I just got back from a ride with my kick-*ss friends Mary and Heather, they are such power-houses, each in their own ways and I admire so many things about them. I was totally psyched to go out with them, granted a little nervous about totally sucking out there but they were awesome. I really didn’t have any idea how it would go, I thought the best thing that I can do is show up and ride.
Logan woke up this morning around 3:30, crying, starving and feeling out of whack. He had a snack and went back to sleep. Me…well you know that I can’t sleep, so I tossed and turned and watched the darkness fade through the bedroom curtains, waiting for my alarm to go off at 5:30, my mantra echoing in my head, “just get up, just get up…” but of course I never did.
The alarm finally went off, perfect timing, as I was just starting to feel sleepy. I headed for the kitchen and quickly ate a piece of bread with a little bit of peanut butter and some honey and drank a big glass of water. I’m still trying to figure out my fueling without feeling nauseous (this seemed to be a good way to start today, though next time I’ll add a banana and I need to drink more during my ride).
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, yikes, it wasn’t pretty. I popped a few migraine meds, as I had one knocking around in my noggin, all I could do was cross my fingers that it would cease and desist before we headed out.
My eyes were puffy, screaming “don’t you dare put those contacts in“, and all I could think was “this is going to suck“. So overall I was off to a great start.
Then I thought about Logan waking up, at a time when he should be in the midst of some fabulous dream about being a fierce ninja, but instead he was feeling like crap, getting his finger poked and getting a shot (I can’t even tell you how tired I am lately of seeing him get shots and getting poked) and I thought, “No, that’s what really sucks, so suck it up buttercup and ride“. Ugly or not it’s going to happen, so bring it on.
Oh, speaking of happening or not happening… I had to poop. I know, gross, but this is what I think about before heading out, to poop or not to poop, that is always the question.
With all of the pressure to perform I knew it wasn’t going to happen. There was just no way it was going to happen, not this early, and not without coffee.
I was right, I couldn’t, and yes for the first 2 minutes of the ride I was distracted by whether or not I would have to drop trou on the side of the road, but I was prepared as I tucked away some TP in my kit.
Lucky for me I soon forgot about it because as we took off on the road my hands slipped down and I realized my handle bar was loose, I might have screamed but I’m not sure, it’s a bit of a blur. We made a quick pit stop, tightened them up and off we went….and I wasn’t thinking about pooping anymore.
We met up with Heather and as we took a few minutes to talk about the route all I could think about was “Man, these ladies are so awake“. I usually don’t talk to anyone until after 10, or at least not until after I have some coffee.
Off we went. I didn’t really know where we were going or for how long, which is totally fine by me. I find that not knowing usually works in my favor, it doesn’t give me any room to pysch myself out about hills, etc. I just go.
A few things that stick out about the ride, first is how awesome Mary and Heather were. Second is that I’m still getting the hang of my gears. I have read about them over and over, I’ve practiced on my trainer and on neighborhood streets but not on any hilly areas.
Heather was behind me and could see where I was when I was shifting, which was perfect, so as we were approaching a hill, etc. she would yell for me to shift if I wasn’t in a good place. It was great having her behind me yelling out tips, I was grateful for the coaching. I still don’t have it down as there were times when I was watching Mary’s rotation and thought “I am working too hard“, realizing that I have a lot to learn. But yay for me, I was still upright, at least for the moment.
I did have a couple of moments when we were crossing traffic that I couldn’t get clipped in and had to depend on my one leg cycling move, also not pretty, (just picture Elaine dancing while riding a bike), but overall I think it was o.k.
Mary asked if I wanted to try some hills and I was totally game, naive maybe, but why not, I was with two great friends that were also great cyclists and I needed the practice.
We approached the first hill which started right off of a stop at an intersection. The two of them went ahead and as I watched them get to the top I realized that I was not going to make it. I started to get slower and slower and all I could picture was that skit with Ruth Buzzi, where that man rides in on a tricycle and falls over.
I looked to the right of me, there was a little bit of a ditch, it appeared to be pretty sandy and wet “Well at least it’s soft” I thought to myself. I started to go off to the side and sunk in a little bit and just gave in. I yelled “I”M GOING DOWN!” and started laughing. It was the start of rush hour and I’m pretty sure that the guys in the work truck that passed me, ever so slowly, were taking bets as to when I was going to bite it. I couldn’t get my shoe out at first and panicked a little bit but was able to get out and catch myself mid fall. (and it was foggy as heck out there today and misty…which was great, not as many witnesses to my graceful dismount, but pretty thick stuff and it made me realize I don’t have a light on my bike).
I walked up the rest of the hill and met Mary at the top, got back on and kept going. We kept going and as we approached the last hill I told Mary, “I don’t think I can make this one,” but I kept going, and I kept chanting “you’ve got this, you’ve got this…” and I did, I had it. My legs were a bit weak when I got to the top but I had it and we were close to home, which I didn’t even realize because of the fog. Even though I was relieved to see how close we were I was also a little sad to see it end.
I couldn’t have asked for better friends to be out on that road with me today. They helped me keep it real, which is the best thing in my book.
When I got home all I could think about was the upcoming ride. That in a few short weeks I’ll be tackling my first 100 miles. 100 Miles. I wish I could bring Mary and Heather with me.
I thought about how the balance between fundraising and training gets a bit tricky, trying to meet goals on both ends without losing focus, all the while remembering why I do these events. I can’t speak for everyone, but it can be a bit of a mental challenge for me sometimes.
There are days when I think “…am I going to make it?“. But I keep going. Today confirmed that I am on the right path, I might not be fast, I might just squeak in and make my fundraising goals but I realized, that I show up.
I have learned that there is always time to get faster, grow stronger, go farther, but sometimes you only get one shot to show up.
I also realized that training for the ride has helped me in ways that I didn’t even realize that it would. It helps me focus on myself, my health and my own abilities. It helps me be a part of a bigger mission to find a cure, to connect with others, to help raise awareness and it helps me through those moments when the D-life gets a little tedious. It fills in the gaps when it gets hard, and when I get over that hump I always feel, more than ever, that it’s always worth it. Always.
Thank you to everyone that cheers us on, that follows my blog, that donates and supports our effort for a cure. No donation is ever too small.
And I get it. We all have causes that we are passionate about. I can only imagine that in our hearts we all want to do ‘big‘ things, we want to give ‘big’, we want to see ‘big’ results, but it’s never about the ‘big‘…it’s always about the little that adds up to make the big, that’s where all of the magic is because that’s where you are.
You are the ‘big’ and we are all in this together.
Thank you for donating and cheers to you, may you be surrounded by great friends today that lead you forward and help you get up those hills. Life is good.