Monday, August 11, 2008

Monkey Business

I started mountain biking a few years ago, and I threw myself into it head first, kind of like I did with this marathon. I joined a 24 hour relay team, not fully realizing just WHAT I was getting myself into, but thinking it would be fun (and it was!). But after that, I actually needed to LEARN how to mountain bike (the old "once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget" does not apply to mountain biking).

But what struck me more than the actual act of biking itself was the amount of time and energy (not to mention money) that went into just PREPARING to mountain bike. First, you have to get your bike ready: lube the chain, check the brakes, air up the tires, pack spare tubes....then you have to get your gear ready: Camelbak (or other hydration, an absolute necessity in Arizona), energy gels, sunglasses (with different lenses depending on the weather), socks and shoes (are your cleats clean??), helmet, gloves, arm guards, and you get the idea......ugh.

Riding at night? That's a whole separate mess- then you get to deal with mounting lights and charging batteries (but be careful not to OVER charge them!) and securing cords and wires.

Ok, time to put the bike rack on, then the bike, and securing it, etc.

Now, let me pause here and say that I am NOT I love my bike (her name is Clementine, because I know that's what you want to know) It's just the nature of the sport- they even make really cool bags to tote around all of your gear!

A good friend of mine (who talked me into mountain biking to begin with) turned to me mid-light-mounting session and said, "You know what, Elsbeth? Biking is all monkey business. That's all it is, monkey business" and we had a good laugh and then hit the trail. Again, not complaining or dogging on it, but it is monkey business. We joked about it later- It takes 4 hours to prepare for a 2 hour ride, and that includes commute time.....

I have a point, I promise!

When I started preparing for this marathon (a whopping two weeks ago), I thought, "Ok, I probably need some new shoes, no big deal, maybe a bra, too." (or brar as I like to say)


I got new shoes, and I love them, but I got a blister, so I got insoles. Well, now I need to break IN the insoles so I can start running in them (They squeak like crazy, too, I feel like such a goofball at my office). Oh, cotton socks? No way, in fact, you can't wear ANYTHING cotton. Ok, have the socks and shoes and other proper attire (or so I thought).

Then we get to practice and as the runs are getting longer, we're needing more gear. Hat and sunscreen are a must (did I mention we're in Arizona?), then you need body glide (when you're running this many miles, bits and pieces you didn't know could chafe get so raw you want to cry), and a hydration belt is also a must. Got your salt packets and gels? Hope so!

Ok, NOW we're off.

I was totally wrong in thinking that running was "just" an activity where you throw on your shoes and iPod and go out and just jog for a bit. Well, you can still do that, but I now know that marathon training is a total 180.

So now that I've accepted that running is a bit more expensive than I anticipated, I know I'll be facing a mental wake-up call as well. I'm expecting this to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks, as we're increasing the distances and adding (dun dun duuuunnnnnnn) HILLS. I know there are going to be moments where my sanity is going to come into waver, but my motivation never will.

I know I'll be crawling after a morning practice, and wincing in pain as I take off my shoes, and probably complaining a LOT more than necessary, but as my coach put it "I don't have cancer, so I'm good".

No comments: