Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Am A Big (Self-Defeated) Chicken

By Friday, I was really grumpy from taking so much time off for my knee and rib. I decided to do something; if coughing and sneezing hurt my ribs, how much worse could a run and bike be? I got on the trainer. Then, I jumped on the treadmill. I was planning on going 4 miles, but I stopped after 3.25 after the knee pain started up. Ugh. This is so frustrating. At least I got a good workout in. Endurance-wise, I felt fine. This morning, my knee felt fine, which is a good sign. My ribs actually feel a bit better today too.

When I was getting a rack for the back of my commuter bike at the local bike shop on Friday, I was invited to go on their Saturday "C" ride with the San Diego Bike Club. One of the people was a female triathlete so I was encouraged. Plus, the ride started from the shop, which was an easy 1 mile ride from the apartment. So last night, I froze a water bottle, lay out my clothes, cleaned my bike, lubed my chain, and pumped up the tires. I was pumped.

Then, the alarm went off at 6:30, and I totally flaked. First off, I was totally exhausted from the workout the night before and was sleeping hard. Second, there had been a steady rain all night, and the sky was overcast with continuing drizzle.

However, it wasn't that bad but it all started mounting up. The real reason? I chickened out. The ride was going to be paceline-style, which I've never done before and am totally intimidated by. The ride I was planning on doing was supposed to be for beginners like me with a group leader who would coach me through it. But that intimdated me too. I just wanted to ride. I didn't want to have to think about everyone else too. Plus, for triathlon, we can't draft, so how is it applicable? I know, I know--bike handling skills, you can go farther and faster off a draft and still get a great workout. But I just freaked out. They had handed me this little sheet with their ride guidelines. Their "easy" C ride was still going 35 miles at 15-18 mph. I probably could do it, but I normally have been going 20-25 miles by myself. I can go about 16-17 mph on the flat, but up hills? Nope. Usually, I end up averaging about 14 mph. Plus, with my injured rib, I was worried I would get out there, and make it worse.

I could see it now--I would be holding everyone back. Because it was a beginner ride, they wouldn't drop me; they would wait for me, which is worse. I'd be like drop me, drop me, please; it's okay. They would be glaring back at me, whispering to each other, "Who invited her?" Then they would yell out, "Just pedal faster! C'mon!" I would be humilated, come home crying, and never ride again. Maybe I'm exaggerating but a combination of total social anxiety kept me home. I've never been good at team sports.

In the end, I should have packed the bike on the back of the car and trekked up to Solana Beach to go on a more beginner-friendly, non-draft style 18 mile bike ride with the Triathlon Club. Again, I was worried about the ribs. Sigh. I looked into some of the more "relaxing" touring-style riding clubs in the area. They think a social ride is 45 miles. Hello! Why can't someone do a fun group ride for 20-25 miles at about 14 mph? Why is that so wrong. I feel very self-defeated.

To make matters worse, the running "specialists" at Movin' Shoes totally ripped apart my running form today. I went over there to get their advice on my knee and make sure my shoes fit. All in all, they were pretty helpful, and I feel much more confident that I'm wearing the right shoes and on the road to recovery (recovery is just slow). However, after I tried on some shoes, and ran around the parking lot under their scrutiny, they critiqued my form. They were trying to be helpful, but I think it made it worse. I feel like I can't run now--the easiest, most natural thing in the world. "Your upper body is too stiff. Your calves are too tight. You don't bend your knees enough. You don't swing your shoulders enough." Ack! I had no idea. How do I fix those things? It's bad enough I can't just go out and run without thinking about how soft the terrain will be and then do all the stretching I need to do; now I need to think about how I run. This is going to give me a stitch for sure. I just want to run! That's the beauty of it--it's mental zone-out time. So I came home with my new shoes and instead of going on a ride or a run, I just flopped onto the sofa, feeling completely incompetent. Sigh. I thought this was supposed to be fun and boost my self-confidence.


bunnygirl said...

Oh, don't pay too much attention to people who critique your form! If your running feels natural to you, it's probably fine. The only thing that should worry you is if you tend to land on one side harder than the other, which would be indicative of an imbalance of some kind. Beyond that, my experience has been that everyone's got an opinion and you can't listen to them all.

You're the expert on your body. Not them.

Habeela said...

Well you get points for intending to go. Now the next step is to go regardless of the fear. Hello...swimming instructor speaking here who got put in the SLOW LANE her first day out with the triathletes...but by showing up I found out they were only interested in doing one thing...encouraging me. And I had avoided going for months because my own ego was embarrassed. Get up and go next time...I think you'll find they're much more encouraging than you think and if they're not...tell them where to shove it!

Cliff said...


hmm...u know..if u don't enjoy riding with that group..don't. Funny thing. I remember when I got into riding. It was my second time i rode on a road bike. The first time I rode with clipless pedals.

Me and my friend decided to go with some local bike group. They are doing a 180 km loop with climbs. Yeah, it was quite embrassing. We were only going 25 kph and I had a hard time keeping up. They have to stop two times to wait for me.

They didn't give me a hard time or anything. I jsut apologize for can't keep up with them.

That's the great thing about our sports. We can ride with others (social) and we can ride by ourselves (solo). I like a mix of both.

If u are really slowing them down (which i doubt u will), then just say.."I am going to go ride on my own..u guys don't have to wait for me".

There are some hardcore cyclist where i live training for IM. I don't know how i am going to keep up with them especially going up hills that i climbed yesterday. I figure..i will go for an hour ro so with them..if i can't keep up with the pace...i will go my own ways..os they can get their training done and i can get mine.

There is nothing bad with doing something on your own..

and take care of that rib :)

Tammy said...

Ok, take a deep breath. Forgive yourself because it's ok to feel this way sometimes. Trying new things can be intimidating, especially when you are injured / not feeling yourself.

Regarding the bike shop ride, I find it highly unlikely that a "C" group would average anywhere near 18mph. C groups are usually 12-14mph average w/hills. At least that's been my coaching experience.

So, deep breath, heal your bod, then... go give it a try. At least once. Twice if you like it :)

Rachel said...

thanks for all the support! I've decided to try (tri) again next weekend!