Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What goes up, must come down - the law of gravity

August 26, 2006

Today I thought a lot about the law of gravity. After a slightly stressful morning with my dog attacking my cousin’s 13-year-old dog, Kathryn and I headed up to Penticton. Our mission: to check out the bike course. I was told by a friend of mine who grew up in Penticton that the bike course was brutal, but I only half-believed him because often people who don’t bike like I do overestimate the difficulty of many biking extravaganzas. However, in this case, it is true.

Richter’s pass is a big one. I’ve biked in the Rockies before and have bike passes with a loaded bike. However, I know that the experience that I’m going to have one year from now will be very different. In the beginning-middle of an already fairly difficult bike course isa difficult 50km consisting of a pass and many ups and downs after that. I couldn’t help but be brought back to my first-year physics class where we learned the law of gravity: what goes up, must come down. It seemed so easy then – a simple law that Newton came up with because an apple fell on his head. However, I’m not sure he would have been so quick to make that law had he biked Richeter’s pass… and the 30km after that. This is not Sunday evening bike ride material. We’re talking hardcore. We’re talking major hills. We’re talking going up at 10km/hr (I wasn’t really warmed up) and flying down at 55km/hr (not pedaling because a) I was scared shitless and b) I was tired after going uphill for 10km). The law of gravity seemed ridiculous to me at this point, but I could have just been dizzy from the altitude too.

As for me, I was pretty stressed today. I mean, I can’t help but wonder if I can actually do this. Physically. It is not uncommon for someone to not finish... not only that, but to endure serious health problems along the way. I hope that watching the race tomorrow will inspire me a lot. So I was feeling really stressed out about the whole thing, but after I got on my bike and started pedalling, things felt okay. Even if I was going up a huge-ass hill. I mean, I’m fairly certain that I can finish it and I think that if I work really hard I can do it in 12 hours (ahem... make that 13). That’s a realistic goal for me. Hopefully I’ll get a coach and it’ll all be good.

When we got home from the bike ride, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I haven’t had it feel like that since I threw it out playing volleyball in grade 12, almost 10 years ago. When I originally injured it, I literally couldn’t move from the court and they had to drag me off using a gym mat. I could hardly walk for 2 weeks and went to the chiro for 3 months once a week. Hopefully this is not that situation. I’m pretty sure it’s from sitting in a car for 14 hours, being slightly stressed out, and then getting out and without a good warm-up, biking up a fairly significant hill, and then getting back into the car. When I think about it, it seems like a really dumb thing to do. Oh well, live and learn.

On the bike ride, it felt like I got a sneak preview of the route. All the way up the pass were various chalkings from people there to cheer on the athletes. There were signs saying "Go Mighty Mouse Go!" all along the bike route. It was really cool to see the course the day before the athletes competing would, like I was making sure the course was good enough for the 2300 people competing the next day. I am excited to see the race tomorrow, and to sign up for next year!

The new year begins here... from Saskatchewan to British Columbia

August 25th, 2006 –
Today's trip started off a little rocky. After very little sleep and a whole car to pack, not to mention bikes to put on the rack, I tried to get everything together and out of the house by 6am. One hour behind already. Crap. I had to stop by work to grab my day planner, which I had forgotten the night before. Then I was off to pick up Kathryn. I can find solace in the fact that I am sure that I didn’t forget anything. There will be no repeat wet suit-forgetting incidents. All sports accounted for... and that’s the really important stuff. Plus, I have enough food to feed a small army of vegans!

I picked Kathryn up and as we were loading the bikes onto the rack, Zoe (the stray dog I rescued off the street) decided that she wanted to explore Kathryn's neighbourhood. However, she was not on a leash and my bad-mother-syndrome came out. We spent almost an hour searching for her, calling her name, and biking around trying to find her. I was almost starting to cry when I saw Kathryn in the car waving at me and pointing. She had found Zoe. Thank goodness. I’m not THAT bad of a mother! We were off at 7:30… 2.5 hours behind schedule. Damn.

The drive went fairly well. No real problems or incidences. Zoe sat quietly in the back, Kathryn and I chatted about our lives, I drank pop and ate junk food, and we listened to music. It was good.

So now I’m here in Vernon at my cousin’s house and I’m starting to get super scared about this whole Ironman thing. I mean, holy shit!!! What am I thinking?!? I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve come all this way in order to sign up for the hardest day of my life thus far. Is this masochistic? Or am I just a little crazy? I am more and more seeing that most triathletes are a little crazy. Not necessarily in a bad way, it’s just so frigging hardcore. No matter what, though, I’m signing up. It is going to be one year of grueling training and careful nutrition analysis and I’m going to learn so much about myself. It’s going to be one hell of a year. New Year’s will no longer be the day to celebrate the first day of the year. My New Year is coming up in 2 short days. Let the countdown begin.