dinsdag 25 juli 2017
maandag 24 juli 2017
It has been a busy few weeks, and my lack of time is showing in my blog. I usually get these posts written in the evenings or over the weekends, but with putting in extra hours at the office, the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on my computer. (Plus once I get in a workout and eat dinner, I’m pretty much just ready for bed.)
So let’s see, what’s been going on?
My workouts were pretty much a mess over the past few weeks thanks to the cut on my foot from Williamsburg (which is now mostly healed). Because the ball of my foot was injured and thus sore, I was walking weird, and while I did skip running workouts (pounding on a fresh injury seemed like a bad plan), the little walking I did meant that I ended up with strained muscles in my hips from the weird gait. So that threw off the workouts even more. Things seem to be mostly in working order save for a slight twinge in one hip, but I think some stretching should help that. Who knew that one little cut could cause so many problems!
I was also avoiding the pool until my foot healed, so basically it’s been all biking, all the time.
This past weekend, my brother, sister-in-law, and niece were all in town for a few days and it was so awesome to get to spend time with them. I will never regret moving to the DC area because I love it here, but it would be nice to get to spend more time with my family. They clearly need to come visit more often. There’s plenty of stuff to do here after all. (Though maybe I would recommend not coming on the hottest weekend of the year.)
I haven’t been paying attention to the fact that I have another race in 2 weeks and it’s going to be a tough one. I’m going from a very flat course to a very hilly course. Should be quite interesting. Let’s hope the heat has broken by then.
woensdag 19 juli 2017
This weekend, I did a small clinic at Princeton Sports on what to do when you are out riding and you get a flat tire. Given the number of people who showed up at the ride who admitted to not being able to fix a flat, I had hoped more would stay for the clinic, but I think that those who did learned a lot and hopefully feel more comfortable about dealing with a flat tire.
First off, flat tires aren’t terribly common. I’ve gotten exactly one flat tire since I started riding. Of course, that one flat tire was during my first olympic distance triathlon. Thankfully, I knew what to do. I wasn’t particularly skilled at handling a flat tire, but I had practiced at home. I wasn’t going to let one pesky issue destroy my entire race.
I have heard a number of cyclists say that if they get a flat tire, their race is over. And if you’re racing to land on the podium, maybe that’s true. But for the vast majority of us, there’s no need to stop if our tire goes flat. And besides, what are you going to do if you get a flat during a training ride?
And what’s the best way to learn? Practice. Lots and lots of practice. If you have a clinic or a class available to you, go. If there is a hands-on option, participate. Learn to take your wheel off, get the tire off and change the tube.
If you don’t have a class available, you can learn thanks to the internet. The internet is an amazing place. I actually learned to change a tire by watching a video on YouTube. I no longer remember which video I used, but I’ve included a good one at the bottom of this post.
Don’t just practice once. Repeat the process over and over again. Remove the tire, pull out the tube, replace the tube, replace the tire, inflate your tire. You don’t have to use a CO2 inflator every time, use your regular bike pump. Sit in front of the tv and have something entertaining playing in the background as you repeat the process over and over. It will get easier. And if you’re struggling, walk away for a few minutes, calm yourself, and come back. You can do this, and then if you do get a flat on a training ride or during a race, you’ll know what to do.
dinsdag 18 juli 2017
maandag 17 juli 2017
I’m not going to lie – I love Marathon Investigation. This started as a way to track down people who cheated to get into Boston. And it was amazing to see just how many people cheated, and the incredibly inventive way that they cheated. The site then began to profile other cheaters, mostly people who cheated to get on the podium, but they also occasionally point out people who simply cheat so they can claim they finished. They also pointed out people who bandited races, either by copying someone else’s bib or running with an old bib (or without a bib at all).
Don’t get me wrong – cheating is always wrong. I have seen course cutting so many times at Disney races and it makes me mad every time, even though those cheaters would argue that by cutting the course, they didn’t hurt anyone. I can understand this argument. They didn’t push someone else off the podium or take a Boston spot or take aid on the course that they didn’t pay for.
But by cutting the course, by lying about their finish, they are harming the sport. They are saying that it is okay to lie so that you can get a finisher’s medal and proudly proclaim that you finished the race. I don’t understand this at all. Why would you want to lie about your accomplishments? What do you really gain? And the fact that this doesn’t make sense to me says that there is probably something wrong in how we look at racing.
This week, a teammate of mine got called out by Marathon Investigation for cutting a race course. She had previously been disqualified by that race. I admit that I didn’t know her well, and I haven’t talked to her since the piece was published. I don’t know what happened, but the evidence does not look good for her. She is no longer on our team, but that doesn’t mean that she is being shunned by the group. Instead, the leadership has opted to reach out to her and offer assistance.
[W]e have reached out to the athlete and offered to find any resources that will be helpful to her in dealing with this. While it is right and mandatory to speak out against cheating and doping ALWAYS, we also recognize this is a human with feelings. We can all shame her mercilessly on social media and drive her deeper into a hole, or we can try to help her resolve any issues so they no longer hurt her or anyone else around her in the future.
I can understand being in the middle of a race and wanting to quit. (And sometimes, quitting is the smart thing if you’re sick or injured.) I have definitely been in races where I’ve thought “Hey, I could just cut the course there and be done!” Of course, it wasn’t a serious thought. I It was about as serious as thinking “I could just grow wings and fly through the rest of the race.”
I also know that there have been races that I have been determined to finish because I didn’t want to tell people that I didn’t. The fear of failure is honestly often my training motivation when I’m just not feeling it. I don’t want to not finish a race and have to share that. Not with my friends and family – they don’t care. But since I do put all of my training out on the internet, it is scary to think that I might have to also share that I failed.
But you know what? A DNF isn’t failure. Things happen. Injuries, illnesses, weather, heck some days you’re just not feeling great for whatever reason. A DNF says “I tried, and it wasn’t my day.”
We need to remember to be supportive of people no matter what happens at their races. We need to remember that we are all in this for fun (with the exception of the pros, who I hope are partly in it for fun), and that it will be more fun if we support each other. Who knows what drives people to cheat. But rather than point and laugh, we should offer help and be ready to listen when they want to talk. Sure, some people may not want help. But simply by supporting others when they are successful and when they may be less successful, maybe we can reduce the number of people who think that they have to cut a course or lie about their finish times.
In sum, be nice to people. It’s a simple rule.