Oct 23

Here Goes Nothin’

I can’t believe it’s actually here.  By the end of this week I will be competing in a national dutahlon across the country.  When I qualified and signed-up six months ago, it seemed like I had so much time.  What the hell happened?  I’m having all the usual anxiety about not being ready, questioning my training and doubting my abilities.

I’m coming off a half-marathon PR, I’ve been training my ass off and biking past the month of August which is all new territory.  I should be more then ready.  I should have no doubts.  Shoulda.  Coulda.  Woulda.

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.

Here’s the rub:

1.  I’ve never actually had to board an airplane to get to a race.  Not to mention cross time zones.

2.  I have no idea what my body will feel like in the desert heat and dryness since it hasn’t been hot and dry in Connecticut, um…ever!

3.  I’m worried about how and where I will eat my pre-race meal since I usually have whole wheat waffles and fruit.  My husband assures me the hotel restaurant will be accommodating and, if not, they have grocery stores in Arizona.  Can someone who lives there please confirm this?

4.  So many variables are out of my control starting with my bike.  I’m used to packing exactly five things: sneakers, watch, top, bottoms, socks.  Do you know how much shit you have to keep track of in a bike race?  More then five.

Speaking of my dear bike, I had to drive to Massachusetts last week to put it on a semi to be driven across the country to Tucson where I will hopefully be reunited with it.  After figuring out all those logistics, the day came for me to say good-bye to it.  I took one last long ride, at the end of which, I ended up with a flat rear tire.  Now, we’ve already established that I’m a runner and not a cyclist.  I panicked a little bit when I realized what had happened the day before I had to ship it to Tucson.  Ok, stay calm and drive to my trusty bike shop.  Surely they can hook me up with a new tire on the spot!  One problem – it was Columbus Day and they were closed.  Shit.  Ok, don’t panic, call the bike shop who is shipping the bike and ask if they can do a minor repair before they put it on the truck:

Me: Hi.  I’m dropping off my bike tomorrow for shipment to the Duathlon in AZ but, I just got a flat and my bike shop is closed since it’s a holiday.

Superior Bike Man: Is there something else wrong or just a flat?

Me:  Just a flat.

SBM:  Ok, and you’re competing in the Duathlon in Arizona?

Me:  Yes!  I know I’m a moron and should be able to change a simple freakin tire if I’m in the nationals of this freakin race but I don’t know how to do it!!!  SORRY!!!!

Ok, I did not say that.  I just said “Yes” and hung my head in shame.

SBM: Ok then, no problem at all (now sounding like he’s talking to his 8 year-old daughter) we can definitely hook you up.  I just want to make sure we have the right tire here.  What kind do you have?  What size?

Me: I have no idea.  I have a Giant bike with an XS frame.  What does this guy not understand about how little knowledge I have of bikes?  Do I need to spell it out for him or is he just toying with me now?

SBMnow slightly laughing with at me: Ok, that’s fine.  I’m sure we have something.  Just bring it in and we’ll get you all hooked up.

After that I really felt confident and like I should 100% be going to this race!  Dear Lord, what the hell have I gotten myself into?  Why am I supposed to know what kind of tires are on my bike?  I don’t know!  They’re the kind that GO…fast!

Once I actually got to the bike shop the next day (after sitting in an hour of traffic on the Mass Pike!) it got better.

I would like to thank the staff here for not laughing directly in my face and probably waiting until I was out of ear shot.  You guys are all class.

I would like to thank the staff here for not laughing directly in my face and probably waiting until I was out of ear shot. You guys are all class.

I walked in an re-introduced myself as the moron who called and didn’t know how to change a tire.  They all shook their heads like “Oh, you’re the one!”  Ok, that didn’t happen either but I did tell them I needed a tire change.  Turns out I needed to replace both tires.  Luckily this was happening just in time for the big event.  I told the bike man, who was now massaging my tires as he spun them and looking at them from all different angles, that I had never replaced them and, by the way, how often are you supposed to do that?  He looked at me with so much pity and just laughed quietly.

He then told me he had to do a “full body” inspection of the bike to check for scratches or dents, much like they do before you valet your car.  The people at RoadBike don’t want to be blamed if you bike shows up with the same chips and dents it was shipped out with.  Fair enough.  As he begins his “inspection” he marveled at the condition of my bike:

Superior Bike Man:  Wow!  This bike is in really great shape.  Looks like it’s never been in a crash or anything…or…I mean really there’s not a scratch on it…almost like…

Me:  Like I’ve never even ridden it?  Come on man!  Gimme a break.  I ride the damn bike.  It’s not a mountain bike for God sake!  Is it better if I had been in a crash?  Let me tell you something, if this thing gets up to 30 miles per hour, I’m pumping the breaks.  I need my brains in my head and I really, really need my legs dude.

SBMLaughing again – No, I mean, it’s just in really good shape.  Looks good, real good.

So that went well.  I would have paid good money to have heard the conversation that took place after I left.

That's the face of a cyclist if I ever saw one.

That’s the face of a cyclist if I ever saw one.

I am undeterred.  I may not know what tires I have on my bike and I may have never gone fast enough to crash it, but I’m a competitor.  I know how to win my mental game.  I know how to run through pain and stress and heat.  I’ve grown to love my bike more then I ever thought I would and I’m finally getting that feeling of being “one” with it when I’m out on the roads.

I’m going into this race with my head held high.  I may not have a $5,000.00 bike and a pointy helmet but I belong at this race damnit and so help the person who tries to discount that.

Look out Arizona – a runner is about to race a duathlon!


Have you ever traveled a long way to race or compete?  Any tips?  Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like a complete moron?  Please say yes.




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  1. Arizona won’t know what hit it!!!
    Anyone can change a bike tire (given enough time and instruction) …but not just anyone can qualify and compete in a national dutahlon, baby!! WHOO HOO!!!
    As a non-runner kind of person, it didn’t really dawn on me all of the prep that you have to think of and how different things really are when you have to fly somewhere. You’ve got to get your equipment there…and think of breakfast…and EVERYTHING. You are handling it all like a champion!! (and having been in Arizona a time or two, I can confirm they have grocery stores that stock waffles! You are in the clear!! )
    You go, girl, in all of your non-pointy helmeted awesomeness!! You are going to ROCK THIS!!! WOOT!! –Lisa

    1. Thank you, thank you dear Lisa!!! I really needed a pep talk and this one is GOOD! I will read it many times over before the big event on Saturday. Wooohoooo!!

  2. Wishing you tons of luck Allie and I agree with Lisa Arizona is not going to know what hit it! You go girl!! 🙂

    1. Thank you SO much!! I’m trying to be brave and you are definitely helping!

  3. You are going to take Arizona and the duathlon by storm!! Safe travels, good luck, and can’t wait to hear how it goes!! ROCK it, you incredible, gorgeous, badass lady!

    P.S. My biggest fear in triathlons is a flat. It would take me ages to change my own tire, and I’m sure there would be at least 12 major meltdowns involved!

    1. Thanks Nicole!! I’m SO happy you said that about changing your own tire. Seriously!! Either way, I guess I will have a good post to write:-) Here’s hoping that two brand new tires will carry me safely and quickly through the course!

  4. Seriously, Arizona better watch the hell out. No doubts here you will rock it. Good thoughts for you!

    1. Thank you so much!!

  5. Haha. I love this story. Don’t feel bad. I don’t know how to change a tire or anything either. I just learned how to put my chain back on if it comes off. The guys that work at the bike shop are crazy into bikes and they think everyone else is too, but you don’t have to be to call yourself a cyclist. At least I don’t think so!

    Have I ever felt like a moron? It would be like asking if I ever woke up and went to work in the morning (every day). Recently I rang about taking tennis lessons offered right across the street from my apartment. The guy asked me what number I was at and I was like huh? Apparently there are USTA levels that rate your level of play. I’ve been playing tennis for years and I never knew this. He thought I was a total moron and told me to Google it. I chose not to enroll in the lessons!

    Also when I was in Cali recently this guy offered to take a photo of my husband and I. He noticed that I have a DSLR camera and was asking me what speed I was on etc, etc. I was like “Dude, I’m an Auto girl…” Yeah, no idea.

    1. This is just one of the many reasons I love you Britt!! I feel 1,000 times better because I totally do stuff like that ALL the time. I’m glad you decided against the tennis lesson. Sounds WAY to serious!! Thank you.

  6. Haven’t known you long but I know you’ve got this. I love your story, the good, the bad and the ugly, no sugar coating (catch the baking reference?). You’re confident and determined, a little out of your element with the bike but able to make it work, even with a flat tire as it’s about to be shipped. Yup, you got this.

    BTW, I’m from the Boston area (sorry, but even your mention of the Mass Pike traffic made me home-sick) and I lived and worked in CT for a few years too. Small world.

    1. Thanks Karen! If your from the Boston area you know all too well about Mass Pike traffic. I live in CT now but went to Boston University. It’s such a great city!! Glad we figured that out:-)

    • Kim on October 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM
    • Reply

    You totally have this!!! Are you flying out early (so you can drug up and let it wear off?!)?
    BTW – my neighbors own a 2nd home in Tuscon – if they were going to be there they would hook you up with whole grain waffles and anything else you needed/wanted!!
    Glad the whole bike thing is taken care of!!!
    Happy travels!!! Can’t wait to hear all about the race!
    Kim recently posted…A Few Fun FactsMy Profile

    1. Bummer they won’t be there! Thanks so much Kim and yes, I fly out early so I can recover from the drugs and anxiety…and hydrate!!

  7. You are cracking me up! This is why I don’t race bikes and only use my feet. You and my hubby can talk this stuff…he loves those kind of races. He used to the do the Xterra triathlon series which I bet you would love….knowing what I know. Another reason for us to meet up! I hope you don’t get a flat during the race. Not to freak you out or anything, but that happens…I think this might be something you might want to learn. Good luck! You are going to rock this! And don’t pay attention to those guys!
    Michelle recently posted…How to Go From Zero to 50 Comments on Your Blog PostsMy Profile

    1. Just another reason to meet up! I *know* that stuff happens which is why I really should know by now how to change a tire. Oh well!!
      Did you notice I got my CommentLuv up and running thanks to YOUR post today? Hooray!!

  8. I’d be right there with you, the little I know about bikes is humbling! I don’t think I’ve ever traveled more than 3-4 hours for a race, and haven’t flown for one. It’s unnerving to have new things to worry about, but you’ve got a tough mental game and I know you’ll be alright!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Tom Fleming’s talk + WIAWMy Profile

    1. Thanks Laura. It’s definitely comforting to know I’m in good company!

  9. I have been to Arizona and I can confirm that they have accommodating hotels AND grocery stores there. However, maybe they were all just pop-up businesses for my time there, and they don’t normally exist.

    Anyway! You rock! Wish I could have joined you on the Mass Pike. You would have enjoyed my Mass-road rage. I have never flown for a race or competition. Come to think of it, I have never entered a race or competition. However, I have done plenty of moronic things. Every day, in fact.
    Tamara recently posted…Life. You’re Doing It Right. (Sometimes)My Profile

    1. Total road rage on the Mass Pike! The only saving grace was I didn’t have the boys with me.
      Let’s hope there’s real food in Arizona!! I’ve actually been to Scottsdale before and had an amazing time – complete with food and beverages.
      So glad you also do moronic things. Morons love company:-)

  10. That’s pretty awesome that you qualified for that! I’m sure everything will run smoothly once you get there. No races to travel for but yes, on the feeling like a moron. Too many times to count! 😉
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Energybits Review & Running UpdateMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Kris! I feel better already:-)

  11. Of course, all the time! I lack the common sense on most days, lol! I really can’t stand when guys ask me questions about mechanical stuff. I’m like, just fix it, I don’t know shat! OAN – I didn’t even know what this race was. You are a true inspiration. I’m glad we connected. I CAN”T WAIT for this recap! All the best!
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted…Ask Away then Blog VacayMy Profile

    1. I know! Just fix the damn thing! What do I look like? A bike mechanic? Thank you Joi. I needed that!!
      Can’t wait to see how this all unfolds…:-)

  12. Loved this! I knew a bit more about my bike than you when I was heavy into tris, but…bikes are really just a bit PITA! Glad you could find someone to help you at the last minute. I’m sure the LBS in Tuscon will be ready to help, too, should something else arise.

    Best of luck this weekend–you will crush it!
    misszippy recently posted…Why I’ll never run 26.2 as a training runMy Profile

    1. They are a total PAIN…especially when you’re a runner and are used to minimal equipment.
      There seems to be ample support on scene there so I’ll be well taken care of.
      Thank you!!

    • Fydo on October 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM
    • Reply

    You are going to ROCK AZ! You got this, you’re going to be GREAT! No worries, you have two new tires. You are READY! Do what you do best- Compete.

    1. RIGHT!! Thanks Fydo. I’ll be thinking of you.

  13. Good luck!!! I’m so impressed. Duathlons and triathlons intimidate the heck out of me. Heck, running races do, too, but I’m not in it to win it. Ha! I’m in it to finish. And YES, I’ve often felt like a complete moron. Thanks for linking up with ippp!
    Greta recently posted…The Lonely Runner #iPPPMy Profile

    1. Finishing is always my first goal! You never know what can happen in any given race. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  14. Get it Allie! You are making great strides! Pun intended.
    Andrea recently posted…BeQuoted: Quotes of the WeekMy Profile

    1. LOVE it!! Thanks Andrea.

  15. I have no tips for you, Allie – I’m a slug who never races. But I’ve felt like a moron many, many, times. Many. Run and bike like the wind – you’re gonna rock, Allie!
    Dana recently posted…The spirit singsMy Profile

    1. Thanks Dana! I feel better already.

  16. ALLIE girl you got this!! I am all kinds of charged up just reading this, I feel like I can jump on a bike and ride around really fast! I love your spirit. You are going to be all kinds of amazing. AZ id so not ready for you because I know you are going to MURDER this race! I have NO doubt about that.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Walk Out Push UpsMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much Nellie! I wish you could ride next to me and just coach me through the whole thing!! Now wouldn’t THAT be a sight? You are awesome. Thank you!!!

  17. You are going to rock Arizona (I’m sure they have grocery stores) and rock this race!!! Have an awesome time! You can do it!! xo
    Leah recently posted…Quote of the WeekMy Profile

    1. Thanks for the confidence Leah! I will need it:-)

  18. You are going to rock this thing out. Who cares about the bike dudes or anyone else for that matter. This is for you. And if nothing else – your humor will get you through. Can’t wait to hear all about it, mama!

    1. Making fun of things tends to come in handy. Thanks Sara. I truly just can’t wait to get there and DO this thing!

  19. I feel like a complete moron most days. It’s just my general feeling! 🙂

    I have not traveled for a race but I have spent time in Arizona. I think it’ll be okay given that it’s October and you’ll be fine with the conditions there.

    I can’t wait to hear the recap! You’re going to be great!
    Carla recently posted…10 Healthy Foods to Always Have in Your KitchenMy Profile

    1. Thanks for saying that Carla! I’ve been having too many feel-lik-a-moron days lately.

  20. Good luck Allie! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out! I am also LOL’ing at this story and yes, I woudl have paid BIG money to hear the conversation after you left as well! You got this! 🙂
    Britton recently posted…I’ve been Nominated…TWICE!My Profile

    1. Thanks so much!!

  21. You are absolutely a competitor!!! I’m so excited for your Allie! You will do great. That is a pretty funny story about your bike. I have no idea how to change the tire on my bike. That was my biggest fear when I did a triathlon!! Best of luck. Can’t wait to hear about it.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Friday Round-Up: It takes a VillageMy Profile

    1. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who competes in these things without knowing how to change a tire! Thanks Christine.

  22. good luck!!! luckily there’s no paper test when you get to the race about the make and model of your gear, so if you can make it go fast, then you’re all good 🙂 and omg girrrrl- i feel like a moron all the time. like, i can go to the grocery store and say something that makes it seem like i’ve never bought food before. the good news is if you keep it up you wont even realize it when it happens anymore 🙂 anyways, you’re going to do great!! watch out arizona!!
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…I’m back like a salty craving snack attackMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much!! I love the line about the grocery store – ha – so true!

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