Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trail Running to Road Cycling

With the Zion 100 in the rear view mirror, it's time to focus on the next goal. I've come to realize that without something to work towards, I'm a nomad wandering around aimlessly. Goals give me focus, purpose, and when they are finished, a sense of accomplishment. Next thing on the radar: a 500 mile bike ride from Atlanta to Orlando in October. Wha??

I know - as much as I despise the pavement - and as much I love the trails and everything about running - I'm going to try my hand at cycling. Well, how the heck did I come up with this goal?! It certainly wasn't my bright idea - but when I heard that some of my co-workers were riding from our corporate offices in Atlanta to our annual conference in Orlando (also the home of Give Kids the World!) to fundraise for Give Kids the World I said count me in!

Running can be a very self-centered sport. How far can you run? How fast can you run? How much can you train? What races are on your calendar? Who is going to be your pacer to help you to the finish line? YOU get the point? Any opportunity to give back and make it less about the self - and more about others - the better. The best times I've had training and participating in an event were those that had a purpose greater than me crossing the finish line. The first (and only) marathon I ran I did training and fundraising with Leukemia/Lymphoma in honor of my dad who is a lymphoma survivor. My first 100 mile run I ran to raise money for Give Kids the World. They provide housing for terminally ill children and their families that are visiting Disney World as a chance to create memories and get away from the hospitals and doctors. Yes - these are the two races that have really meant the most - making a positive impact on others through my running.

So - switching gears from running to cycling wasn't that hard to swallow since there was a purpose. The hard part is that I feel like a fish out of water. Yes, I can ride a bike. Yes, I have a bike. But as much as I have learned about running over the years - I feel like there has to be a learning curve with cycling - it has to be more than "can you ride a bike?" What are the things that I need to know? How long will it take me to learn them? Can I ride 500 miles (over multiple days) by "winging it" and get back to my true passion of trail running? Can I continue with my running and be a part time cyclist on the side? Can both exist simultaneously - and will my running get stronger as a result of cross training and really making every mile and every run count? Yes - lots of questions. (and one that I'll answer up front - yes, I will continue to run ultra trail races while figuring everything else out)

One of the questions that came up today revolved around gear. I have heard many, many people look at my race prep - all of the supplies that I have - all of the gear that it takes to get me across the finish line - and tell me "I thought all you needed was a pair of shoes to run" or "running is an expensive sport, isn't it?" Today I stopped by the cycling store to get a decent pair of cycling shorts to pad my bony haunches from the concrete seat. $120 later I'm walking out with one small bag and one small pair of shorts so tight I feel like a sausage stuffed in a casing. Swallowing hard and paying for the shorts wasn't easy - but the chatter about all of the other things that I would need - or might want - or should get - from the store personnel was a little unsettling yet vaguely familiar. I've heard - and said - all of those things in the running store. So - the question today - though it may be one that I cannot answer - is not do I have what it takes to ride 500 miles? But rather - how much am I willing to spend to ride 500 miles?

Pearl Izumi Shorts = 1 pair of running shoes - and then some  :(

1 comment:

  1. I have easily spent twice as much on gear than I did on the bike. One of my goals is to have to buy it again when it all gets too big for me.