Fixing the Engine
I remember seeing a hateful comment from someone back in 2014 that went something like this: Swim Bike Mom has this fast bike, but she’s so fat it’s not like it’s going to translate to any speed.
Yeah, okay. So that one stung.
But then I remember thinking: Well, you’re a jackass, speed is still speed even on a fat person.
Sigh…. Deep down, however, I knew that pulling 19.4 MPH on a fifty-six mile bike course still wouldn’t make me any more “credible” in the eyes of the hatin’, bitter people. They are always gonna have a negative cross to bear. And frankly, I didn’t care what they thought.
But… I did care about one thing:
I cared that at the start of each triathlon season for the last six years, I have felt like crap.
I have felt swollen, puffy, sluggish, and no matter how hard I had “tried” in the off-season, I had never come into the “on” season stronger than I left it.
I was determined to change that this year.
I loooooove all my equipment and my fancy bike, and the truth of the matter is that even if you are feeling and looking and performing like crap… the fancy equipment will translate to some speed. Some, yes. So get whatever damn bike YOU want, people. 🙂
After racing arguably 5 of the last 7 years in the 1970’s Pinto that was my body and hoping my thighs didn’t catch ME on fire, I can tell you that it was hard. I can tell you that it’s been wonderful and great to have accomplishments and set goals and MOVE my body–in whatever shape and size it was (and IS)— and I am PROUD of what I have accomplished in the body from 230 pounds and downward to where I am now.
I don’t regret a SECOND of the journey, or bemoan an ounce of weight I carried at this point. It all led me right here, right now.
I have learned that there are simpler ways of doing things… there are ways of working with my body, and not fighting against it.
I had the bike, but I fought with my body.
I had the wheels, but I fought with my body.
In other words, I had the theoretical appearance of shiny sports car, but I was still a Pinto inside (well, outside a bit too.) So like a half-sports car, half Pinto, with a Pinto engine.
(I am sure someone is going to post about how a Pinto is a great engine. Whatever. Okay. Let’s not miss the point here. Insert crappy car analogy here, if it’s bugging you).
The best piece of equipment is our “engine”—that is, our body (and our mind) that we use to get us where we are going–whether in a race, in sport, or simply to the grocery store and kiddos’ sporting events.
I was reminded of that today as I took my bike out on Sunday for the first time in months.
As usual, I was timid for the first ride of the season. Yes, I knew that I had been working hard on my nutrition and strength and getting back in the saddle regularly on the trainer.
But each new season has, historically, been such a butt-kicker and downer… I went out for the ride with ZERO expectations.
The ride was amazing.
Getting my BODY and MIND straight has been the single best off-season “free speed.”
I rode this weekend with the lightest body weight since college… but more than that. I was stronger in body and in mind—and interestingly, just the way I felt trumped everything. And yes, the speed is there too.
So. What have I done over the off-season?
Three things that I have learned, and have implemented:
- I have fed my body
- I have fed my mind
- I have fed my soul
Okay FIVE things: I have also been consistent and patient.
And diligent. Whoops. So it’s not just a few simple things. But yet, it is so simple, at the same time. Simple, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that a process is easy. But it’s still an amazing process.
If you are wanting some speed (or just a chance to grab a part of your life back), then taking care of yourself and your nutrition is the single best thing you could do for your speed, your engine.
I pushed the same watts on my ride this weekend that I pushed 2 weeks before IM Lake Placid—when I was training my tail off. And I did it on not nearly the riding miles under my belt. I felt faster. I felt light.
But I felt great, most of all.
Fix the engine! Train the engine. Be kind to yourself. Be patient.
You got this.