Slow and steady does not win the race

Fiori bike

I’d like to think I am fast–a fast runner, a fast biker, a fast swimmer.

When I do these things by myself, and there’s no one to race against, I can feel the wind in my hair, and I think I’m fast.

Then, there’s reality.

The reality is, I am one of the slowest runner/biker, and one of the worst swimmers I know. Anytime I go hiking with friends, I’m always dead last. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great time. I am just…slow. Very slow.

Back in the college days (back in 2001), when I was young and stupid, I bought a road bike so I can train for a duathlon. A duathlon (instead of a triathlon) is a race of cycling and running, made for swimming flunkies like me. Rather than swim-bike-run, you do run-bike-run. The bike I had enough money for is the Fiori Roma. I think I paid $180 at Sports Junkies. I don’t have a picture of it, but it’s the exact same bike as the above photo I stole off the internet. Except mine didn’t have a cool paint job like this one.

I lived by the foothill of SFU at that time, and would ride the bike on Barnett Highway as training. I would ride that highway to Port Moody and back, and pat myself on my back for how fast I thought I was. I would run around the track at school to train for the running portion, and again doing it by myself while being completely oblivious to my slowness.

My friend Ryan joined me for the duathlon. Race day came, he took off at the start line, wishing me good luck. I started running hard, giving the race all my might. I felt like a champion, running with good form with my chest up. A few kilometers later, I noticed I am being passed by everybody and their dog. Literally. By the end of the run, I was exhausted.

Then I started with the cycling portion. I peddled hard. Other bikes started passing me. Still more other bikes continued to pass me. I kept telling myself that’s because these real athletes are riding the super lightweight race bikes, and I’m riding a vintage clunker. Then I noticed people riding their mountain bikes with fat knobby tires passing me. WTF?

By the time I got off the bike, my legs felt like jello. I left my bike and started the last running portion. I felt like shit. I had no idea how to train for a run other than a few laps around the track. And even though I thought I was pretty decent at running, at an event like this, I realized how lousy I was. I had to try really hard to pass a lady at least 3 times my age and twice my weight. I nearly vomited multiple times.

Still, I pushed on, running as hard as I could.

Either the cycling or the running course–I don’t really remember which one now–for the duathlon makes you go around the same route twice to make up enough distance. And for whatever reason, this fact completely escaped me. Essentially, I only completed half the distance required for one of the legs.

As I struggled along the last few km of the run (after already missing half the distance), the organizer van was picking up the cones and closing the course right behind me. I was gasping for air and my lungs felt like they were going to explode. I finally finished the race, and got my “finisher” medal.

When I saw my friend Ryan after the race, he was saying how going around the course twice was really hard on him. I was like, “Uh, what do you mean twice?” That’s when I realized I didn’t even really finish the race, since I totally took a wrong turn and missed half the course. And even then, I finished dead last in my age group.

I never participated in another duathlon again. I swore I would never do another one, or a marathon or half marathon or anything silly like that.

Now, in 2017, I am old and stupid. A friend was talking about doing a half marathon as a mean to push her limits. Something possessed me to put up my hand and say, “Oh, I’ll do it with you.” Then I am pretty sure she held a gun to my head and make me type in the registration details online. So apparently on October 1 this year, I’ll be running my first half marathon.

The half marathon training starts next Monday. If you are looking for me this weekend, I’ll be at home, drinking away my sorrows, and toasting the vintage Fiori Roma for all the times she made me feel fast.

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Day 103, 104, 105/365

Day 103 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

Josh and I went for a bike ride to Jericho beach. The whole trip was just over 9 kilometres. He was so determined to beat his previous record of trip length.

Day 104 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

This is Howard, Josh’s class bear. Howard goes home with a different child each day. The child gets to hang out with Howard and write in Howard’s journal about what they did together. On this day, Howard got to go with Josh for a photoshoot to capture the cherry blossom in Vancouver.

Day 105 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

Another day, another bike ride to the beach. I love being on two wheels, and it gives me such immense pleasure to see Josh enjoy it too.

365 catching up

Day 87 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

My car insurance renewal notice came in the mail. I thought about our vacation plans in July, then decided to let my insurance expire. Really, I live 5 km away from the office. There is no good reason for me to drive to and from work everyday. A combination of my love for 2-wheels and my hate for the bus resulted in biking to work 100% of the time. You’ll be seeing a lot more cycling related posts coming up.

Day 88 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

About 15 years ago, a friend gave me this cycling jacket. I was getting into cycling and had no money, and she had a spare. I have used this jacket for many miles. For the past few years though, it sat in the closet while I was busy either being pregnant or having little babies to care for. I pulled the jacket out a few weeks ago, since I started biking to work. After years of wear and tear, the laminate inside started falling apart. A trail of white flakes followed me when I wear it. This week, I decided to retire this veteran jacket. Carolyn, thank you for your generosity all those years ago. The jacket had a long life.

Day 92 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

We rode our bikes together last weekend. Savanna was seated comfortably on my handlebar and enjoyed the view. Josh had to actually ride his bike. He was determined to break his previous record of a 4-km ride. We made it all the way to Earnest Ice Cream for a treat. We then rode along the seawall back to Kits. By the 9 km mark, his little legs were toast. He fell over while walking his bike to cross a busy street, skinning his knees. I kissed his teary cheeks and smiled, because I am so proud of him!

Day 94 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

One morning, I got on the bike just around 6 am to ride to work. The sky was fire-y orange with the sunrise.

Day 95 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

At the bike locker at work, there are all these locks hanging there. They are there when I arrive, and they are there when I leave. They look like poor orphans with no owners.

Day 96 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

Josh has always been super sweet. I think he is made of sugar. One day last week when I got home, I saw this envelope taped to the door. He had drawn two elephants for me (because they are my favorite animals).

Day 97 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

This is me, standing at MEC by the bike service shop. One of the screws on my cleats came loose and disappeared, causing the cleat to spin around in my pedals without disengaging. I nearly fell over at a stop because I couldn’t get my foot out. The bike tech found a spare screw in the backroom and temporarily fixed my cleats so I can ride home. He gave me a speech about how I should have checked my cleats before the ride. It’s one of those moments where I gladly accepted the speech, because, you know, he is right.

Day 98 of 365 Angela Chang Photography

At PureBread, I asked Savanna what she would like for a treat. She pointed to the ciabatta bread. I said, Don’t you want a scone or something sweet? She said, No, that one, and pointed again to the ciabatta bread. Ok, kiddo. Your choice!

I’ve got this

A year ago today, I held my breath as I entered my “40s”. I knew looking back things have been good, but I really wasn’t sure how this new era is going to hit.

I am happy to report that now I have had a year to practice being 40, I’ve got this. It’s actually pretty damn awesome!

There were three things I was very happy about:

  1. Savanna and I traveled to Morocco. I will continue to talk about this trip for years to come. We really bonded on this trip, and I learned that she is an amazing little traveller.
  2. I am more fit than I have ever been. 21 Day Fix Extreme, P90X3, Insanity Max 30, spin, kickboxing, running and biking had me drop 30 lbs since a year ago. But it’s not the weight I’m most excited about; it’s the feeling being strong and growing stronger.
  3. I cleared out the noises in my life. Taking a social media hiatus is one of the best things I have ever done. I stopped caring so much about what people think of me and wasting time on things that do not matter. I made time to be home for dinner at least twice on weekdays.

Today we enjoyed skiing in Whistler. There is no better way to spend the day than with the very people who make my life so damn awesome.

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