bike in one word it would be frustration. It's a flat course, there was no wind to speak of and physically I felt fabulous. In fact, more than once I thought to myself 'gawd you're going slow, let's crank it up' only to check my HR and see it was 15 BPM over my limit! I spent the whole ride gearing down and coasting and gearing down some more and coasting some more. Had Wylee and Teri not been there, laughing and chatting and making me have a good time, I have might pulled over and thrown a Normann Stadler style tantrum. I was just so frustrated. And no matter how many times Wylee assured me we had all agreed to stick together, I still felt terribly guilty for holding her back because I knew exactly how it felt to want to go faster.

Oh, and 20 minutes into the bike I totally had to pee again. By the end of the ride I was clenching every time I hit a bump because I'm not a pee-in-the-saddle kinda girl. Especially not on a sprint - that's just weak. But I was a good little pregnant girl and still forced myself to drink every drop of my bottle of Nuun, much to the surprise and confusion of my poor bladder. I was never so happy to see a porta-potty as I was at the end of that ride!

Not sure where the crazy T2 time came from - I had to pee again but it didn't seem like it too that long. Regardless of the glacial time it was uneventful and I was happy we were heading into the last leg.

Run, err... Walk
Wylee and Teri are much better walkers than I, and I worked pretty hard to keep up with them but I felt great. Once again, the overwhelming feeling was frustration, because I felt physically good enough I desperately wanted to break out into a run. My HR was at the upper limits of acceptable for the entire walk, which was a welcome break from the soaring numbers I'd been seeing on the bike.

We started to feel the effects of being in the Family wave (which goes off nearly last) when we noticed much more traffic around the course than usual. One woman even swerved at us and ran over a cone not 6 feet away. I've always felt perfectly safe when racing; being nervous about cars was a first, particularly for this course.

Somewhere around mile 1 we were wondering if there was anyone left behind us when a cop came up and started following us on his motorcycle. I told them that means we're DFL and we laughed about it. The cop told us we had to finish the race on the sidewalk when we turned the corner about 2 blocks up. My racing ego reared up at the implication that we were being pulled off the course, but I bit my tongue because he didn't say we had to stop. Just get off the street.

Then he zoomed ahead and we could sort of hear him talking to the volunteers at the corner; I thought I heard him say there were a few walkers behind us (yay!) and I heard him tell them we had to go on the sidewalk.

We went on the walk until they couldn't see us anymore, then Teri announced that there was still a race course and she was still in the race, so she was going to walk on it. Wylee and I joined her back up on the road for a while, until the dreaded Big White Race Van came up. I was SURE they were pulling the course, but they weren't. The lady said we really had to get on the sidewalk and stay there, because the police had started to unblock the roads and cars were ignoring the cones blocking off the course. The race officials were quite concerned someone was going to get hit.

We also managed to get out of her that we were definitely not the last walkers, so while we were disappointed at being pulled onto the sidewalk I was content not to be DFL.

As we neared the finish Wylee and Teri had a burst of energy and I encouraged them to go on ahead - my hip flexors were cramping up and every step had become painful. Plus, this was their first race and they'd come a long way for it, I felt like they deserved to go out ahead and finish together. I came in maybe a minute behind them.

The Finish
There was barely a soul at the finish line, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Meepa had stuck around to wait for us. She'd gone as an age grouper and started well before we did, so I'm sure she must have waited quite a while, although she was too nice to say so. Thanks to her we got a nice group shot of us at the end. Sans medals, you might notice, because they ran out. Although they did promise to mail them, I was NOT amused. I didn't realize until I didn't get one how much getting this particular finish medal meant to me. It wasn't particularly a physical challenge to finish, but it had definitely been an emotional one, and one I don't think I could have managed without Wylee's support. I guess I'm more competitive than I thought.

Swim: 22:13
T1: 10:19
Bike: 1:04:54
T2: 10:06
Run: 56:42
Total: 2:44:11
Place: 1880/1885 finishers

Final Thoughts
However frustrating it was to go slow, I'm still very glad I went through with the race. It was great to spend time with new friends even if we didn't have the perfect race experience. I'm certain I would never have forgiven myself if I'd decided not to try. And even though I was not happy with the finish time from the standpoint of my pre-pregnancy goal for this race (sub 2), there is something to be very happy about. Because you see, two years ago at my first race, on this course, this was almost exactly my finish time. I even finished in the exact same place as that first race - 5th from last. And two years ago I sure as hell wasn't pregnant and hadn't had injuries - I was just heavier and slower and less fit. And I was thrilled to have finished at all, regardless of my time. So I have to be pleased that I've come so far I can take a time that I used to be happy with, beat it by 3 minutes pregnant and recovering from a painful and debilitating injury, and know with certainty it's a temporary situation and that I'm capable of so much more.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Apparently I've Got Connections

Had a follow up appointment for my shoulder with PT Chris today (diagnosis: it's about 75% back to normal and healing is progressing slowly but nicely.)

As usual we were chatting about tri stuff and somehow Kona came up in the conversation. She said her brother's done it a few times; he doesn't have to worry about qualifying because "his buddy Dave" can get him into the race.

Me: Uuuumm... his buddy Dave?

PT Chris: Yeah - Dave Scott.

Me: (Incredulous) Your brother knows Dave Scott?

PTC: Yeah - they're Boulderites. Hey, would you like an autographed picture?

Me: (Momentarily speechless) Uuuum, you can do that? You know Dave Scott?

PTC: Yeah, I know Dave.

Me: (Thinking "Dave." She calls him "Dave.") Wow. Yes. Thank you - that would be amazing.

So, next time she visits her brother, she's going to talk to "Dave" (or as I would probably call him if we ever crossed paths "OMG You're Dave Scott") and see if she can get me an autographed picture.

Holy crap. I don't know if it will actually work out, but the fact that she even offered is so far off the cool scale it doesn't even compute.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Baby's First Triathlon

Well, that was interesting, in an aliens-have-invaded-my-body-and-stolen-speed kind of way.

In a nutshell, I had a great time with the girls but my HR restrictions were extremely frustrating because it forced me to go very slow.

Real report to follow, but first... Shower. Food. Epic nap.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bottomless Pit

Prime example of the depths to which my OCD can sink...

I'm packing for the race. I'm bringing 3 different tops to race in, and will decide what to wear race morning depending on things like the temperature and how fat the baby's making me feel.

I'm also bringing 3 different running hats. To color coordinate with each shirt option.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just a Few More Days

In just a few more days, I will start my rituals.

In just a few more days, I will stand in front of a wall of numbers and feel the thrill of seeing my name on it.

In just a few more days, I will watch in wonder as a Sharpie transforms me into a competitor.

In just a few more days I will feel the collective energy of my sisters, and be swept away.

In just a few more days I will once again throw myself at the mercy of the gods of triathlon, give them all I can spare and hope to be found worthy.

In just a few more days I will do these things with all the requisite joy and reverence, but this time I also do them with a newfound appreciation.

Because this time I'm bringing my future along for the ride.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dialed In

I just got in a nice 10 mile bike ride to test my nutrition plan for the race next week.

I know a lot of people don't think "sprint race" and "nutrition plan" belong in the same sentence. And if this was a routine sprint I wouldn't be that worried about it, especially since this was the summer I was supposed to bring my sprint under 2 hours.

But this race is different. Slowing down for babies in bellies and to enjoy time with awesome newbie friends means I need to plan for about 2.5 hours in about 80-90 degree heat.

My stomach gets upset very easily when it's hot and I've already learned in previous races I can't choke down regular energy bars on the bike. And sugary sports drinks make me nauseous in the heat, plus they give me stomach cramps (and other uncomfortable issues, generally about halfway through the run). I've been casting around for a while looking for a solution.

So I was super excited when a Dick's opened here in town, because they stock Cliff Blocks, which I've been DYING to try. So I did. And they're freaking amazing.

I've tested them several times now, in several scenarios, and so far it has always gone well. The big goal for today's ride was to see if they could pass the 'heat always makes me queasy' test, which would determine if I could use them in the race.

They passed with FLYING COLORS. I was able to eat one every 10 minutes without one peep out of my pathetically touchy tummy. I'm so happy it's not even funny. Solving this problem was a big key to moving up in race distance in the future.

So the plan for next week is dialed in. It looks like overkill when I write it all out like this, but between the extra time on the course and my doctor hounding extra hydration, it's actually pretty reasonable. I know hardly anybody carries fluids on the run, but since I can't choke down the warm water and Gatorade from the aid stations, and the little bit I'd get at the aid stations isn't enough to keep my doctor happy about hydration... you get the picture.

- 16 oz Nuun, sip every 5 minutes
- 6 Cliff Blocks (1 every 10 minutes)
- Bottle of water (wash down Cliff Blocks)

- 24 oz water
- Nuun (add to water depending on heat)
- Cliff Blocks (just in case I feel bonky)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Note to Self

Don't think that just because you walked a 5K instead of running it you can get away without stretching.

Because ya can't. Especially since you're still coming back from two months of involuntary inactivity. And in case it slipped your mind - no ibuprofen allowed.

Had a hard time tying those shoes this morning, huh? Don't blame it on the baby bump, I know better.

Seriously - that was STUPID. You're too old for that kind of lapse in judgment.

Good thing you've got yoga today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another Reason to Love Her

Today the Best Friend came by for lunch - she's been really busy and hasn't seen me in a couple of weeks, since the tummy started to officially bloom.

I'd just been to a business thing, so was dressed in an nice (brand new and very alien-feeling) maternity get-up.

She studied me for a second, then said "You're right, you are starting to show."

But she said it in a way that you could, like, totally tell there was a whole unspoken subtext that went something like this...

And you know why I can tell you're showing? Because you're looking so totally thin the baby is the only thing that sticks out. And you know what else? The baby totally makes your butt look smaller.

Because that's what makes her a Best Friend. She doesn't even have to say stuff like that - she automatically makes me feel like she said it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's All About Perspective

This is the conversation that took place in my garage at 10:30 Sunday morning.

Me: I'm shooting for 12 miles. But I'm not going to push it, so we'll see how it goes. I'll only be gone about an hour.


Me: It feels wierd to plan on not pushing myself.

WH: Yeah?

Me: It feels like I'm being lazy.

WH: Gives me The Look - you know, the one that means 'You're Batshit Crazy But I Love You Anyway'. Then he says...

Not for a pregnant person.

How Cool is This?

I was cruising the cereal aisle the other day and did a double take... was that... omg, was that a picture of someone in tri gear? And why does he look familiar?

It took me a second to register what I was seeing.

A triathlete - Hunter Kemper, to be specific. On a box of Wheaties.

How totally cool is that?!

I found a press release that stated it was the first time a triathlete has ever been featured on a Wheaties box. I think it's great our pros are finally getting some of the public recognition they so richly deserve.

(Of course I bought it. Wheaties are a staple for me anyway. Hell, I'd have bought it even if I had a case of cereal back home in the pantry.)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Weighty Issues

If you think I'm a bitch for this rant, just please understand I'm incredibly touchy about my weight, and I get very upset when people are flip about it. I feel like the world is always judging me because of my weight (and let's face it, they probably are), and it makes me even crazier when the one doing the judging is bigger than I am.

I've been struggling with my weight since my late teens, when the first thyroid symptoms showed themselves. I fought it constantly for over a decade before I got the help I needed, and since then it's been an uphill battle to regain some semblance of the health I lost so long ago. All in all, we're talking roughly 16 years - more than half my life - that I have been obsessively hating myself and my weight every minute of every day. I suspect only someone who has struggled with this kind of weight problem can understand the depths of the despair.

If I gain 2 pounds from PMS I freak out. Losing 5 pounds in 6 months is cause for celebration. This has been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. You can imagine my panic at the prospect of a pregnancy and what it would do to my weight.

And for the record, I'm not saying I'm not willing to gain whatever weight my doctor deems necessary for the health of the baby. I'm talking about the excessive weight gains (45-60+) I've witnessed in friend's pregnancies. Weight gains they act like are complete surprises, and that they had nothing to do with.

My trainer is fond of saying, "now that you've lost those pounds, you're never going to find them again." And I never intend to.

Anyone who's known me for any length of time knows this about me - it's not like I can hide the constant health problems, triathlon and a 50+ pound weight loss from my friends and colleagues.

So it's been extremely upsetting to me that, almost to a person, the women in my circle of acquaintances who chat with me about my pregnancy bring up my weight loss and then say, in the most casual way possible, some version of "oh don't worry about it, just let it go, no matter what you're gonna gain it all back and then some! I know I did!"

Another favorite: "Once the baby comes you won't have time for all that stuff, so you should just give it up now."

This has left me both seething with anger and on the verge of tears - sometimes simultaneously.

Part of my feels like these comments are a complete negation of all my hard work and dedication. Like they never believed I was serious about it and will simply let myself go now that I've got a baby. And that makes me angry, because how dare they assume such an insulting thing about me?

Part of me feels helpless, like 'what if they're right?' Because I've been defenseless in the face of my weight before, so it doesn't sound that far-fetched. And that makes me want to cry, because oh my god, WHAT IF THEY ARE RIGHT?

The logical voice in my head reassures me that it's their problem, not mine, and they're just trying to make themselves feel better about their own weight issues by convincing themselves it happens to everybody so it can't be their fault.

The logical voice in my head reassures me that sometimes people just say stupid things without realizing it. Gawd knows I have. And that they don't mean a thing by it and can't possibly understand how much it hurts me.

The logical voice in my head reminds me that they are not me, and they obviously do not have the strength of my resolve or else we'd be having a very different conversation. Like the wonderful, sanity-saving, reassuring conversations I've been blessed with from TriSaraTops and JBMommy.

The logical voice in my head reminds me what I believe in - that it's not selfish, because my baby deserves to have the healthiest mom possible. And if I give it up and let myself go, I'm setting a terrible example for my child.

But still. What if they're right?

Calorie Nazi Status Report

I thought about forgoing these during the pregnancy because um, hello, this is The Excuse to be taking a break from weight loss.

But the Calorie Nazi isn't just about weight loss, it's also about overall nutrition and general health. It's even got a pregnancy function that adjusts recommendations for nutrition during the different trimesters. So while I might not have been as religious as I was pre-pregnancy about logging every day's food intake, I have been pretty darn good about it. Especially when I was at my sickest in first trimester, terrified I wasn't getting enough nutrition to support the baby.

So here's where things are at:
Pre-pregnancy low: -55 pounds
Weight when pregnancy discovered: -53 pounds
Current weight (at 16 weeks): -60 pounds

Yep, you read that right. At a time when my beloved tri-mommies-to-be (TriSaraTops and JBMommy) are concerned about their baby weight gain, I'm feeling guilty for not gaining enough (in fact, for losing) and constantly wondering if the baby will be alright because of it.

And can I just tell ya, after fighting my weight tooth and nail every day of my life since puberty, being upset about not being able to gain is a straaaange new world.

Around 11 weeks I called the doctor sobbing because the inability to eat had been particularly bad for several days and at that point I'd lost 11 pounds in just 4 weeks (I've since managed to gain back 3 of those). I was begging for reassurance the baby wasn't starving.

She laughed and told me it was fine at this stage of the pregnancy. Then she reiterated our first conversation, in which she'd told me that her goal for me in this pregnancy would be to remain the same weight throughout. That is, for every pound of baby I gain, I'd lose another pound off my still-ample behind.

Obviously, this is not recommended for the average person. But she feels my healthy lifestyle, good nutrition habits and extra 85 pounds will allow this to happen safely and to the benefit of both me and the baby. Of course she'll be monitoring things closely to make sure the baby is getting what it needs, but after several visits she is still confident in this plan of action.

Personally, I thought she was nuts. Because all you ever hear is women wailing about how much weight they gained and how they felt like it was out of their control. And because all I've ever known in my life was uncontrolled weight gain in spite of my best efforts.

But I was game to try - I figured at worst I'd gain the max recommended for someone already overweight (15 pounds).

Who knew it would be so manageable? Actually, it's still been hard, but not in the way I imagined. Since I'm still all about food aversions and just last night battled nausea for hours, it's actually been something of a challenge not to continue losing weight. And that's with getting in a couple hundred extra calories a day than I was before (on the days I can eat, that is).

So, that's where things are at with the Calorie Nazi. It's helping keep me on track for the calorie recommendations my doctor gave me and keeping me on track for the goal weight my doctor and I set for my due date.

I'm finally starting to show a little (one friend said the other day "hey! you finally look pregnant!"), but in general I'm getting comments that I look great, I look like I've lost weight, etc. I must admit it's been nice. Just yesterday at the gym one of the staff (who met me near my heaviest) told me I'm looking amazing and that I was glowing... and the brief conversation that followed revealed that she didn't even know I was pregnant!

Score one for the Calorie Nazi.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Not Exactly Swimmin Like a Fish

I made it to the gym for a swim yesterday. Hung out in the lobby with my friend/trainer M for a few minutes bitching about the fact that swim lessons had started and the small section of the pool allowed for regular swimmers was overtaken by screaming kids and senior citizens floating around with noodles.

As is the case at the beginning of every June, I was pissed because nobody respects the real lap swimmers at my gym even when the whole pool is open and once again my regular swim schedule is thrown out the window. Luckily the senior citizens saw the next wave of swim class kids coming in and cleared out, not wanting to put up with another round of kicking and splashing and screaming, crying refusals to put faces in the water.

As soon as they cleared out I took my chance and jumped in, telling the remaining two kids that I would be swimming laps in this lane. They weren't perfect about it, but I will say they respected my lane space significantly more than any other kids have in my 3 years at the gym, so I've gotta credit their parents for that.

Anyhoo, I got in a slow quarter mile, with many pauses to catch my breath. My new stroke is starting to feel pretty good, but as usual all the turning in the short pool made it impossible to get into a groove. All the turning seems to contribute to the breathlessness and needing to rest, so I do think I'll be better off in open water.

While I was swimming I kept thinking that if I go this slow at the race, my girls are going to have time to dry their hair and get a manicure before I catch up with them in T1.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Devil is in the Details

I brought my tire o' shame in today and Nice Bike Shop Owner Guy, after convincing himself that I did indeed blow the entire thing and not just the tube, asked me what size CO2 cartridge I'd used.

*Blink Blink*

Uuumm... they come in sizes?

I pointed at the box on the shelf I'd bought it from. He 'splained those were 16g cartridges and showed me a little chart that said my size tire needed a 12g cartridge.

Those were in a whole other box on a whole other shelf.

(Snarky aside: I should note that when I originally bought the gadget and cartridges I did ask for help, and nobody in the shop that day said word one about there being different sizes.)

I find it fascinating that, for all my diligent efforts at learning all the geeky little details that go along with this wonderful sport, this particular - and some might suggest highly important - detail has never once crossed my path. Even when asking for help purchasing items directly related to said detail.

I'm considering this a valuable lesson learned and feel relatively confident I won't be blowing up my shiny new replacement tire anytime soon.

Earning My Stripes

With a race coming up just 3 weeks from now I desperately needed to get my butt in the saddle, but I was seriously lacking the motivation. The BF was also eager to ride but couldn't find it either; we pooled our mojo and found enough between us to get off the couch and onto our bikes Sunday afternoon.

Whenever I ride around town - which I have to do now because my favorite country ride is all hills and would blow my HR restrictions - I always end up taking the same safe, boring path around the same neighborhoods. Today was a blast because the BF grew up here, so she led me around the winding streets and showed me where the obscure little connections are that can take us just about anywhere in town without having to ride on the dangerous major roads.

We looped around town and then decided to catch a section of the bike trail for the trip back home; stopped at the light at the worst intersection in town I got my first "Get A Car!" from some idiot driving by.

I felt So Cool.

We continued on our merry way and were barely a mile from my house when I got my next first - a big ol' blow-out that announced itself with all the requisite fanfare. All my other flats have been slow leaks I found in the garage - this was my first full-fledged exploding flat on a ride.

The best part was that not 5 minutes earlier I'd had the thought "Gee, I haven't had a flat in like a year, I wonder if I'm tempting fate for the race?"

I didn't want to make my companion wait for my ridiculous slow version of changing a tire, so we called Wonderful Husband for a ride. We were close enough we'd normally have walked, but my options were barefoot or bike shoes so that wasn't happening. (Sidebar: She's so sweet and protective of the pregnant me she insisted walking between me and the cars when we were hoofing it to the nearby intersection where WH was picking us up.)

We dropped her off at her place, then I plopped down in my front yard and got down to the task at hand...

...but not before I managed to lay my bike down funny and the big chain ring tore a nice little hole in the top of my bare foot.

Slight pause for colorful language, THEN I turned my attention to the tire.

I must say I was quite pleased with the (relative) speed with which I dispatched with the changing of the tire. I'm finally starting to feel like I could do it out on the road, or even in a race.

Then came the moment of truth - using my brand spankin new CO2 cartridge gadget to fill the tire. Part of the reason I wanted to change the tire at home was that I'd never used the thing and was a little nervous.

I promptly - and by promptly I mean by the time I had the thought "that's starting to feel firm I should let up," maybe 3 seconds after pressing the button - made everything worse than when I blew out not just the new tube, but the tire as well, with my fancy schmancy CO2 gadget.

Good times. All I could think about was if I hadn't earned the title before, today I was a triathlete. And an efficient one at that - I managed to squeeze a whole season's worth of bumbling into a single afternoon!

Methinks I forsee a trip to the LBS in my immediate future.