I did about 98% of triathlon training on my own this past year. Truthfully, the majority of most of my training over the years has been a solo effort. I never made a significant effort to find training groups or partners - I think I was able to build a lot of mental toughness by doing long rides and runs by myself. This past weekend, I got a small taste of what it is like to train with friends. The verdict? I enjoyed myself way more than I expected to.
This past weekend a few friends and I participated in a recreation/charity ride in the town where Dayle lives. Our friend T came down from Chicago the night before and we went out for dinner and scared ourselves watching American Horror Story. The following morning, we got bundled up (the weather was in the high 40's/low 50's) and started our ride, complete with a sip of coffee and Baileys.
It was VERY chilly at first - my toes and fingers were frozen, lips and cheeks chilly. But we managed to put in just under 60 miles together, all the while chatting and catching up. We only got lost once and despite the chilly weather, we enjoyed the scenery and time together. It was awesome. It wasn't a real training ride, so we weren't pushing the pace by any means... and I realized that sometimes you need to put that competitiveness aside and just, literally, enjoy the ride.
Following the ride, I collected my weekend gear and my pup and headed to my parents house. It was a short weekend, but amazing nonetheless. I met someone up there, someone who I actually met ON the Ironman Wisconsin bike course... but thats a story for another day. Sunday morning, we set out on a 10 miler on the good ole prairie path... my home away from home for so many countless miles over the years. The run flew by as we chatted, I felt nice and smooth throughout its entirety. Once finished, we explored a bit of the downtown where I grew up - I channeled my inner child and visited the "popcorn shop" to sample some of my favorite candies and checked out the new chocolate shop where I indulged in a salted caramel caramel apple (it was heavenly) and chocolate (my true weakness).
I really enjoyed biking and running with friends this weekend. I know that my solo workouts are still crucial to my own training, just because I feel it improves my mental health and lets me work things out in my personal life. But I think there might be a place in there to involve other people too. I think I would really benefit from an active, local triathlon club (one that isn't an hour away like Tri-Sharks)... when I end up moving in a handful of months, I'm going to try to keep that in mind!