A Lovely Week of Training and Not So Lovely Bike Fit Issues

Last week I took a step back on my training after two harried weeks (not that I am in the midst of intense or even real training right now), and I hoped that this week would be better. And it was!

Monday: 5 easy running miles

Not much to say about these miles except that I just ran from my apartment instead of driving to trails, and obviously it was fine. Lesson learned: I need to stop spoiling myself by driving to run.

Tuesday: 1800 meter swim a.m. / 17 mile bike p.m.

Thoughts on the swim: I feel like my re-introduction to swimming period is over, and I ought to start increasing my distance. That’s a goal for next week. As for the bike, I really didn’t want to go ride after work, just because I was being lazy, so I sent a whiney text to Eric, and his response was perfect: “But you love cycling!” Yes, yes I do. Thanks for the reminder.

Wednesday: Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD a.m. / 7 mile run p.m.

I’ve had this yoga DVD for probably two years now, and while I don’t use it that often, I sometimes get curious what level 2 would be like. However, until I can do all the push-ups not on my knees, I think I’ll hang out at level 1.

As for the running, dang it’s hot out at night. When I walked out of my office on Wednesday, the heat was overwhelming. Hopefully I’ll get acclimated, but for now it’s annoying.

Thursday: 1700 meter swim a.m. / 3 mile run p.m.

Yeah I really need to swim further… I was planning on riding with the Luna Chix ladies on Thursday night, but a pretty powerful storm came through in the evening. I realized I could fit in my 17 mile bike loop the next morning, so I swapped my Friday morning run to this evening after the storm passed.

Friday: 17 mile bike a.m.

Riding in the morning on a weekday was new for me, so it was a little sad that I had to go to work after such a lovely hour on the roads. Also, I realized I had this awesome color coordination going on:

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Saturday: 64 mile charity ride

This ride could have its own blog post, though it wasn’t all that dramatic. Basically, I wasn’t really trained for the distance, I rode really fast (for me), and then I was tired the rest of the day.

Sunday: 17 mile bike followed by a 10 minute transition run / lululemon yoga

Can you tell that I have a 17 mile bike route that I like? I’m not creative/don’t care enough to plan out different routes, so I have a stack of cue sheets for routes of varying distances I’ve either copied from Eric’s Map My Ride account (his apartment is only 2 miles from mine so it’s easy to adapt them) or kept from organized rides and modified to start from my apartment. This ride was exciting though because I rode my tri bike! Which I haven’t done in probably a year. Every time I descended a hill while in aero, I was praying a squirrel wouldn’t run out in front of me because I would certainly have crashed.

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The day we picked up our matching P2s. No, we are not proud of the matchy-matchy, but Eric has red pedals and I have silver, so at least there’s that. Also my bike computer is pink.

My tri bike and I do not have a great history. In the fall/winter of 2011, Eric somehow found out that Cervelo was offering a deal where if you bought two Cervelo bikes, you saved $1000 on each. That’s a pretty awesome deal on a bike that was $2800 originally. At the time Eric knew he wanted a tri bike, so he was either going to find someone to share this deal with him or wait until spring and deal with it then. I knew I wanted a tri bike if I were going to do a full Ironman, and I was pretty sure I would at some point do one, so after thinking it over, it was too good of a deal to pass up. The downside was definitely the fact that neither of us tried other bikes, so maybe a different bike would have been better somehow. But based on my totally non-expert opinion, I’m sure I could’ve tried different bikes forever and not been sure. I like to think that as long as you get it fitted well, there isn’t a big difference. (I don’t mean to imply that a more expensive bike wouldn’t feel better – I’m sure it would, but I wouldn’t have considered anything a step above the P2 anyway.)

Anyway, long story short, at the time I was still living in DC, and the deal was only good through the end of January 2012, so we called the local tri store in Cary, NC and asked them to hold a P2 in each of our sizes and made fit appointments for a weekend I would be visiting Durham. The store also offers a % discount on bikes if you’re on their triathlon team, which Eric already was, and they suggested I sign up too. The $75 registration cost was more than offset by the % discount. We went, tried them out, got fitted, and drove away with our new toys! My excitement was short-lived, however.

This was the January after I’d hurt myself at the Philly marathon in November, so I wasn’t running at the time, but still planned to run Boston in April and was registered (or would soon be registered, I forget the timeline) for the inaugural Ironman 70.3 at National Harbor near DC as well as an international distance triathlon also in DC. As my friends and loyal readers (ha) know, I didn’t heal and didn’t run Boston. I did get super lucky (or everyone else in the DC area got super unlucky) and both the DC (and expensive!) races I signed up for were cancelled so I got all my monies back (woo!). As a result of not having any triathlons to train for but having a week-long bicycling trip in Alaska to train for, I spent the year riding my road bike. I think I rode my tri bike twice that summer. Maybe three times but I doubt it. One reason was that I needed to log time on my road bike in preparation for Alaska, and another reason is that the tri bike is scary! It’s hard to balance and steer when you’re in aero, and your hands are not near the brakes.

But the biggest reason is that while my road bike saddle is not something I would choose to sit on forever and always, it’s a discomfort that I’m used to and that I know gets better with more time in the saddle, but the saddle on my tri bike? Holy cow it’s painful. After about 30 minutes I can’t stand to be in aero and I just want to cry. Whereas the road bike saddle puts pressure on your sit bones, the tri saddle puts pressure on a very delicate area, to be precise, and I hate it. So I was content to not touch my pretty new bike, and it collected dust for a year.

Which brings us to today. I have until October to get super buddy-buddy with this bike for my 70.3 (that I haven’t signed up for yet). I’m still planning to do my longer rides on my road bike for now, but I clearly have to get over my fears and discomfort on my tri bike. My plan is to do shorter rides on Sundays and build up. And figure out the saddle issues. Today I rode my 17 mile loop, and at first things seemed fine. I definitely have to get out of aero when a car is about to pass me because I don’t trust my control, but the seat seemed okay. And then 30 minutes or so had passed and I was miserable and in so much pain. I know people have to get used to saddles and whatnot, but I couldn’t help but wonder how much discomfort is normal. This is not pain that Butt Butter is going to address. So this afternoon I did what any wise person would do and I asked the Google. Turns out there are many forum discussions about ladies and saddle pain! Hurrah I am not alone! The consensus I gleaned was that discomfort is just something you have to get used to, but pain is not. I wrote down the names of several saddles women recommended. All of them have cut outs in the center so the pressure is placed on your sit bones instead of between them. Surprise.

Now I have a bike fit appointment next Saturday at the same tri store where I originally bought my bike. I’m planning to go early, talk to the staff about different saddles, pray that there is a woman working who can be more precise/helpful than a bunch of dudes would be, and then test a few out and hopefully find the right one. I will admit I’m a little frustrated with myself for not insisting on a women’s specific saddle when I bought the bike, but I asked the sales/fit guy at the time and he said it was a unisex saddle. Lies. Saddles are not cheap, and a bike fit is also not cheap, but I’m really hoping that even though I bought the bike a year and half ago, I can talk them into letting this be my “complimentary follow up fitting.” I am pretty sure that it will be obvious I have not put many miles on it, so they should believe me when I say that I haven’t ridden it because the saddle makes me want to never ride it again. I really really want to love this bike as much as I love my road bike. Fingers crossed!

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