Confession time: I have been unfaithful. I have been disloyal. Something shiny and new caught my eye and led me astray. I’d been flirting for a while and I suppose it was just a matter of time before I gave in to the temptation. So I took the plunge. And I liked it! It was dangerous and exciting and scary and thrilling all at once.
Yes, I cheated on my beloved running with cycling. Not just once, but over and over with no intention of stopping. Running will always be my first love, but this affair with cycling has turned me into a fast girl. I refuse to choose. I want them both in my life. Once I find a way for them to exist in harmony, and not in competition with each other, I think they will complement each other well. And at that time, I will ceremoniously join them in a public spectacle where everyone can see what I have been doing. Ah yes, duathlon beckons.
So where did this love affair begin? Well, it might be time for another confession: it had something to do with the Lululemon cycling line last summer. I was instantly attracted to it as if it were calling my name each time I went into the store (my mothership). “But no”, I would think, “I need to stay in the running section. I am a runner!”. However, the clothing wanted me to wear it. One of my favourite running skirts to this day is the one I bought from the cycling line last year. I also got a shirt and a jacket too. Plus another skirt. They were versatile enough to use for running, of course. But with clothes this cute, the world of cycling was officially on my radar! (Would you guess this is a cycling skirt?)
Then, last August, I was out on a long run one Sunday morning and accidentally found myself in the middle of the K-Town Tri. Oops. So I ran with the runners and then continued to run with the cyclists. And lo and behold, I saw some of the fab Lululemon gear I had been coveting in action! And it looked divine. I guess I filed that little tidbit into the recesses of my mind and continued on with my running. But I mentioned it. To a few people. A few times, I have since been reminded.
Last month, one of my running idols, Dimity McDowell of Another Mother Runner, finished an Ironman. I’d been reading and hearing about her training for months – training that involved swimming, biking and running. Through her, I discovered a new inspiration, Swim Bike Mom, an “every woman” who just completed the same Ironman. Bought her book. Read all about triathlon, not with illusions of doing one but because it’s a great story about how sport can change your life. But the cycling section…hmmmm. Found myself re-reading. A few times.
And earlier this month, we went to the Sydenham Race Weekend for the 2K Family Run where triathlon and duathlon events were also taking place. By the time I showed up here, I was closely checking out the transition areas and the bikes, then watching in complete awe and excitement as the cyclists took off on their races. Princess Alana saw the look in my eye and said “Uh-oh…”. But after a moment, she added, “Well, you’ve been flirting with it long enough…I suppose it’s just a matter of time.”
She was right. That race was on a Sunday and on Monday night I was out test riding bikes. I knew I was in a little over my head when the suggestion of actually riding the bike seemed ridiculously scary. You mean I can’t just sit on it and buy it and figure it out later? Before I knew it, I was on a bike in a helmet whizzing around a parking lot! And when I say “whizzing”, I mean slowly riding with my hand on the brake at all times and trying very hard not to fall. But never mind the details! I was doing it, taking a brave step into a whole new world, putting myself out there.
Of course, “just checking out some bikes” soon became “just buying a bike.” And a helmet, for safety. And some cycling shorts (which my Lulu skirt will look darling over!). And a jersey. And some gloves. Just the bare necessities, obviously.
I took my new bike for a spin around my neighborhood that night…and again the next morning…and that night too. Then I went for a bike ride with my oldest daughter after I had finished a run (does this count as my first “brick”? Oh yes, I’m all over the lingo! Need a race “kit”!). In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t really do things half-way…
This past weekend, I decided it was time to get serious. I went for my first long bike ride – 25 km of just me, my Black Dahlia (because all bikes need a cool name, FYI) and the open road. Got to know Dahlia a bit better. And I learned a lot. Like how and when to shift gears – with confidence! Like how to dodge road kill without becoming the same. Like how to wave at fellow cyclists without falling off my bike (well, sort of…almost…whatever, they got the idea). I learned that you can cover a kilometre in one minute flat! And that riding up hills is as horrendous as running up them. I learned that I love the speed. And I learned that it also scares me. I finished my ride feeling thankful that I’d dared to try something new. It would have been so easy to walk by that Lululemon section each summer thinking “what if?”. Instead, I’m out there doing it. And loving it!
I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go. And I still have so many big running goals coming up with the runDisney Coast to Coast Race Challenge which includes the TinkerBell Half-Marathon in California in January 2014 followed a month later by the Glass Slipper Challenge (a 10K race and half-marathon on consecutive days) in Florida. So cycling will have to remain a casual fling for now. But next summer, I won’t be watching the cyclists in Sydenham. And I won’t accidentally be running alongside them at the K-Town Duathlon either. I’ll be experiencing a different vantage point: the one from my bike seat. In an adorable outfit, of course.