Triathlete’s are a Little Like MacGyver

t’s amazing the strange ways that we as triathletes can use very common items. Most people  only think changing diapers when they hear baby wipes. And when they hear eating utensil they don’t think butterfly knife. Or how quickly and non discreetly your car’s passenger seat can become a locker room. It’s all about using what you have on hand. Here’s my day yesterday…
So I’m trying to get in as much OWS (open water swim) time in as possible. Main reason being I’m still not 100% comfortable in open water. There’s still that little tiny and almost silent voice in my head during the beginning of the OWS saying, “This is dumb; swim to the bank or signal the dude in the kayak.” Of course I pretty much just mentally say “Shut it jackass” (if people could hear my internal dialogue during training and racing I’d be committed hands down) and I don’t worry about it anymore. I also want as much as time as possible because I don’t swim well with “toys”. Toys being paddles or fins or a pull buoy in the pool, or the wetsuit in open water. I swim faster naked…in the sense that there’s no toys; not literally naked. Group OWS and fellow racers frown upon that :/ So anyway, yesterday Dynamo, a local multisport coaching group, and who’s affiliate, Dynamo Masters, (great program. Seeing awesome results. You swim faster when there’s people with you, and an Olympic length pool is a huge help), put on an OWS up at pretty much at the northern most point in Lanier yesterday. After complaining about the drive Friday, Coach pulled up an old email I wrote him and quoted myself to me. So I shut up REAL fast, and drove up to my grandparents lake house on Lanier to stay the night so I could hit the OWS. After finally getting inside due to major key issues(…mom…), I passed out. The OWS wasn’t until 9, and I was only 30minutes away, but my body doesn’t let me sleep after 530am. Not an issue with masters or before class training everyday, but having 3hours to kill in an empty house on a Saturday is kind of annoying. After wasting those 3 hours on mindless computer games, I left for the swim.
Now the swim was really well organized, buoys and everything, and after 3 laps and a little over a mile and a half, in an unimpressive time, I hopped out with super sore swim muscles due to my form being tweaked making me faster, but using new muscles, and I was ready to hit the hills to prep for Rev3 Quassy, my first A race this season, in just 2weeks.
The ride was SUPPOSED to be somewhat organized; at least with someone local leading it so no one got lost or ended up on 400. “If you can’t say anything nice…” Remember your mom telling you that when you were young? Yeah; well after 3 different parking lots, 4 U-turns, rechecking all the places we were SUPPOSED(we told we were) be parking at, and more than an hour…I’ll just stop there and tell you I decided to drive to the Cartersville Bud plant to find the hills. I drove on 53 to get there, and after I stopped being angry, Coach’s quoting me kept playing in my head, and after noticing there were some pretty legit hills,  I decided to step out of my comfort zone, and ride the shoulder on 53. First off I don’t like riding on open roads alone because I WILL get lost. And there’s always that one guy who’s trying to compensate with his jacked up truck who passes going 90 within a couple inches. And instead of having their college or what they do as a sticker on the back of their truck, it says “Redneck”…because somehow that’s become cool? But I parked at a gas station/general store/feed & supply store, and asked the owners if they minded if I parked there while I rode for a couple hours. The combination of being old and from a rural area made these people the exact stereotype of the mom and pop stores in movies. They couldn’t have been nicer about it. The man even told me to park in front of the entrance instead of on the side in the parking spots so he could watch it. Great people. Then after leaving a message with my mom to say where I was, and checking in on FourSquare so I had an exact location(I’ve crashed and not been able to ride back to civilization in the coutry before, and after watching ‘127 Hours’, I make sure someone knows where I am), I set off. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is the best thing for you, and is a lot of fun.
Turns out I rode about 20miles of the Rose Pedal Century up there in Canton, along with the other places I rode through. Lots of hills. Lots of fun. Even hit 42.3 on a descent. I’ll admit; if it wasn’t for the adrenaline rush I probably would have peed myself. Rode around Big Canoe, say signs saying I was entering Cherokee and Forsythe counties,  with 40oz of water and First Endurance EFS, and Cassia (my Kestrel), I had an amazing session. Until the last like 20minutes, when I got majorly dehydrated. My HR spiked, and it just couldn’t push it much. I tried, and I think I hit maybe 18 on the flats. And with only making one wrong turn, I’d say it was a pretty solid day. Now here’s where MacGyver comes in.
Because the group ride post OWS didn’t go like I planned, I had already drank my Ultragen shake on my way to ride, so I didn’t have anything else. And the store I parked at isn’t like a QuikTrip where you can go in and get a crappy sandwich you can at least eat the insides of(gross and full of fake stuff; I know. But sometimes you don’t have a chioce.) The restroom was out of order too. But! They did have chocolate milk, canned tuna, and water. Chocolate milk down, an old butterfly knife used as a can opener and fork for the tuna, and I had enough to get me the important macronutrients post sess. And with the restroom being out, I used my passenger seat and the baby wipes I keep in my truck, solely for this purpose, as a locker room. It was still about an hour to my apartment, and you don’t wanna stay in sweaty clothes sitting down for that long. So after using the wipes as a ‘hold me over’ shower, and getting into my clean recovery gear, I headed home. Not the perfect situation, but I’d say I was pretty resourceful. And it’s not my first rodeo, so I’ve gotten pretty good at changing and ‘showering’ quickly and discreetly in a cramped space.
There’s not always nice defined and planned ways to do things, but it’s not too much of a stretch to find ways to make things work. And maybe I didn’t have to patch a tire with tree sap and a rubber band, or make a compass from a rock and a ball point pin, but thinking outside the box got me clean and full in an unfamiliar place, outside of my comfort zone.

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3 thoughts on “Triathlete’s are a Little Like MacGyver

  1. Ha, I like open water swimming so much better than pool swimming. I hate the chlorine and floaties in teh pool. And I like feeling like I am going somewhere, instead of back and forth. But it is all what you are used to I think. I always swam in the lake, this is the first year I used a pool much.

    Also, because I am a lousy swimmer, I prefer the wetsuit. Most good swimmers prefer not to wear it – you much be one of those good swimmers! 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t care OWS or pool, I just hate using anything but my own body. I hate not being able to feel the water. After thinking about my swims in my suit, I think it could just be that I need to go sleeveless.

  2. My Macgyer act for the week was using the ice bowl in my hotel room at REV3 to stretch the tiny swim cap they gave me so it wouldn’t give me a headache on Sunday. I left it on all day saturday and it did the trick. I did the same thing at Gulf Coast but used a lampshade.

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