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?


08 2014

on running in texas

In April, I posted about running in Florida when Eric and I headed south to visit his dad/attend a wedding.  This past weekend, we headed south again.  This time, our travels took us to Grapevine, Texas (just outside Dallas) to visit his mom and family.  I packed my running clothes because I’m in full on “OMG this triathlon training thing isn’t going so well so I better at least run while we’re there…” mode.  In case you weren’t aware, it is summer, especially in Texas, and Texas brings the heat.

So.  Much.  Heat.

The high was around 100 for just about every day we were there, and my mother kindly pointed out on Friday that the only place hotter in the world at the moment was Iraq.  So that’s cool.  Or hot.  You know what I mean.  I tried to get out a little on the earlier side, but you must remember that I worked six night shifts in a row before heading to Texas, so my version of “earlier” was anywhere from 7:30-9am. 

photo 1 (14) Look!  The sun was coming up!

At least it wasn’t noon, but the heat was already coming in at that time…not that it ever really went away.  Eric’s mom lives by Grapevine Lake and this lovely (paved) trail that was convenient for running and not getting lost. 

photo 2 (18) The trail.  I’d call it a path.

I ran the three days we were there, and it was rough.  Things to note:


The air just felt so thick and without a breeze, it’s just stifling.  Even stopping in the shade, which I did many times, offered no relief.  I was easily covered in sweat from head to toe.  At one point, I stopped to use a bathroom along the way, which was even hotter on the inside.  Only when I came out did I feel momentarily cooler…but I still had sweat beads rolling down every part of my body.  It didn’t help that although the trail was lined with trees, it wasn’t really shaded.  The sun is hot.

what’s with all the black??

The trail was never too busy, and I definitely saw more people walking or biking rather than running.  (Maybe the runners were smart and got out early early?)  However, so many of the runners that I passed were wearing all black.  Black shorts, black shirt/tank top.  I felt even hotter just looking at them.  Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d think to wear lighter colored clothing for a smidgen of relief.  And yes, some people were running in those black capris that I mention every now and then.  If you want to be hot in 80 degrees wearing them…okay, fine.  But 90+?  Reaching 100?  Oof, my friends.

hot water

I carried my Camelbak Arc Quik Grip water bottle with me, which carries 10 ounces of water – small enough that I don’t get annoyed carrying it and large enough to get me from water fountain to water fountain.  Although I filled it up with cool water, it warmed up quick.  I got excited when I came across my first water fountain, hoping for some cold water.  NOPE.  It was warm and highly disappointing.  The twitter runners of the world mentioned that some people carrying frozen handheld water bottles.  This would have been a much better option.

friendly people

Most people I passed, whether they were running, walking, or biking, gave a nod or “hello!” or “good morning!” when passing.  Perhaps I’m just used to the unfriendliness of NYC, but it’s nice when people say hi.  Sometimes I felt like I barely had the energy to say hello back, but other times I found myself initiating the hello.

slowing down is the way to go

My first run was definitely run – I barely managed an 8:05 pace and felt like a slug.  (It probably didn’t help that I was running on little sleep after completely flipping my schedule and traveling.)  For the next couple runs, I made a conscious effort to slow down the pace and averaged about 8:20-8:25 instead.  I felt better mentally when I didn’t get worked up about the pace, and I know that the heat slows you down anyway.  Just getting through the runs was good enough for me.

i don’t know how you southern runners do it

Sara recently moved to Mississippi and told me how the heat/humidity is awful.  While it sounded bad, experiencing it made it much more real!  I really can’t imagine running in that for months each year.  I know we complain about the long, cold winter up north, but I really think it is better than the super heat.  At least you warm up once you get going, unlike the heat where you can never cool off.  (Side note:  I was told not to call Texas “the South” because they are their own entity.  Alright then.)

gravevine loves to tell people they’re in grapevine

Perhaps this goes with the “Texas is not the South” situation, but I swear I saw eight million signs telling me that I was in Grapevine.  The entrance to the trail, random markers on the trail, the water tower (I’ll give that one a pass), every single gate at the park I came across.  I certainly was never confused about where I was!

the heat

Did I mention that it was hott?  Oof.  New York feels like a cool front now.  But seriously, props to you runners in the southern region of the country, that was mighty rough.

How hot is it where you’re running?  How do you survive this heat?

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08 2014