I will admit to watching at least two episodes of the TV show Glee in my lifetime (but no more than that) and I was quite taken by their ‘mash-up’ songs. Probably because a mash-up sounds so fun and well, gleeful. Plus it makes me think of mashed potato which is the sixth main food-group in my own personal non-Government-endorsed eating pyramid (which looks more like a cylinder and also consists of vegetables, Chobani yoghurt, protein, porridge and sugar. Maybe I will draw it and blog it one day)
And so it is with some excitement that today I bring you my first triathlon mash-up; that is, the first combination of two of the three sports I am attempting, mashed together into one glorious mess. I hadn’t been able to ride my new Merida bike every day as I’d originally hoped, because the first few mornings the roads were wet from some early summer thunderstorms that struck overnight and in the evenings in Queensland it gets dark by 7pm. As clearly demonstrated by my wobbly first ride last Sunday, I am not in a position to be going out riding on wet or dark roads.
So for three days I’d only been able to stare longingly at my bike through the window.
When eventually I woke to a morning of blue skies and roads dry enough that I wasn’t guaranteed to skid straight off, I grabbed the bike pump and set about pumping up my skinny tyres. The Other Lauren at the bike shop had already warned me that my tyres would need a pump up before almost every ride, so I wanted to get in the habit of this. Having never pumped a tyre in my life I figured that this presented a classic opportunity to ‘fake it til I make it’ so I undid the little dust cap (the name of which had been taught to me by The Other Lauren) and stuck the end of the pumpy tube thing over it.
I pumped until the gauge read 108 (I’d been directed that it should be between 100 and 110) and put everything back together. Matilda looked on impressed.
I had a gym session planned with Shane so I decided to simply ride down to the gym (only 5.5km away) to do my cardio session on the elliptical trainer before cycling home again.
Climbing onto my bike, I found that my bottom was still quite sore from the first ride I’d done. Not only had a few days passed since then, but that ride was only 6km long! Sooner or later it seems I may have to admit that The Other Lauren has won the dare and get myself some padded shorts. Another item for the shopping list.
I set off and turned right at the end of our street in order to avoid the busiest road leading to the gym. I didn’t attempt to signal and sent an imaginary sorry note to my mum. When I ran out of back roads, I slipped onto the path and stayed on that for about a kilometre, which allowed me to bypass a dual lane road as well as a busy roundabout.
The downside of cycling on the path is that you’re not part of the traffic, so when there is a road to cross you can’t just zoom past it. I had to unclip my pedals about 4 times to give cars the right of way, but it was good practice for quick unclipping. And the upside of being on the path is that you don’t get run over.
The gym we go to has a 1.5km long winding driveway and I got back onto the road to practice my turning skills on the twists of the bitumen. I felt like I did well at the turns, but for some reason by the time I got to the end I had three cars lined up behind me who wouldn’t overtake, so perhaps I looked more precarious than I thought.
Arriving at the car park, I spotted where Shane had left our car and headed over to collect my gym bag from the passenger seat. I took the opportunity to duck down and hide from the drivers of the cars that had been stuck behind me, just in case any of them were about to shout at me for taking the corners too wide or having a stupid cheap helmet or something. When the coast was clear, I cycled up to the front entry of the center and graciously dismounted at the reception desk, where I was disappointed to find absolutely none of my friends or even acquaintances were on duty. I swiped my membership card and pushed my bike through the gates, clip clopping along in my fancy shoes unnoticed.
I walked past the gym towards the bike rack and tried to spy out of the corner of my eyes whether anyone was watching the flashy bike being paraded past the windows. I felt myself start to swagger as my pride got the better of me. I propped my bike in the rack and strutted back to the gym door, where I only just managed to stop myself from pausing, hands on hips, to soak up the admiration I imagined everyone inside was about to shower upon the owner of the beautiful bike and shoes.
Instead I found a chair and tried to sit down with my puffed out chest getting in the way. I delighted in releasing the special ties on my cycling shoes and putting on my running shoes, like the multi-sport athlete I am pretending to be.
Shane was already on the treadmill, so in a last minute change of plan I decided to have a run on the treadmill next to him so that he could perhaps tell me how cool I looked as a cyclist. I decided I’d just try a short run followed by a brisk walk, because I hadn’t rested enough since my headache-inducing 5km triumph to be trying to run long distances in my new perfect form.
Presumably Shane was engrossed in his own thoughts because he neglected to comment on my impressive pimp-walk past the window.
I set the treadmill to 10km an hour and broke into a very wobbly run. Ah yes, I thought, I’ve read about this. It’s trickier than you’d think to break into a decent run after a bike ride – it’s actually a special type of triathlon workout called Bricks, which I have scheduled to start training for in December. In Bricks, you cycle hard for a short distance, jump off, swap your shoes over and try to run. Well, bring it on I thought, let’s mash this cycling and running thing together now and show Bricks who is boss.
After 100 metres on the treadmill, I looked down to double check that I did have both of my legs still attached to me. It felt like I must have left them over on the bike. They didn’t feel heavy or anything like that – it was honestly like they weren’t there. I was conscious of maintaining my good running form but apart from swinging my arms and keeping my forward lean through my torso, I was just hoping for the best with my legs because I couldn’t really control them.
I stumbled on for a few minutes, feeling considerably less pleased with myself and struggling to get comfortable. I tried slowing down to a more leisurely 9km/hr pace but I couldn’t even run in a straight line, I was all over the treadmill and kicking myself in the shins. To an onlooker I probably appeared drunk.
I didn’t even make it to one whole kilometre before I pressed the button to slow down the treadmill to a walk. My mash-up definitely needs work, but it probably doesn’t help that my two main ingredients weren’t quite right by themselves either. I’m pretty sure I never saw the cast of Glee mashing together two songs that were unfinished and nobody had heard of. And I would never make mash out of baby potatoes (too waxy) and un-churned butter (what would that be, milk?)
So, I won’t beat myself up about a disappointing mash made with crappy ingredients. I probably shouldn’t have attempted it, but I did and once again the only direction is improvement.
I am not the boss of Bricks. But I am coming for you, B-man.