At 7:30 this morning I had every intention of completing a 70 mile bike ride. By 1:00PM I arrived at the 55 mile rest stop with absolutely no energy and a horrible feeling of failure. I sat on a cooler, against a truck in a sliver of shade. The oppressive heat that radiated from the black pavement and the lack of shade, for miles at a time, had taken its toll.
Did I mention the hills? This particular ride is known for its hills. Yes, hills in Texas. The ride description said “The Goatneck Bike ride is a rolling hill course which averages around 35 feet per mile of climbing.” I’ve been doing hill work. I’ve been trying to ride in the heat….it just wasn’t enough.
As I sat in that sliver of shade, pouring ice water over my head, my riding buddy (Rachael) and a nice gentleman (Pat) that I rode with off and on throughout the day, helped me realize the importance of knowing when enough is enough. Pat said to me several times how difficult it is to come back from a heat related illness. Rachael simply helped me understand taking the SAG ride to the finish line was not quitting, it was the smart choice.
As I rode in the SAG truck, I still wasn’t convinced I had made the right choice. Then we rounded a bend in the road and I saw yet another long (very long) hill. I looked at the SAG driver and said, “If I were still on my bike I think the sight of that hill would have caused me to just sit down in the middle of the road.” I had made the right choice, my legs were shot for the day.
It was a humbling experience. I hate giving up, especially when it comes to an athletic activity. One of the mantras I use is, “just keep moving forward.” Today I could not.
The first half-marathon I ran, I didn’t think I would finish. I struggled the last 3 miles and crossed the finish line with calf cramps and knee pain. Instead of deciding this wasn’t for me, I started planning how to train smarter so I would be better prepared for the next one. The same thoughts crossed my mind today. Instead of giving into my frustration and anger I started planning for next year. I started thinking about where I could do more hill work, how to strengthen my back and my core and how to return next year better and stronger.