Well, as promised I am settled at an RV park near Houston and the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is underway. Pin Oak is an interesting show since there is a wide variety of horses showing under one roof. I am so used to looking at sport horses that I forget sometimes that there are many other types that people find appealing. I find them interesting but it is a little difficult not to judge them based on what I consider to be desirable traits, which is anything but fair. It would be like holding a power lifter to the physical standards considered desirable by marathoners. It would not only be unfair but counterproductive in determining who might show talent.
It brings me to the question of triathlon and this waddling duck. I did two things today (note: none of them were sleeping but that is another matter). I test rode a triathlon bike and I did my run. I hadn't really considered buying a bike terribly soon, at this point it's supposed to be more about finding out what fits and what I like. Then I can buy a new bike when it is financially appropriate, but......
.....The bike was an eye opener. I always knew that my bike was less than adequate but this thing handled like liquid lightning. I am going to test ride several other types with varying geometry before I make any decisions but one thing was apparent, there is such a thing as riding without pain. I have been in pain for every ride I have ever done. The longer the ride, the greater the pain. I rode this thing briefly, though they told me I could take it for a long ride next Monday, but the fit was like nothing I have ever felt. The geometry of the bike seemed to channel all of my power and at no point did I feel like I was fighting my position. In fact, I felt totally comfortable and relaxed up there... and free of tension and pain. This creates a little bit of a dilemma in that I now know that cycling doesn't have to hurt. This pushes the new bike WAAAY up the priority list, so far in fact that I was doing the math on a layaway while driving home.
...That then I did my run. At the request of DW (in an effort to curb my mounting frustration and obsessive personality), I have switched my watch to only display time and not pace or heart rate. Lately, I have been increasingly more frustrated with run paces that have gotten progressively slower. I know I have been really fatigued and the sleep deprivation is probably the biggest culprit here, along with the slight weight gain that it has caused, but tonight's run was slower than my (totally pathetic, run/walked, after a night of braiding in the middle of the season on ZERO sleep) half-marathon average. I'm talking a pace approaching three minutes per mile slower than a few weeks ago. I don't even know what to say. I felt fine on the run, though I was tired beforehand and it took some serious motivating to start. I never felt like I was slacking off, more like being in a time warp. It is frustrating and demoralizing. I saw that pace, the kind of pace I would run for a similar amount of time when I first began running, and honestly the first though was "this is hopeless" and my next thought was "there is NO POINT in buying a nice bike if you are just going to disgrace yourself on the run". Then (and now) I just wanted to cry.
This gives way to thought processes like "maybe I should just take up cycling" or perhaps I should do a period of focused weight loss where I sacrifice my performance and training for the sake of weight (except that I know my body and I know how well that would work). My diet is under control and the weight is slowly coming off when I get adequate sleep.
Then I get back to the subject of all the different horses at Pin Oak. Maybe I need to face the fact that I am not built to be an endurance athlete. When the job required a lot of fast twitch muscle fiber, the way martial arts did, I was predisposed to being very good at it. Now that the job requires a lot of slow twitch muscle fiber, I feel like a duck out of water. I have read that with time and careful training the ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch fibers can shift in either direction. However, I am not sure anyone told that to my my fast twitch gaggle.
I can handle being the underdog, being bad at something for a period and struggling to overcome. Those are all concepts with which Hollywood made sure we were all well acquainted. I am willing to be patient but wow... I feel like I am making NO PROGRESS!! I don't hate running but I hate being bad at running. I hate going out there week after week, month after month (and at this point year after year) and feeling like none of the hard work is making a difference. At the end of the day, I need some results no matter how small. Instead, without fail, the more I run, the worse I get. The only way to get a boost in speed is to take 6 months off to recuperate from an injury.
I have faith that I will hear from DW tomorrow and that he will say something that makes sense but right now, sitting here tonight, I am trying to reason through this frustration. I am tired and I'm running aground of My Rules of Life Changing Decisions #1: No life changing decisions when you are tired. I won't let this turn into quitting. Not tonight anyhow. But right now, honestly, that rule and the medal hanging on a hook by the window are the only things that are stopping me.
I have heard of 'fake it till you make it' and truly believe in the principle, as well as the ideas of visualization. But right now, they don't seem like enough. I am worried that what I call visualization, mental health professional call delusion. It suddenly seems silly to be in the market for a tri bike when it might be more prudent to wait and see if I don't actually need a road bike for crits or century rides or perhaps a stationary bike for my living room.
By the way, I know this is a pity party. I threw the d*mn thing!