How to Date and Train with Someone Who's Faster:
...without getting left in the dust...
I guess by the time this gets posted on Rachel’s Blog I may be single again but here is my take on the situation:
Having a significant other who also does triathlon is absolutely wonderful! She just “gets me”. She understands the ups and downs of training and racing, and it’s great to be with someone who shares the same passion! We push each other in the pool, in the ocean, on the bike, the weight room, and certainly on the track. We spend hours talking about equipment, training techniques, and who’s who in the triathlon world. And I know that if I start missing workouts (I am training for Ironman AZ on 11/23/08), she will get on my case and keep me in line. I mean, sometimes things just come up that you can’t avoid that could make you miss a workout…like happy hour.
So you're probably wondering……..who’s faster??? We’ll that depends. We’re about the same in the pool, I’m a better cycling, and she’s a better runner.
So what happens when we “train together”???
Here’s the scoop:
We swim about the same pace. So we usually carpool together to our early morning Master’s swim class, swim in the same lane, and if we have time grab breakfast afterwards. Sure there is some jealousy when one of us is stronger on a certain day, but no big deal. (I’m just going to throw this in there. Thank God for the Breast Stroke. Guys, you know what I mean! Who needs coffee in the morning to wake up? Totally Awesome!)
OK, she can smoke me and I know it. In the Aquathlons (1k swim/5k run), she always passes me on the run. But I don’t really care. OK, maybe a little because of the smirk on her face when she passes me like a little girl that just took the last piece of chocolate out of her little sister’s Halloween bag. And honestly the view from behind when she runs ahead of me makes me want to stop and wait for her to run by anyway.
We do actually run together a few times during the week. Sometimes she just takes off and makes me wonder why the fuck I drove all the way over to her office to run on the nearby trails. But then she will circle back and everything is fine. Then on Sunday’s we usually do a longer group run (up to 12 miles now! Yippee!); she can take off at a faster pace and I still have someone to run with.
During the week we usually will ride together once or twice for a quick but laid back 20 miles or so. We usually just hang out and talk and every now and then I’ll try my best to impress her by riding a little faster. OK, maybe a lot of the time I go faster. But we always re-group shortly after I break away. Yes, I am trying to get a workout in too.
Then on Saturday, Rachel will usually organize a group ride. And yes, she puts a lot of effort in to the ride by planning the route and printing out route sheets and I’m really grateful for her effort. I TRY my best to hold back on the group rides (Usually 60 – 80 miles) but when other riders take off I just can’t hold back. I have to go fast! I mean, come on! This is the only event that I’m halfway good at! This is where the trouble starts. I think she wants me to hold back and just ride with her the whole time. But I REALLY enjoy going fast and challenging myself. Plus I am training for Ironman Arizona and need to work on decent pace for long periods of time.
Yes, I’ve gotten yelled at a few times on the bike rides. To where it’s almost embarrassing. In fact she told me a few weeks ago she didn’t want me to come on her rides anymore! Now it even seems like other riders try to instigate a fight on the ride for entertainment. This needs to stop!
1. Quit training together.
(not really an option)
2. Find another girlfriend that does triathlon but can’t speak English.
3. Let her draft off me the whole bike ride.
4. Tie a Bungee cord to the back of my bike.
5. Buy a beach cruiser to ride on the Saturday rides.
(Does Cervelo make a Beach Cruiser??? The “P3B”??? You know, the kind with the pink bell and streamers. SWEET!!!)
6. Compromise and just ride the first half the Saturday ride with her and then ride with the faster group afterwards.
So I've been dating this guy (surprise, surprise). Turns out he's just as crazy about triathlon as I am. It's great. Fantastic. We train for the same races, frequent the same tri-geek social events, go to masters swim classes together (at 6 in the g-d morning), bike together, run together...you get the picture. Are you gagging yet?
Everything was on cloud-9 until I noticed the tone of my Saturday bike rides had shifted. Mainly, I would get insanely pissed off at the poor guy on every ride. Of course, my fury would build and build because I couldn't ride fast enough to catch him and yell at him. What happened to "Miss Independence"? I had been reduced to a needy, whining, helpless princess...the antithesis of everything I stand for. ICK! At the end of the ride, when we would all regroup, I would unleash my wrath on my bewildered, unsuspecting beau...much to the amused delight of all the other riders. What on earth was going on here?
First off, he's a stronger cyclist than I am. Fact. And I'm okay with that. I don't have such a fragile ego that I can't handle dating someone who is faster than me. That's ridiculous. Besides, I'm still faster on the run so it all pans out. I'm not humiliated when he smokes me on the bike at his easy-breezy pace of 25 mph, and I don't have a prayer of hanging on (okay, maybe a little but I can deal). I know how to handle myself on the bike; I certainly don't need a babysitter. And the last thing I want to do is hold someone back on my behalf; that would just make me feel S.L.O.W.E.R. Please! Go on! Go on! Leave me to ride behind at my embrarrassingly slow pace by myself where no one can see.
However....(c'mon you knew it was coming), when he makes a big stink about how we're going to ride TOGETHER and "bond" on the entire car trip to the bike start and then promptly drops me in the first few miles, I get a little PISSED OFF!!! To compound the matter, I have 4-6 hours of solitary riding on the bike before I can meet back up with him, and tell him what's on my mind. That's 4 to 6 hours of me doing nothing but thinking about how angry I am. When some people get angry, they wait 10 minutes to calm down before discussing their issues rationally. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for me. I stew. For 4 to 6 hours. I could melt steel with that kind of rage. No wonder he's riding ahead so fast! I guess I'd be hauling ass too! Dark be the day that I finally do catch him.
Girls who get "left behind" also appreciate a chivalrous text every now and then from their guy riding ahead. It makes it seem like the guy cares about her well-being and would like to be informed if she's been taken out by a drunken motorist and is lying maimed and bleeding in a ditch on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
In the end, I just want to spend a little time together. Our long rides take a big chunk out of our Saturdays, and I experience so many incredible things. It seems a shame not to share them, especially when we're on the same f*#%ng ride.
After one particularly bad ride where I considered excommunicating him from all future rides, we finally hashed it out. How can we both get in a good workout and yet still spend time together during rides? Turns out, after talking to many of my tri-girlfriends, our feud is commonly shared by many active couples. Then, I happened upon the May issue of Runner's World, featuring a whole piece on "Love and Running". In it, they discuss how to share time together, yet still get a good workout in when one person is faster than the other. Ring a bell?
"Even if you prefer to run separately, make time to run together sometimes. Running lowers your barriers and puts you in your comfort zone, which allows you to say things you wouldn't necessarily share otherwise."
--Christian and Deena Johnson Hicks; Runner's World, May, 2008
1. Get faster.
Would be the simplest solution but in reality, much harder than it looks on paper. Believe me; I've been trying.
2. Get slower.
Not really fair to the person trying to improve their bike split.
3. Don't ride together.
Doesn't really solve the "let's spend time together" issue.
4. Ride together some of the time and separately at other times.
Hmmm. Compro-what? We may have hit upon something here. Ride together sometimes, separately other times, or a little mix of both. This may just be crazy enough to work!
5. Discuss your plan for the ride beforehand.
Make sure both of you are on the same page.
We decided on #s 4&5. For our next long ride, we agreed to ride together for the first part of the ride and then he would ride on with his bad-self, and I would meet up with him at the end. (Plus, he texted me a few times during the ride...extra bonus points!) The ride was awesome. I got to ride with him a bit, ride with everyone else a bit, enjoy the sights, we both got in a great workout, and no one got hurt or angry. If only every problem in life were that easy to solve.