It’s What We Absorb

I’m way behind on posts, but this will be short(ish), so it should settle my anxiety a little. It also stuck out because it’s popped up quite a few times in the last 36 hours. I figure that means something, and that this should jump to the top of my “Posts to Write” list.

I say I recover fast, and that it’s the days that I don’t get to push myself that I feel weaker and sloppy and like I’m wasting time. This is true, but there’s that line between over-reaching and over-training we have to toe, because when we cross it, bad things happen. Look at my season last year; I can think of 3 races of the top of my head I couldn’t even start because I was getting sick every 3-4 weeks from training so hard. I’m busting my ass this season too, but my coach is making sure I do it the right way. It’s what we absorb during those bouts of hardship while we stretch and grunt and twist while we reach past what we thought were our limits that make us harder, better , faster, stronger (you’re allowed to sing the song; I am ;).

One of my teammates (I really wish which girl it was; I apologize now for not remembering), wrote a post a few weeks back about a brutal bike ride with her husband where at one point she was sitting on the side of the road with her bike on the verge of a complete emotional melt down. Long story short, she toughed it out, rode home, and knew she could pull on that harsh time when the pain wall shows up during a race. A very similar thing happened to a friend of mine during a century a couple weeks back. I’d tell you it’s just a female thing, but I’ve had my times during a brick run where after 3 hours above race pace in the saddle, and a lack of nutrition prep, I’ve wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball on the side of the road and hope someone appears to take me home. Or the same friend I mentioned earlier that swam a 5k(and them some) open water race this past weekend(her longest by oh…2500meters!!!), who said afterwards, “I know I can do IMFL now; I’m not worried because of what I just finished”(or something along those lines). She knew that she had absorbed that trial, and can now feed off it when the time comes.

Ironic that today I read this, “We acquire the strength we have overcome.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. I had had this exact sentiment in more conversations than I can count in the past few weeks. Proven first hand by today’s events.

Cartersville (yeah…another day in Cville, another story) for my 3hr by 1hr brick, and 90minutes in the sky is black and blue, wind blowing me all over the road, and it starts raining. I LOATHE riding in the rain for the sole reason that the end of my first season I crashed 2x, on the same ride within a mile of each other, thanks to slick roads from rain, and ended up with scars, a cracked helmet, and a trip to the ER for brain scans. Took me almost 5months to get the bike off the trainer, and on the roads, even in perfect weather. (the first ride was in a race, it had rained the night before, and it was all hills and sharp turns on the course. I slid sideways down the first hill, watching my rear tire swing around ahead of my handlebars, and slid to a stop in the grass at the bottom. Earned my 1st and only DNF because my heart wouldn’t stop pounding, and I couldn’t get back on my bike). Today, it started raining during my ride, and besides being on an amazing bike, with a super-low center of gravity because its a 650c Kestrel Airfoil SL PRO, I embraced the rain. I didn’t panic and have a flash back of my previous crashes; I didn’t even curse the sky. I smiled. And then I shifted down to a smaller gear and pedaled faster.

Enjoy the hard times, because without them, we wouldn’t know what we’re really made of. And we wouldn’t have anything to pull from when the unexpected hardships inevitably rear their heads in our paths.

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