Updated 05/31/2012 09:35 AM
Rhiannon Berry: Training Week 1
It is finally here! Our Fleet Feet Spring session has begun! Seeing as how this is my first “real” blog of the season, it will naturally be the longest. I will attempt to be less verbose as the season continues!
It has been so strange not seeing my favorite “tri crazies” on a weekly basis, but the reunion has been beautiful. While the upcoming session promised to be busy, my schedule became even more filled. While cheering on some of my teammates at this year’s Mountain Goat, the head of our program asked me to fill an emergency vacancy left in our coaching staff. I said yes, but I am admittedly nervous. I hope I can help our Spring athletes grow as much as our coaches helped me grow this past season!
Our season began on Tuesday as I pulled up to LeMoyne College to swim with our intermediate group. There was a distinct difference between Tuesday night and my first night with the winter group: I was excited to swim. I entered the winter program with zero swim experience. My lack of experience combined with a lifelong struggle with asthma made for some incredibly scary and panic-stricken days. I also was not aware you could cry in water, but you can. Thanks to amazing coaches and teammates (and endless hours of YouTube tutorials), I was able to overcome my fear of swimming. I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship.
Coaching Wednesday was one of the more bizarre experiences I’ve had. Between basketball and teaching, I have had plenty of opportunities to coach and lead. This was different. I saw handfuls of faces staring at me with wide eyes filled with anxiety. Their looks all said the same thing: “I am terrified. I don’t know what I’m doing. I am going to drown. There is no way I can do this. You need to fix this. You need to help make me better. I need you to get me through this.” It was the same look I gave my coaches this past December. My heart broke for many of our new athletes as I knew the trauma the first night of swim would do to them. They would leave feeling hopeless, weak, in over their heads. It is my mission to help them make progress, to support them in times of distress, and to help them believe in themselves. Although it in no way involves my own physical growth, I think Wednesdays have become my most important days of the week.
And then there was the bike clinic on Saturday. Oh Saturday, in all its 7 am glory. Now that I am a coach, we have to be on site by 6:30 to set up for the day. Of course, my ride who will remain nameless (but she is a fellow YNN blogger and her name rhymes with Shmarah Shmettinger) has to see her Starbucks barista, Andrew, for her routine coffee and oatmeal, which means 5:45 wakeup for me. I won’t lie: I was cursing my alarm clock and barista-Andrew that morning. But as soon as we arrived to practice, I had forgotten all about my lack of sleep and loved every moment of coaching and riding with my teammates. The day was a simple introduction day of bike handling and clip drills. Since I am a new coach, I am fortunate enough to get paired up with my fellow coach and coworker (Shmarah Shmettinger) until I learn the drills enough to break off on my own. However, based on the amount of fun I had with our team, I don’t think I will be going anywhere anytime soon.
I must mention my little…incident…that occurred after practice. A handful of friends and I decided to go biking in our local park. In order to get there, we had to bike down one of the busiest streets in the area. But 10 am on a Saturday promised slower traffic, right? We could not have been more incorrect. But the non-stop 55 mph traffic was not the problem. The missing bolt from the bottom of my right shoe was the problem. Being new to biking, I didn’t know shoes even HAD bolts, let alone two. Therefore, I never thought to check them. I realized my problem only as I tried to clip out of my bike at the worst intersection at a stoplight to turn left into the park. Instead of clipping out, my foot swiveled around on one bolt, my clip not moving an inch. While I was able to unclip my left foot, it was too late. My momentum was already going. The result was my crashing into the street with oncoming traffic all around me. I was able to pop up just as the light turned green and bike into the park. Fortunately for me, a fellow rider was smart enough to transfer a screw from my left shoe into my right so I could clip in and out smoothly and get home alive. This marks my first and hopefully last time almost dying while being on my bike, Lola (yes, I named my bike). Luckily, Lola came out with absolutely no damage while I only sustained bruises, a few cuts in my legs and knees, and giant chain prints all over my lower body which, for the record, only comes out with Dawn dish soap. I never thought I would ever have to shower with Dawn dish soap, but hey! It works!
Lesson of the day: Never go out on your bike with a few screws loose.