thoughts on the swim and bike

One of the things I like about running is how easily I can zone out and just run.  I don’t know if it’s a product of my many years of running or the fact that running really is just putting one foot in front of the other over and over again, but I can often run for miles and not quite realize how much time has passed.  It’s a beautiful thing.  This triathlon training thing, on the other hand, requires sports that demand my attention much more.  In swimming, there’s a constant need to turn around (hello, 20 yard pool).  In biking (or “cycling,” as the legit people like to call it), I’m hyperaware because I’m terrified of getting hit by a car or person or dog.  If you haven’t yet read the “75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out for a Run,” you probably should.  In the meantime, here are some thoughts I’ve had while swimming and biking.

thoughts on the swim

image This is the picture of the pool on Equinox’s website.  This is not even close to what it looks like.  Three lanes in the basement, ha.

  • Oh, there’s a swim class going on…probably should have checked the class schedule before showing up at the gym.
  • Only five more minutes in the class?  Perfect!  I’ll take my (required) pre-swim shower and be all set to go.
  • (Sitting dripping wet after shower, on a cloth chair [the only kind available, this is Equinox, you know]) – Why didn’t I wait to shower until the class was over?
  • Okay, class is over.  Hopefully I can put on my swim cap on the first attempt…
  • Which lane should I get in?  A girl who was in the “slow” lane (that’s how the gym marks the lanes…slow, medium, and fast, I’m not being mean!) moved over to the medium.  That guy looks faster than me and he’s about to get in too…guess I’ll get in the slow lane.
  • Counting laps…1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8……………….wait, was that 8?  Or 6?  Did I finish eight laps, or did I think lap eight was coming up?  Alright, I guess we’re swimming for time today…
  • Let’s try to breathe on the right side today.  (Body sinks and I don’t get a good breath of air) – Alright, hopefully just being able to breathe on the left side will be good enough.
  • I feel great!  Maybe I’ll swim for 40 minutes today – solid long swim day!
  • …maybe I should have eaten a bigger breakfast.  I’m hungry.
  • The guy in the next lane has decided to work on his butterfly.  At least these waves simulation open water?  Or race day?
  • Do people do butterfly anymore?
  • Ugh, I’m tried – okay, maybe we’ll do 30 minutes.
  • How long does it take to swim a mile?  Maybe 32 minutes?  Let’s swim 34 minutes just in case.
  • Alright, that guy looks like he’s going to join my lane.  No worries.
  • Wait…why is that guy swimming breaststroke in the middle of the lane??
  • Please don’t kick me please don’t kick me please don’t kick me.
  • 20 minutes down.  Over halfway there, no worries.
  • I need a wetsuit for race day.  Do you practice in that beforehand?  Should I wear it in a pool?  What if I can’t swim in the wetsuit?
  • He’s still swimming in the middle of the lane.  And I just stopped behind him.  This is annoying.
  • 25 minutes down.  26 minutes down.  27 minutes down.  Is time slowing down? 
  • Just keep swimming just keep swimming just keep swimming.
  • Okay, guy swimming in fast lane left.  Time to get away from middle-of-the-lane-breaststroke dude.
  • 30 minutes – home stretch!
  • Watch your form, Susan – don’t get tired now.
  • 31 minutes…32 minutes…33 minutes…
  • DONE!
  • This goggle-smashed-into-my-face look really isn’t all that attractive…

thoughts on the bike

image What I look like on the bike! Just kidding, it’s the female winner of the NYC Tri. aka not me!

  • i hope i don’t get a flat i hope i don’t get a flat i hope i don’t get a flat.
  • Alright, helmet on, Garmin on bike mode, cadence sensor still doesn’t work.  Let’s go.
  • Right foot clipped in, no traffic coming, to the west side we go!
  • First stoplight half a block from my apartment.  Unclip.
  • Green light!  Clip back in.  Should I go over to 5th Ave?  Let’s try going down Park instead.
  • Traffic is moving well.  Stick to the right…WHAT IS THAT CAR DOING??
  • Let’s cut over on 77th St.  Sounds good.
  • Bump bump bump bump bump bump…these roads are the worst.
  • Into Central Park, excellent.  Time to get across the transverse without getting hit by oncoming bikers or horse carriages.
  • Up the hill to the west side! 
  • More stoplights.  No worries.
  • Down the hill to the Hudson River Path.
  • Please keep the dog on your side of the path please keep the dog on your side of the path please keep the dog on your side of the path.
  • Alright, straight ahead for awhile, let’s ride.
  • Ugh, Citibikers.
  • It’s such a nice day to ride!  I could do this forever.
  • Bump bump bump bump.
  • ON YOUR LEFT!!!  Okay, apparently my voice isn’t loud.
  • Oh, they’re biking and wearing headphones and not wearing a helmet.  Stop that.
  • Pedestrian stopped in the middle of the path.  Whyyyyyy?
  • Alright, getting way uptown!  This park is so nice.
  • I hope that toddler doesn’t run across the path…
  • Wow, those guys are cycling fast. Nice calves!
  • I really should come up this way more often.
  • Why are people walking four across in the bike lane??
  • Ahhhhhh, the GW!  You’re so pretty.
  • Time to head back south.
  • It’d be so much easier to ride here if I lived on the west side.  Hmmmm….
  • Bump bump bump bump.
  • Okay, it’s more windy going south.  No worries.
  • Is that women really riding in heels??
  • No, really, why don’t people wear helmets?
  • Gotta get up that hill.
  • Oh…someone is walking their dog down the path and a motorized scooter is going  up the path…maybe I’ll just walk my bike.
  • I hope the bike course for the tri isn’t hilly…
  • Alright, back crosstown.  Clip out, clip in.
  • I’m rocking this clip in shoes…why didn’t I get them sooner?
  • That probably means I’m going to fall soon.
  • Alright, back through the park!
  • Bump bump bump bump.
  • Ah, the First Ave bike lane, hooray!
  • These delivery guys are so quick.
  • Construction in the bike lane…fail.
  • Stoplight stoplight stoplight.
  • Ah, home stretch.
  • That wasn’t so bad.


So many thoughts, it makes miss my blackout zone in running.  However, I definitely need to pay attention more while swimming and biking because I’m not in tune with myself yet.  I’m not sure when that will happen or if it will happen, but at least I keep myself entertained in the meantime.

What are your random thoughts on the swim/bike/run?  Anything similar going on in your head?

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  1. says

    It took me until now — aka, a solid 2.5 years after I started biking — to be able to let my mind wander on a ride. Now I think I actually do better thinking riding than running, but until recently, my thoughts were basically DON’T KILL ME DON’T DIE DON’T KILL ME DON’T DIE.

    All I do in the pool is count.

  2. says

    My far-from-an-expert tri advice:

    1. Count the laps out loud underwater. Push off the wall and yell, “OOOOOOONE!”… “TWWWWWWWO!” You’ll remember more what you hear verses what you just think.

    2. Most tri wetsuits shouldn’t go in a pool. The chemicals break down materials. You should definitely swim in a wetsuit prior to race day, so hopefully you can find an open water swim opportunity. They are constricting (which can be anxiety inducing), but they are so much faster. You feel like you’re swimming downhill.

    3. Don’t be afraid to call some bitches OUT for swimming in the wrong lane at the club. They need to learn.

    Good luck on that crazy bike ride. Honestly, that would stress me out beyond belief. Midwest suburbs and lonely highways FTW. Great job getting it done!

  3. says

    These all sound familiar! (Training for my first triathlon this summer; first time biking and swimming since I was a kid.) I have a *terrible* time keeping track of my laps in the pool – I’m always doing that thing where I question whether I’ve finished 8 laps or am on lap 8.

    And biking is terrifying! If you have any decedent speed (or are going downhill), you’re just as fast as a car! But without the car around you to protect you from thing. I’m getting less nervous each time, but it’s still far from my favorite thing to do.

  4. says

    This is like the best post ever. (And also a good explanation of why I don’t do triathlons.) But since moving to Colorado, it seems that biking is on my “must-do” list according to everyone I know, so I’ll be diving into the clip in stage soon. At least I’ll be able to deal with fewer cars than if I were biking in Manhattan?

  5. says

    To count laps in a pool – some people use a bowl full of pennies (take one out, or put one in, each time you touch the wall). I use elastic bands on my water bottle – every 10 laps is another band, for instance.

    As for the bike thing, now that you’re on day shift, think about riding with a group! it’s totally helped me go from being scared and bored on a 16-mile ride, to riding 30 miles at a pop, no problem.

  6. says

    Totally agree with the swimming…even just 30 minutes can feel sooo long! Biking…I can’t imagine biking in the city, major props. I’m lucky enough to be able to do some zoning out by heading to pretty much traffic-free roads. Down side (or plus side?)is those roads are SO HILLY.

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