This has been quite the week for me! I’ve learned to clip into Speedplay bike pedals (like a big girl)! I rode my longest ride ever and I attacked a bay swim in seriously choppy waters that our dear Mary Wagner compared to “swimming in a washing machine!”
Saturday was probably one of the best days I’ve had in quite a long time. One of the most exciting things about exploring multi-sports is that I now have the opportunity to spend time working out with individuals that I would, otherwise, seldom see! I was quite blessed and encouraged by the bravery that Mary and Jason both showed in taking on the challenge of a bay swim with big waves and a strong current on Saturday morning. I definitely couldn’t have done the swim without them (nor would I have even tried to do the swim by myself for safety reasons)! I left the bay and headed to meet up with Bryan who drove us out to Matthews County, VA for a scenic day of riding. Again, I could not have cycled for almost five hours without his company and his confidence in our ability to meet our mileage goal!
I began our Saturday ride with a lack of confidence in my ability to effectively clip-in to my pedals and, more importantly, to unclip in a timely manner so as not to fall sideways when coming to a stop. Sixty-seven miles later, I felt quite confident in my ability to manage clipping and unclipping. This may seem like a mundane accomplishment but this unclipping business has been intimidating me for years! It’s a miniature, yet significant, accomplishment for me – a milestone in my journey toward a half-ironman. I have to confess that I DID fall, but I want to clarify that it wasn’t because I had failed to unclip in time. You see, Dai told me a few days prior to my Saturday excursion that “Triathletes get on and off their bike from the left” in order to avoid the gears on the right when they are moving quickly. I had been in the habit of putting my right foot down, first, and so unclipping my left foot was less intuitive. Still, I was determined to make this change before I had further solidified my tendency to dismount on the right side. Success! A few hours into our ride on Saturday, I was successfully unclipping my left foot first with very little deliberate effort to do so. Unfortunately, I had not yet gotten into the habit of shifting my weight to the left when coming to a stop! Bryan and I were slowing at a scenic dead-end on one of the bike routes and I unclipped my left foot, rode into a patch of thick sand while gazing in amazement at the beautiful landscape… and promptly toppled to the right because that’s where my weight had shifted! Oops!! Thankfully, I couldn’t have fallen on a softer surface if I had landed on a mattress! I gently plopped onto a pile of thick sand and tall grass. There: I fell! I’ve done it and I can move on, right?!
There were a lot of take-aways this weekend with regard to training, nutrition, rest, etc. However, the biggest take away for me was related to the experience of gratitude. Have you ever been feeling sorry for yourself and had someone try to comfort you by saying “Someone, somewhere has it worse”…? I’ve heard it before and I didn’t find it helpful so much as 1) annoying and 2) terribly depressing! What I realized this weekend, though, is that this is very true but poorly phrased. I prefer this reframe: “Someone, somewhere is thankful for less!”
Hardships happen. I’m fortunate in that the injury that is currently preventing me from running is temporary. I know many who are not as fortunate and yet manage to carry on with great enthusiasm. I must remind myself, repeatedly because I fight ungratefulness on a daily basis, that I have many things for which I can be thankful. I’m sure you can see how this would apply across the board and not just to athletics. So, if you catch me whining… remind me of some of the many things for which I should be thankful: supportive and encouraging friends and family, the resources to explore new experiences, the knowledge that I will run again, etc.
With that said, I’m grateful for my training rest day, today!