It's time to vent again about my Ironman training. This morning I went on my last long ride with my training group. We rode 79 miles, and over half of that I did by myself because my group decided to push the pace and totally left me behind. It's so extremely frustrating to see the people you're riding with getting further and further ahead of you. Granted, they did stop and wait for me wherever there was a question of which way to turn, but still, it was very frustrating. Sometimes I question my decision to train with this group, and also my ability to pull this Ironman off. (Getting dropped so often deals a major blow to my confidence.) I don't know why I thought I could ride with these people. There are 4 girls total in the group, and two of them don't count because they can blow away a lot of guys. One, in fact, is trying to do this Ironman fast enough to qualify for the Ironman Championship in Hawaii in October. (That's the race you see on NBC in the fall, if you've ever caught that. It's epitome of everything for Ironman triathletes. I'll NEVER be able to qualify.) The rest of the group are guys, and all of them are really strong. What happens a lot of the time in this group is someone decides that they want to ride hard and pick the pace up, and the rest of the group can't let them go, so they ride hard to keep up. I don't/can't do that, so I get left behind. Another girl in the group gets left behind a lot as well, but for some reason people help her more than they help me. (My husband says that's because they know she's weak and whiny and I'm strong, so I don't need to be babied. Yes, she is whiny, and yes, I am strong, but I still would like the help every once in a while.) Today, for instance, 2 guys dropped back while this particular girl was behind me and let her draft off of them (drafting is when you ride directly behind someone and use them for wind resistance - it makes riding fast very effortless - it's also illegal to do in triathlons) until they caught up to the group. She was able to get just enough ahead of me that I couldn't catch up with her, then she started drafting off a couple of other people who had somewhat dropped back, so they slowly rode off into the sunset (sunrise, actually - we start riding at 6am, and this happened about 830). I was totally by myself for a very long time, and it pissed me off so badly that I was in the foulest mood when I rode up to the group, who were all stopped, waiting on me. I acted like a total baby and didn't really say anything to anyone, just kept going. I finally started bitching about it to a couple of guys, and then I felt horrible. I then got dropped AGAIN and caught up with everyone at this little store we stop and rest/pee/eat at. By then I was in a better mood, and my getting dropped so much and cussing about it turned into a joke. The rest of the way home I was determined not to let it happen again, so I had to bust my butt to stay up with everyone. (Busting your butt during Ironman training is just plain silly, b/c Ironman is all about endurance and not really about speed. Keep in mind that Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike followed by a 26.2 mile run. It's going to take me 13-15 hours - hopefully not more than that - to do this. The longest athletic event I've done was a 12-hour run, so I'll be going longer than I ever have.) I drafted a lot, which I'm not happy about b/c I won't be able to draft during Ironman, but I didn't want to get dropped. While doing my "forced solo training", I was trying to talk myself out of the foul mood. "I'm not drafting, and other people are, so I'll do better in Ironman," "They're a bunch of guys, so naturally I can't keep up with them," "I'm doing a whole lot better than I ever thought I would," "I'm the smallest person out here, so it makes sense that I can't go as fast" ... everything I could think of. When we got back to our cars, I checked my bike computer and saw that my average speed was much faster than it has been all summer. I'm happy with that, but that also explains part of the problem. These stupid boys get out there and try to prove who has the biggest penis. So irritating. The thing I feel the worst about is my acting like such a baby. I'm not a baby, and I don't want people to think I am and to not want to ride with me anymore. It doesn't sound like it with this post, but I have had a lot of fun this summer training with these people and I've made some great friends and I'm already starting to get depressed about this whole thing being over. I guess everyone just has bad days. I didn't really have a totally bad day b/c physically I did fine; I just acted really stupid. I could email the training group and apologize for my behavior, but I think that would just sound whiny, so I'm going to let it be and hope people forget about it. I did perk up at the end, so at least I ended on a good note.
I'm going to dinner Monday night with the top female triathlete in Nashville and we're going to pig out on sushi. We both are major eaters, so we're really going to put the sushi chef to work! Maybe during dinner she'll let me pick her brain about things I can do to improve. Then next year - WATCH OUT!!!