The Lessons Of Discouragement

It’s a quiet Friday afternoon and I’m taking some time to work on this post which you, my faithful 1.5 readers, will be seeing Monday morning when you open your eyes and are tripping over the dog on your way to get  the lovely black gold we call coffee.

The day just cannot start without the stuff, can it? Oh let’s be real, the whole day is fair game for coffee. 😉

I’m much cleaner now than I was a few hours ago, sweaty and salt crusted from my time out on the road doing my brick training this morning ( bike/run)

Clean AND fed. It’s a good place to be.

Oh and coffee. Yes I have that too so I’m ready to get on with todays topic now….

As I’ve shared in previous posts I’ve taken on the lofty athletic goal this year of a duathlon ( a run/bike/run event) Some of my training days involve brick work because well how else am I going to make my body do that stuff on race day?

I’m going to share a few thoughts? A life reflection? learned on the road today. Perhaps you’ll relate or maybe at best and hopefully, it might encourage you.

It goes without saying  based on where I live, that my training during the summer will be hot. Not just hot, but hot and humid. I’ve been on the road at 6:30 a.m. and still manage to be a sweat fest. So pretty much no matter the time I can simply know the workouts will be hot and sweaty.

I’m ok with that, really. Fortunately, I’m pretty well acclimated to it. However, even in that condition some days are just flat out harder than others.

As I geared up to hit the road this morning there were a few things already going on with me. The biggest being,  half my head felt like it had cotton balls in it from some sinus stuff that came out of nowhere. Add to that, all that junk going into my stomach ( gross. sorry. it is) but it does a good job making me feel queasy. Add to that, the little food I had eaten pre workout had settled like a rock in my belly.

Even with that…

I got my gear on, grabbed the bike, and took off. It always amazes me at how things seem to fade away as soon as I clip in and take that first stroke hitting the road. I let the bike settle in under me and let my body get into the rhythm of the ride.

As the miles unfolded both the day and I were getting hot. I did 25.25 miles on this ride. Not flat roads but also with lots of big hills thrown in. Most of my ride is on the actual duathlon course.

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Somewhere out on the course….

 

 

I wrapped the ride, landed where my car was parked, quickly put my bike in, changed to my running shoes and was back on the road a few minutes later.

My legs have adapted well to the change from bike to run but it still takes a little time to let them settle into a new activity…especially after coming off a long hard ride.

My run is only 2 miles with more hills… but have mercy… when I’m already hot from the ride and the sun is beating down…. all I want to do is move quickly to get back.

I sometimes wish I had some shirt on that passing cars saw that said something like…

“Be nice to me I just crawled off my bike and now I’m running”

But I did it, (even if my GPS for some reason decided on my last mile to not pick  up parts of it even though I knew the exact distance) I Knocked out the run and as always that great sense of satisfaction from doing both of those activities settled over me.

Tired. Sweaty. Thirsty. And appreciative of my body for what it could do.

As I cool down one of the things I do is check my stats from my ride and run. Strava is great to track all of my athletic activities as well as the fact it lets me see what others do and how I stack up against them on those routes.

It’s like that proverbial carrot dangling in front of me 😉

As my numbers came up, I was admittedly, a little frustrated. My frustration as it does when I’m upset, can turn to tears. Where my segments certainly weren’t “bad”, I had no new PR’s.

I should say, the last time I did all of the course, I had multiple PR’s. Having no new ones  sorta fueled my fire of frustration.

Although I knew I hadn’t been a 100% physically on top of my game, and that the heat also affected me, I was still frustrated to have not done better.

I probably should interject here… I’m a wee bit competitive with myself …and have high expectations whenever I step into any of my athletic activities.

I sat on the warm pavement next to my vehicle,  looking at those numbers, clutching my recovery drink and choking back those hot tears.

What was it going to take? How long did I have to work and push to get over that next hurdle of being a little stronger, and  faster?

I questioned being out that morning and maybe I should’ve just stayed in or done something a bit less physically demanding.

I looked at some numbers with only seconds separating me from the times I had been previously. I never thought much about “seconds” but I’ll tell you, in the athletic world, they count for a lot. One second can drop you into a new category or move you into first place from second.

They matter a lot.

As I felt that weight ( and I’m sure being wrung out and hot from everything didn’t help my mood) settle over me the more sane part of my brain began to speak to me…..

The fact alone I had just ridden over 25 miles and then run 2 was an accomplishment not many kick started their day with! Regards of my ideals for my times, I had still done it.

The training counted and it mattered that I was out there.. even if I didn’t think ( in my mind) that it was one of my best workouts.

I realized that my stubbornness and grit to be on the road was an asset that served me well in the rest of my daily life.

Life takes a certain level of stubbornness and grit to get through.

I hadn’t quit.

We’ve all been there, right? Something seems tough. There’s something we know is going to require a lot from us and it seems easier to find a reason to not do it. Quitting seems like an easy way out.

You’re nodding your head… you’ve been in the same boat too…

But that’s when you dig deep, sometimes really deep, and pull out all you’ve got to do what needs to be done.

Making an excuse to not be out there would’ve made me feel worse than not doing it. I never finish a workout that I haven’t been happy for doing it.

Even if my times weren’t as impressive as previously.

That’s when it hit me.

How far I’ve come.

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How much progress I’ve made. The changes I’ve gone through. The strength and speed I have gained.

What I’ve learned through the process.

Each step moves me towards my goal and those steps are made up of good and sometimes not so good moments. But they all are leading to my goal.

I learn more about what I’m made of when I have to work harder or push myself out of my comfort zone.

The lesson for you.

I’m thinking as you’re sitting there reading this, sipping from your now tepid cup of coffee, that you may have been or be in a similar place.

You are pursuing a goal, working towards something important, have a new vision.

Discouragement, weariness, self doubt, feelings of inadequacy, questioning your sanity… all of those things might creep in on you.

It’s in those times my friend, that we learn more of what we’re made of. If we’re strong, we push back and reset our focus and continue our forward movement. If we don’t feel so strong, new strength can be born in us, giving us more confidence in our abilities.

It’s a time of growth and change… if we allow it to be.

Don’t give up and don’t give in even if you get discouraged.

And me? How am I ?

After those truths settled over me, I wiped off my sweaty, salty face and made my way home to shower and plot my next training session.

Are you doing something now that sometimes frustrates you? Do you get discouraged when you feel like you haven’t done your best? How do you handle it ? Have you learned lessons out on the road ?

 

 

 

The Accidental Cyclist

It came up again in casual conversation as it almost always does….

“So, when did you start cycling? I guess you’ve been at it awhile?”  ( you can also interchange “running” as well with these questions)

Ok, I’ll admit I love the opportunity to share sports I’m passionate about especially if it encourages someone to want to get out and try it. It’s obviously  fun for me when the person is involved in whatever activity  and we can “talk shop”.  I use those times to pick brains and learn more from someone who might have more experience in the field than I do.

So when the question came up I shared  I had only gotten my “real” racing bike a year ago but there was a catalyst that propelled me to that because before then I felt like…

A Wanna Be Biker Chick

I usually back up to the fact that running is my passion, and as passions go I had thrown myself whole  heartedly into my love and also picked up an injury that had majorly side lined me from my passion. (Heavy training for a marathon, straight into a 50k… but it was so worth it)

I had a bike, a cheap little mountain bike, that I used for cross training days when I’d give my legs a break from running. There were honestly weeks that went by I didn’t see the bike. I loved running. I didn’t consider myself a cyclist. I was a runner.

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My mountain bike that would start it all…

 

I was at Walmart one day and realized they had cheap little “road” bikes for sale.

Ahhhh perfect I thought. This will get me moving more on the bike and I can maybe start training for “something”.

A road bike was, for me, an upgrade from a mountain bike.  I still did not see myself as more than a casual bike rider. But none the less, I started packing some miles on it. About my only nod to looking like a cyclist was wearing a helmet ( for heavens sake…always…wear a helmet no matter what)

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See. I told you. Nothing but running gear, a helmet, and my trusty road bike from Walmart.

 

I’d see “real” cyclists flying down the road in their sleek clothes, bright helmets, feet clipped into pedals, on bikes that were the price of a good used car and think those are REAL cyclists….

I still felt like a wanna be biker chick.

I took my trusty new road bike to a local shop in town for a “tune up” before I started pushing more miles on it.

The tune up cost me what the bike did.  Seriously.

By that time I had been logging some real miles, using it as a substitute to fill my craving for all the  miles I wasn’t getting on the road running. I was already entertaining the very lofty goal of the duathlon if my feet would just heal up already.

I shared this tidbit with Mr. Knowledgeable Bike Shop Man … he nicely said..” I don’t think this bike is going to work for what you’re wanting to do.”  He then of course started showing me nice pricey little bikes he had available and I just thought he was trying to upsell me and make some money.

Ah. Little did I know.

A year rolls by…..

I had been seriously abusing my little bike. I was logging anywhere from 45-55 miles a week on it. I was getting hooked. I still had my duathlon dreams lurking in the back of my mind and the bike gave me the adrenaline of miles without beating my body up.

As things happen in life I came across a nicer road bike for re-sale. I had taken it in to another bike shop to have them look at it and to see if it would fit me (when you have a long body and long legs you gotta consider these things!)

Of course, the bike was to small for me.

As luck would have it, he had a bike that would fit me perfectly. He wheels out this bright, shiny red  Cannondale that looked like the equivalent of a sports car to me. With a few tweaks and adjustments he hands it over to me telling me to “take it out for a spin”.

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So pretty… just waiting for miles….

 

I am hardly dressed to ride that day in slim fitting black pants and combat boots but he didn’t have to tell me twice. It only took minutes in the saddle to feel the difference and know this was a game changer.

This would help me get to my goals.

As I came zipping back in feeling like a kid with my hair flying everywhere ( the only time I rode without a helmet) I knew I had to have that bike.

Yet still nagging in the back of my mind… you aren’t reallllyyy a cyclist….

The bike was on sale. He had a limited number. I left that day and basically started selling random possessions no longer needed and squirreling that money away. Within a month I had not only the money for the bike, but also for cycling shoes ’cause I was doing it all.

I was getting the racing bike and shoes to clip in.. geez I thought running shoes were expensive!

As luck would have it, when I got to the bike shop he had one left. He has told me over and over how glad he is I got it, that it was still there for me.

He (still) tells anyone in the shop when I’m in… “DUDE! She was riding 50ish miles a week on a Walmart bike!”

To which I get looks that you would receive if you said you had just hiked the Himelaya mountains… one does not simply ride that many miles on a Walmart bike.  I have sense learned… things fall apart on them at the most inopportune times… like when my handle bars started turning every which way but loose and I had like 5 miles to keep riding back trying to hold them in place. Good times. They are designed for spins around the neighborhood with your kids but not beating the life out of them 25+ miles at a time.

Maybe I am a cyclist…...

Hanging out in a bike shop talking with like minded people who don’t think you’re crazy, who are ridiculously smart on the topic, and push you to your athletic goals is a cool thing. I realized that they completely considered me one and were willing to help and teach me things ( as in learning to change a tire)  I was in recently talking about my training and he referred to me as a duathlete and I looked around thinking he meant someone else.

I told hubby later and he was like… “uh… you ARE a duathlete.”

 

We just celebrated our one year anniversary together.

No. Not me and the hubby, me and the Cannondale that is. I’ve put over 1500 miles on it which compared to some riders, isn’t a lot, but for me it represents lots of training miles, lots of discipline and learning new things. I’ve become stronger and more confident in what I’m doing. I take it in frequently for it’s free tune ups and to talk bike stuff with people who still know more than me. Since I have (officially) signed up for my first duathlon which is in November, I have a team at the shop that will make sure my bike is in top condition for the event. That’s kinda cool, I think.

So I’ve been burning up the road. A wounded runner turned cyclist…turned duathlete…maybe I really am one now….

But I’m more of a rebellious, nonconforming cyclist……

First, I break all cycling rules by acknowledging another cyclist who’s sailing by me. I mean… we are passing each other… can’t miss one another… but I’m always blown away at how many seemingly look right through me. Runners are so different on this score… in the cycling world I think it’s some unwritten law to not acknowledge each other…

I do have more gear now. The helmet of course. I just got a cool new Giro a few months ago. Of course I have their cycling shoes as well and even though learning to clip and unclip and all that goes with it was a learning process, it definitely helps deliver a lot more power on the bike. Now I can’t imagine not riding clipped in.  A lot different than riding in my running shoes from a year ago!

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Ok, maybe I do get a little excited over new gear 😉

 

But you will most likely find me on these warm days in nothing more than my sports bra and my running shorts. Yeah, my running shorts. I do have cycling shorts but training for a duathlon and having to run, I find my running shorts work better. So I’m training like I will race. Although, November is gonna come around and change things up 😉

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A lesser known thing about cycling, learning to perfect your selfie skills on the bike 😉

 

Cycling can get crazy expensive so I invested into the stuff that matters ( a good bike, shoes, helmet) and I fly on the cheap with the rest of it. I love some of the cute cycling kits available but prices on them are crazy so… until I get a sponsor for my fav’s … I’ll keep trolling Ebay for cute ones with good deals 😉

I am a cyclist.

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Cycling girl. And in my most recent acquisition from Ebay. How cute is this jersey??

 

 

The “wanna be biker chick” idea left a long time ago.

Even if I accidentally stumbled into the world of cycling, I’m here. I’m in it. I’ve found another sport I actually enjoy and it turns out, I’m pretty good at.

As the guys at the bike shop tell me “You wanna be better? You spend more time on the road. You ride. You push yourself. You learn.”

So I continue the journey, on foot and bike. constantly grateful for the opportunity to do both and excited to see where I can go from here.

With open roads, the challenges are unlimited.

Tell me, have you accidentally stumbled into something only to find a new passion?

The Thing That Scares You

“Fear will either create you or destroy you.”

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I hadn’t been in long from my morning workout, recovery drink in hand, when I finally landed in a chair and searched up the race I had started training for.

I ran my hand down my legs which were still gritty and grimy from time out on the road and covered in a heavy dose of dried salt …a shower would come soon but first…

My  running and cycling that morning had been a part of my training for a local duathlon… my first duathlon.

Of course the fact it was listed as “the toughest in the state” or that it was the “championship race” for this  type of event somehow hadn’t scared me off yet.

The website boldly unfolded in front of me… pictures popped  up of familiar scenery I was used to seeing out on my runs or cycling adventures.

I felt the excitement stir in me of taking on something new and challenging.

It was immediately followed by tears as I watched young, fast athletes speeding by.

Tears.

What was I thinking?? I’m skating into territory I have no experience in nor am I one of these young trained triathletes. I’ve never, ever done an event like this. I’m crazy.

For the love of chocolate, I’m an ordinary middle aged Mom/grandmother, what I am thinking??

This course is tough. I have a healthy dose of respect/fear for it.

Not in a weird way, but just a respect knowing that it will be by far, the hardest athletic challenge I’ve gone through.

If I’m honest with you, as I was myself, there was that component of feeling scared.

But…why?

What was scaring me? What did I feel afraid of?

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Ok, yes I understood it would be crazy hard. So maybe there was feeling scared of what if’s…

What if I couldn’t do it? What if I failed? What if I was last? Or worse, didn’t finish?

What. If.

I sat there comparing myself to younger athletes instead of giving myself credit for all I could do and was very capable of doing. I sat there forgetting my own strength and power that I had earned through hours and hours of training.

I lost sight of what I preach to everyone else… you are your competition. You only need to focus on your times, your speeds, your abilities.

No one else’s matter.

Unless you’re an elite. Then it matters very much hahaha 😛

I’ve never been concerned about anyone else’s times or paces. I don’t mentally pit myself against others and decide I’m lacking in some way so this was a foreign feeling to me.

I wiped my face which felt as gritty from dried sweat as my legs did… that shower would need to be soon….

I reminded myself that I was my only competition and if I never started, and never did it, and let some vague fear scare me off I’d never know what new levels I could take myself to.

I’ve had moments in the past as I considered the marathon, and then the 50K. If those don’t raise a tiny bit of feeling scared in you, I don’t know what will.

Thing is, I never, ever allowed myself to camp in the fear zone. I stomped it down, trained, and did it.

So here I am. Registration is now open and I’ve made the official commitment.. you know…. coughing up the money 😉

I know it will be hard but I’m looking forward to seeing how I can do with this. I’ve taken time to remember, I haven’t come out of an athletic back round but only started when I was in my mid 40’s and consider all I’ve been privileged to do.

Doing it is the thing. No matter what, when I cross that finish line, I will win.

I win because I stomped down fears and feelings of inadequacy and I will have accomplished something I’ve never done and I will be stronger for it.

It beats sitting around wondering if I COULD do it and missing out on all I learn in the process. Rest assured, you will be getting updates on my training in the upcoming months. Race day is Nov. 19.

So I’ll leave you with this…

Do you let fears hamper you from pursuing something bigger than you? Have you allowed them to and not gone after something you wanted?

Or… have you stomped down fears and chased something down you wanted? How did you feel?

What did you do to remind yourself you could do it? How did you overcome it?

Tell me I’m not the only one who’s encountered this 😉

“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.” ~ Scott Jurek

 

Running Vs. Cycling

The question has come around a little more frequently now days… I don’t mind….

“Do you like running or cycling more?”

I don’t know. I mean, each one is it’s own kinda brutal animal.

Running… I totally identify as a runner… a freaking currently wounded one… but a runner none the less. This is a sport that demands as much from me physically as it does mentally. Truth be known, I love the physical demands of it.

 

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Running molded and shaped me in a way nothing ever had. It built a ferocious confidence that I could take on the world… maybe I should say distance running did that to me. The discipline, sacrifice and drive that comes with distance running..  nothing compares to it.

In some ways, you come to understand things about yourself out there on the road in that solitude. Those early morning runs, before the sun comes up, are often the most soul revealing times I’ve experienced.

Running has taught me about strength, perseverance, dedication, determination, and sacrifice. It has shown me I’m stronger and more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined about my abilities.  It not only shaped my body, but my mind.

Running… if it needs stated…. is hard.

Yeah, you get stronger and it starts to feel “easier” in some ways but there is always a big physical demand required from your body. Ha, and it’s always those first few miles that leave you thinking… why???  and then… I get in my “zone” and my body just takes over and settles into what it’s been trained for and there’s this … high.. that comes from that.

If you run, you get it. If you don’t, I can’t really explain it to you.

I’m hungry to get back to it.

Then there’s cycling. It came in a most subtle way to my life. A side project. Something to do occasionally when I wasn’t on foot. Another form of cross training for me for running.

When the injury kept me from running, it was a no brainer to pick up more on the bike. These past few months it’s become my solace and outlet for what I can’t get from running.

It’s given me the miles I crave and certainly at a much faster speed than being on foot. It’s offered new challenges and goals.  I’ve found that the strength my body built from running has made cycling a rather seamless, easy move for me.  I realized I’m kinda good at it and figure with more practice I could be fairly competitive out there.

 

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Of course, riding a machine has it’s own “challenges” over just taking my body out on the road and running. Cycling, you get a little rest time at some points, whereas running, you’re on your feet going with no time to take it easy.   Both sports demand much physically.

But what I love most? It’s put me back into an endurance sport again. Maybe it’s a sickness? But I love training and putting in long miles.. seriously there’s nothing I look forward to more than a long training ride or run.

I just love the feeling of pouring myself into it and the tired, but exhilarating feeling that comes after I’m done.

Hello everyone I may be an endurance sport junkie. Get her some help 😛

So the question… what do I like best?

I’m in love with both now.

I embrace the challenges that go along with each sport and appreciate the different aspects of them. I mean, really, why settle with just one ? 😉

I look forward to training into both and hopefully doing a duathlon which molds both seamlessly together.

It’s a good fit for me..  I look forward to seeing what I can accomplish in the future in the world of cycling AND running.

Tell me… do you prefer one over the other? What is your favorite athletic activity?

 

 

Cycling Adventures

If you missed my post a week or two back… I got a new bike.  A cool red and black Cannondale that weighs almost nothing. My first venture into professional bikes.

I feel like one of the big kids out on the road

In the few weeks since I got it, the two of us have been on some adventures together. In the first week it was really about getting to know one another… somewhat like a new relationship.

I kept my rides shorter… 7-9 miles… as I got used to shifting (ugh this is still something I’m learning) and letting my body get used to the new positioning on this bike ( you seem to use muscles in a different way, and something TOTALLY  new for me, being clipped in to my pedals.

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Ready, set, clip.

 

I now understand, and know why cyclists walk they way they walk haha… those shoes with the clips…

There is, I believe, a skillful art to getting on your bike, clipping a foot, beginning to pedal, and clipping in the other.

I wanna ace that move seamlessly… I’m so… close.

So… I do know this.. when you fall over… you come unclipped haha

It really was silly on my part… I was getting on my bike in our side yard which is horribly uneven…my new bike is also taller than my cheapy old one so I have to stretch a bit more… I had one side clipped.. somehow over corrected.. and BOOM… I was down… and unclipped.

Yes I was fine and so was my bike… but I was annoyed with myself. You have to understand I have a high expectation level for myself. I want to nail things pretty close in the first couple attempts, especially when I’m doing something new.

Let’s just say now I’m hitting the road, and clipping while I’m pedaling.. I’m getting there 😛

The second week in I was itching to just do some long miles and see how it all felt. I made my first 23 mile ride on it, which was kind of amazing.

Those miles are always involve hills and lots on constant inclines… not a bad thing.. but definitely work for the body.

 

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Yes, those are hills behind me. Yes, I ran off without my gloves, watch and water on this ride. At least my head was covered.

 

 

I’m still learning the fine art of shifting and hills and getting the right gear for when I hit it .. you know .. just the right amount to pedal.. but not be so hard it shuts  me down.

I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo…

Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming swimming swimming,
What do we do we swim swim swim

Only for me… just put pedaling in there haha

I did my second long ride this past week. I guess it’s a good thing to be finished and still wanting to do more?

Ok as mentioned, the bike is super light, and I’m really learning to move my legs faster to get that speed going.

That speed, is a head rush, a cheap adrenaline thrill.

And then, when you’re flying off big hills, yeah I pretty much lay low and enjoy the blurry ride down.

Admit it. If you’re a cyclist you do too. It’s the reward for torturing yourself going up hills  😉

I’ve learned to skillfully pull my water bottle out of the cage, drink, drop it in all the while pedaling and not crashing.

I call that a win.

I think as I start getting out farther and need to eat, it will be way easier than doing it while running.

Of course being on a bike also means having eyes all over my head to dodge cars and wild life.

Today a deer and I had a close encounter when I went flying onto a side road. I had moments to ponder… ” are you gonna move deer?”

That keeps things interesting.

Clothing. Other than wanting to get set up with the right shoes for the job, I’ve kinda been winging it in my running attire. And since it’s like… crazy warm and summer time… it’s a sports bra and boy shorts for the adventures.

I can’t help it. I just love feeling the sun and wind on my skin…. and the sweat. Let’s not forget all the sweat haha

I did actually purchase my first pair of cycling shorts, I’m thinking if I’m gonna be on that bike for a lot longer mileage, they will come in handy 😛

So for now, in the upcoming weeks, my goal is to keep moving my miles up, pushing myself on speed, heading into more hills to get super skillful on shifting with them, and looking for my first race to actually ride in.

Oh… other goals? To be so good I can be flying down the road, snap a super cool road selfie, and not crash in the process.  I’m kinda jealous of some amazing road picks I’ve seen…skill level… high.

Cycling has been a good fix for me to get miles in while I’m curbed with running. I’m excited to see where I can go with it, how I can improve and ways I can challenge myself.

Tell me… have you began any new adventures in your life?

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Ready to crush some miles.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

So I took my bike out for a few miles yesterday.. first sunny day in quite a while… I soaked it up.  I also went out for some miles this morning.

Big deal you are probably thinking, slurping your morning drink, you’re always on your bike or doing something crazy.

What’s new?

True. The difference is I just bought my first, real, professional road bike. Or as one of my friends put it, “oh, you’re getting one that’s the price of a new Kia!”

Haha…. well not that much I assured him…. maybe just a good used Kia 😉

I’m excited to be getting more serious about this sport. I know I’ve written about some of my cycling adventures, but this far consider myself to have been dabbling in it. ( although some of you would laugh at my 20ish mile rides as “dabbling”)

I’ve had an inexpensive road bike I’ve ridden the wheels off of, I’ve literally used all my running gear to ride in, and other than having a helmet and something on my bike to track distance, those have been my nods at anything “cycle” related.

I just got on my bike… and started riding.

Fast forward… through a series of events… I was a local bike shop… fell in love with a sporty, fast, red and black Cannondale and knew I was going to get it and take my athletic skills with a bike to a whole new level.

And I picked my baby up on Friday.

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How beautiful 🙂

 

But not before they put me on the bike and tweaked, adjusted and made me ride it to make sure everything was in alignment for me.

I’ve never, ever had a bike that fit my 6’0 body like this one. Nor, have I ever been able to fully extend my legs on one. I can actually lean in and over the handlebars flying down the road and not feel like I’m gonna go over the front. There’s a lot more bike under me now. Of course, it’s a whole new adventure  because my body… is now positioned very differently… so I’m learning to adjust to how that feels from how I’ve been riding.

And light. Can I mention it barely weighs anything? I’m learning to make adjustments in certain ways for that.

Oh yeah. And all the shifting…let’s not forget that part. I’ve determined it’s a skill to really get it perfect.

I got some schooling on clipping my shoes into the pedals ( if you can call those tiny little things pedals haha) and I have to admit to feeling a little weirded out like… “I’m locked onto a pedal… how the heck do I get my feet disengaged? What if I crash??  And  how do I start and stop and all that stuff??” I didn’t know, and you probably don’t either, but clipping in gives you a lot more power on the bike. I’m all about utilizing my power as much as possible, so as long as I was going all out, got the pedals to clip into over the cages that came with it.

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Pedals. We’ll use that term loosely 😉

 

Eek! So much to learn.

That old adage, as easy as riding a bike ? I think that is really only applicable when you’re 8, riding a bike with a banana seat, your feet are what stops you and the only gears are how fast your legs pedal.

That’s easy.

And cycling is more complex than buying a good pair of running shoes and hitting the road haha

New challenge now accepted.

If there’s one thing I preach to people when they start looking at some type of exercise activity is to 1) make it something you want to do and will look forward to doing 2) be an excellent student of it.

That’s how I’m approaching moving deeper into the world of cycling. I’m learning from people who know, I shamelessly pick their brains,  and I intend to apply the knowledge and be the best I can at it.

I have goals.

A duathlon is definitely in my sights and now I have a team at the cycle shop who can help me become the best cyclist I can. ( A duathlon, if you don’t know, is a run, cycle, run event)

For now… I’m doing some short rides (7-10 miles) just playing with the bike, getting to know it, getting used to having my body stretched out on it, learning how it handles, LOVING how fast it moves even without pushing hard right now before I head into longer rides.

The speed is a complete head rush 😛

I can’t hardly wait to get out on some long rides… to get so comfy with the bike I can push the speed… and to really log the miles.

For now… just a few baby steps before I head that direction….soon…very soon…

That’s my new adventure for the week boys and girls 🙂

tell me.. are you starting any new athletic adventure?  or expanding on one you’ve been pursuing ?

 

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Wrapping a morning ride 🙂

Those Voices In My Head

I was only a few miles into my ride yesterday morning when they started.

The voices.

Not the “I’m crazy and hear voices” kinda voices… although…. I am crazy… but in that good kinda crazy way…anyway… I digress….

I left knowing the weather was less than impressive. Foggy, wet, drizzling, soupy… overall kinda just yucky.

The kind of weather sane people stay inside  and OUT of.

bike weather

My thought was… “oh, it’s gonna be clearing out soon” but that thought was leaving me as I watched water dripping off my helmet and I had to repeatedly pull of my glasses to clean them ( yes, even on dark and wet mornings glasses are essential on a bike)

rainy cycling

The voices started talking…. suggesting things like…

“So this weather isn’t so nice, you can just do a short ride and head home”

“Do you really feel like riding so far out ? All those hills you know? in this weather ?”

“Do you really have the time to ride so far this morning?”

“Knocking a few miles off won’t really matter… really… it won’t”

The annoying chatter continued.

I started considering some of the things rolling through my head. I guess it wouldn’t matter if I cut my ride short… would it ?  And yeah, the weather wasn’t so impressive…

I began to mentally push those thoughts away, slowly and deliberately.

You see, I have had some experience with those “voices” as my athletic adventures have unfolded these past couple years.

Those voices offer excuses. They offer an easier way out. They try and convince you that you don’t have what it takes. They tell you that you aren’t strong enough, fast enough, young enough… whatever….They try and keep you happily in your comfort zone.

Our comfort zone is where we stagnate and die.

I first heavily encountered “the voices” during my first marathon in 2013. It was the end of November and a ridiculously hot 89 degree day. Running was brutal under the solid blue sky and unending sun. By mile 21 I was praying for deliverance. … but I am to stupid, crazy, stubborn to ever give in.

The voices started reminding me that the cool down buses were “right there” where I was running. I could go in and cool off for a little and then continue the race. It would be so easy.. just stop for a few minutes. After all, I had been working so hard. 21 miles was a long way, and even longer when the heat was so unbearable.

I passed one, and kept moving. The next one, the pull was stronger. The call louder. I did feel weak… weak against the temptation of what was offered and physically… I was getting depleted on almost every level and it seemed so  easy to give in to it.

But I knew better. I knew physically if I just stopped what my muscles would do. I knew how hard it would be to start again and go back out into the heat and finish those last 5.2 miles. I knew how I’d be so displeased with myself when my time suffered ( I’m so competitive with myself)

I stomped the voices down. I refocused on my goals. I dug deeper in myself beyond what I thought I had in me to finish that race. And I did… it was the sweetest feeling ever crossing that finish line physically, emotionally, and mentally spent. It was one of the most victorious moments of my life.

Marathon 2013 -2
Exhausted, yet feeling over the top victorious, after a brutally hot first marathon.

 

 

 

 

You know what I gained that day? Strength. Strength in knowing that I could overcome and prevail and I had more in me than I understood at that point. I learned that there would be times those voices would rise up to convince me I couldn’t do something or didn’t have it in me and that I had to fight right back against them.

Oh, there have been many other times since then. But now I know what they’re about…those voices are from the weakest part of me… to a great degree I’ve learned to tame them, stomp them down, and press on.

So back to the bike ride…. yeah… you know now what happened. I reminded myself that if I quit, how disappointed I’d be that I had given up.  I thought of how I was not only getting physically stronger, but mentally too. That if I was to get to my goals of doing a bike race it would take hard training and training in not so ideal weather. I reminded myself that I would run in weather like I had that morning, cycling wasn’t so different ( ok yeah maybe I shouldn’t take those curves and stuff as fast 😉

The more I pedaled, water dripping off me in the foggy morning, the more determined I got and the quieter the voices became.

I finished up my full ride of about 20 miles… and it felt pretty darn good on more levels than one…. and by the time I was done… I had dried out 😉

A reminder, perhaps to you. When you feel like giving up and quitting, don’t. Your biggest competitor is within you…. that is who you work against every single time.

When the voices rise up against you ( and I know… some of you will totally get this) push back, work hard, and don’t give in to them.

There’s a new, stronger you, waiting to emerge.