Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Turtle

My coworker took these pictures of Geoff making the transition from foot to bike - that smirk on Geoff's face is his reaction to all the cheering he received because he was the first runner in. I got my triathlon results today. I jogged the 5K in 31 minutes (I expected as much.) I climbed the 7.5K mountain bike leg in 29 minutes (at least that time was in the top half of all competitors, which I think is not bad for racing at my "commuter" speed), and finished the 5K ski in a dismal 41 minutes. There was only one guy in the entire race that skied slower. Judging by the amount of time I spent on the ground, I'm guessing that guy broke something.

This winter has been my first experiment with regimented exercise - training if you will - and I am definitely learning something about my physical inclinations. Geoff has been blessed with the enviable talent of both speed and endless endurance. I, unfortunately, will never have speed. But I do believe that endurance is within my grasp.

See, I lack the two most important qualities for speed - the muscular makeup to achieve it, and the competitive drive to work for it. In all honesty, I raced a sprint triathlon at the same speed I would have if I was running a course five times as long. I waved at runners as the blew by me and made self-depreciating comments to the skiers who stepped over me on the trail. Even without taking the race seriously, my "go-get-em" drive was seriously lacking.

And this is the exact reason why I believe I could be so good at endurance. My body finds this physical threshold of long-term comfort, and it holds me there. There isn't a competitive synapse or hormone burst in me that's willing to break it, risk it for something better. And I could just continue at this level for - well - I'm not even sure how long. I remained at this level for most of the 24 hours it took me to do the Susitna 100. I didn't experience any discomfort beyond general sleeplessness and soggy chill, and my muscles recovered very quickly after the race. As it turns out, my "Sea to Ski" experience was somewhat similar.

I am a turtle. A spectacularly slow turtle. But I do believe that, with the will to do it, I could use my turtle powers to finish just about any distance, within a time that's considered reasonable, and have a great time doing it. All I need to do is work to increase my comfort threshold - for example, adding miles per hour to the the speed I can comfortably bike at. If I can do it for one hour, I can do it for 24. I'm not saying I'm certain of this. But I do hope to test this theory further as the summer season approaches.

5 comments:

  1. If any of my friend read this blog, they are gonna laugh their asses off, but I am the same way.

    We did a 7 hour mtb ride last fall and I was totally fine at the end of it while some of my younger co-horts could barely walk afterwards.

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  2. Keep it up girlfriend. Everyone has to start somewhere. And 15 mph is NOT bad for going UP on a mountain bike. Part of the problem with these winter tri's and other harder races is that most participants are the uber-fit or very experienced. I did a 15k run last year on a super hilly dirt trail on a rainy day in September. There were only 64 runners and almost everyone was faster than me because only crazy people wanted to do the run :) If you were doing a summer tri or du, you'd probably be at least solid middle of the pack.

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  3. Waaayyy off topic, but congratulations on your Press Club award. Not bad for moving to the state recently!

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  4. "But I do believe that endurance is within my grasp."

    Grasp??? You finished the Susitna!!! That's amazing endurance!

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  5. Hey, take it from a fellow turtle...there's nothing wrong with realizing you're not fast. Some folks are quick, some are fast, some are steady. I'm enjoying being steady. And you're already an endurance GRRRRRL, as posted above. Love the inner turtle. I'll have to see if my mother-in-law can get you a matching wind turtle like the one in my yard. He doesn't pedal as fast as his companion the frog, but he goes and goes and goes, and he never stops enjoying it!

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