The only way out is through…

I realize that I have rather silent since Raleigh.  This is partly because I needed to reflect on my experience for a while and partly because I dove immediately in to preparing my dissertation proposal (I passed! WOOHOO!) and completing the paperwork required for me to gather data for my study… and then straight on to a job interview for a part time psychological testing position (I got the job!  WOOHOO!)  and then to studying for my comprehensive exams (which take place on July 16th).  Sooooooo…. I’ve been busy. 🙂

I have also been in and out of a funk.  This is partly due to the let down at my performance after such a long build up to Raleigh and partly because Justin’s deployment is coming to an end and it seems to be getting harder, again.  My friend, Ruth, a veteran military spouse, says that is pretty normal so I’m going to go ahead and cut myself some slack.

As soon as I recognized that I wasn’t feeling like myself, I started to work on getting OUT of a funk.  In order to do that, I’ve been pushing myself to do things outside of my comfort zone and to loosen up on my expectations so that I can be more “in the moment.”  It’s been tougher at some times than others.  This morning, I had planned to do my long ride with a group of cyclists that leaves from Contes bike shop in Virginia Beach.  It was going to be a challenging ride because they go out at an A pace and pick it up on the way back for a total of 55-60 miles.  It was also going to be a large group of people that I don’t really know, which puts me way out of my comfort zone in a situation like a group ride.  However, the weather conditions were less than optimal this morning and group rides were being canceled in multiple places and people were bailing, etc.  I wasn’t sure if Contes was canceling their ride but I wasn’t going to drive all the way there just to find out that the ride wasn’t happening… but I was still determined to exit my comfort zone, today.  So… I rode from home and by myself.

I hadn’t ridden from home since my very first few weeks of riding.  I had some bad experiences with the traffic near my home.  People aren’t particularly accustomed to cyclists in this area and it required more vigilance and more confidence than I had in my bike-handling.  Today, I faced my fears and rode from home!  WOOHOO!

So I tried to meet up with my coach and a few other cyclists about a half an hour ride away from here.  I waited around for a bit but nobody showed within a reasonable amount of time so I figured I would head out to Pungo and let them catch up me (they are much faster cyclists).  I got out into Pungo and I saw a very large “puddle.”  I was not deterred.  Those roads flood from time to time and I thought I would just ride through it and the roads would eventually start to get better.  It was kind of cool to see some of the swamp life up a little bit closer.  My friend Mike posted the other day that he was riding in that area and saw a water moccasin swim across the road.  While that’s a little bit scary, I’m a big fan of nature and I was like “please let me see a snake please let me see a snake!”  THEN… I started riding through it and I realized that when you can’t see the END of a puddle, it is not a puddle so much as a flooded road.  I quickly began thinking “please don’t let me see a snake please don’t let me see a snake!” haha

I didn’t realize the severity of my mistake until it was too late.  Quickly, I found that the water was coming up over my feet and I was having to shift down into my easiest gear and peddle hard to keep from coming to a dead stop.  At one point, I looked at my CycleOps Power Meter Computer and my speed was about 8 mph but my power was reading about 300 watts!  Once I realized how bad it was, I also realized that I could not stop or I would be wading my way through the rest of it.  The only way out was through.  So I get to the other size of this “puddle” and I think… okay, I’ll keep going because the roads are going to be fine now.  But they weren’t fine.  And the “puddles” kept getting longer and deeper.  I knew I had made a significant error in judgement when a blue crane actually caught a fish out of the road in front of me! lol  Well, I quickly started to take turns that would lead me back to where I started and I got out!  I survived but boy was I stressed for a while!  I tried to ride on the yellow lines in the road because it was one of the only places where I was sure I could see all the way through the water to the bottom.  I was covered in swamp water and algae when I left.  I even stopped to wipe off my water bottles so that I wouldn’t accidentally ingest that nasty stuff!  You know those little water bugs that look like tiny kayaks with paddles?  I found a few of those in my bike shorts when I took a shower.  Eww!

Once I got outta there, I was happy as a clam!  I kept riding and made it to about 70 miles in just a little under 4 hours.  I was pleased with my workout and with the experience… and I enjoyed ending my workout right at my front door!

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Home sweet home!

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Residual swamp goop.

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And Mr. Tibby did not understand why I would not cuddle with him until I had a shower.

4 thoughts on “The only way out is through…

  1. Good luck on your dissertation (been there, done that, had the mental breakdown — well, maybe not a breakdown, but my OCD was working overtime).

  2. JR Ewing says:

    Great job Courtney! I love reading your training stories! Makes me think back to my Half Ironman days (circa ’06). Keep up the hard work!

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