First off, let me say Hi! How are you? And, of course, thanks for reading my blog! I really wanted to type this one up yesterday to get it off my chest but decided to sleep on it to see if I could simply let it be. Unusual for me since I am generally quick to let folks know how I am feeling, either intentionally or simply by virtue of the fact that my facial expressions speak volumes about my state of mind! 🙂
An important lesson I have learned over the course of the last several years and especially in the last few months since beginning the training for my 100 mile race in December (Brazos Bend 100!!), is to minimize my own expectations of events and of people. Once we have set a specific expectation (usually loftier than should be allowed!) we have also set ourselves up to feel a certain kind of way when all things do not go as planned. I know, I know – control what you can and let go of what is out of your control. Easier said than done for someone like me who plans, almost everything.
Allow me to tell you what occurred and you be the judge. I have been cycling and running for the last 5 years with various groups in our local community. Initially, the cycling was done primarily to prepare for various triathlons but I quickly realized that swimming is not in my realm of successful sports and since my last triathlon a couple years ago I have stuck to cycling and running. Do what you are good at right? So, yesterday we join the three local cycling groups for a combined ride. There are riders of various abilities and, in my experience, there has always been the expectation that nobody will be left behind.
Men, and fellow cyclists like Bill C, David R, JC and numerous others, have all taken their turns at bringing up the rear of a group of cyclists to ensure that everyone makes it back to the starting point safely and without getting lost somewhere in the middle. It is with this expectation that I feel comfortable going out on these rides. You see, I am fast on the bike, (in spurts) but I am usually chasing the wheel of one person or another in front of me and I often don’t remember exactly where to turn on a given route. Geographically challenged- I am.
The group yesterday wound up being split up because there was a group that wanted to go further than the 25 miles and it just so happened that I was in that group that wanted to go further. Unfortunately, there was really only one or two people out of 8 who knew the route from start to finish. This was fine initially because we were all within a half mile of each other. Then, something happened – I waited on another rider who was behind me – and dropped my chain as I was shifting. It’s really only a matter of jumping off the bike and readjusting the chain, putting it back on the sprocket, then jumping back on and starting back up.
From this moment on, I could not see the group ahead of us. Okay. Alright. I told myself that they would surely be waiting at the next intersection……Nope. Nobody there either. It’s okay, I bet they just kept going slowly so as to keep the legs from getting cold. Next intersection – they will be waiting there for sure. Again, we arrived at the next intersection to find….nobody waiting. I truly only had a general idea of where we were by now and I was fuming. I actually stopped, took out my trusty Iphone and looked at the GPS to get a handle on where we were going to wind up. I was absolutely furious!!
You see, whether I am riding or running the trails with others, I make sure that the people I am with either know the route or I stay with them until they are comfortable with their surroundings. If there is a chance that they are struggling – they do NOT get left behind – EVER. I have walked the last 3 miles back to the trail head with a friend who was just having an off day and couldn’t muster the energy to run. I have ridden my bike at 8 mph at the very back of a group of people with someone who was just getting back on the bike after a long absence and was not fast enough to stay with the larger group.
That’ll teach me
The other lesson is about personalizing your lifestyle, and not nearly as long of a rant I promise. 🙂 I just want to say that no matter what your sport of choice is, find out what works for you, eat the foods that work for you, use the training tools and training plans that work for Y-O-U, supplement or not depending on your personal preferences. We are all individuals and what works for one may not necessarily work for you – God made each of us unique. Experiment during training so by the time you hit your race or primary event, you have your training and nutrition “dialed in” to your unique needs. Train like you will race……
Peace and blessings…..until next time