Don’t give up on yourself. No one else has.
If you read my post ‘Saying Farewell to the Silver Strand’, you will recall that I was quite happy about the progress I had made riding the flatter, faster routes. I was super excited that I had really started to become comfortable riding on my husband James’ wheel. I have done a lot of riding with him over the years, but the winter of 2016 was the first time that I had really been able to stick so close to him so much of the time. My Silver Strand post was a celebration of this accomplishment, and also a bit of a sad goodbye to sunny San Diego.
After a lot of driving with some stops along the way that were completely packed full of various activities, we found ourselves back home again. The journey was exhausting. I had been experiencing regular doses of feeling run down. By the time we got home, and our dwelling had been made liveable again, I felt completely finished. I was planning to rest for a few days.
When a group ride came up that I simply didn’t want to miss, I jumped on it. I was really surprised how good I felt during the ride. After the ride, however, my body crashed. I was totally finished. This time I decided that I had to take a few days, and I was sticking to my decision.
After a couple of days off, I felt much better. With a cycling trip coming up in about a month, I knew I had to get back into a bike routine. I just couldn’t afford too much time out of the saddle. The cycling trip would require me to cycle multiple days in a row, potentially up to a full week, or more. My husband was really excited about this trip, and in fact, he had planned out additional riding to the planned itinerary for the two of us. I really, really, really wanted to be able to ride with him as much as possible. I also wanted to be able to keep the gap small when we were on a portion of a route or a climb during which he decided to stretch his legs.
I had clear goals for this cycling trip. I knew it would be hard. I knew that I needed to be physically strong, mentally focused, and confident in myself.
In preparation, I focused on riding for a couple of hours a day, as many consecutive days as possible. I needed to get myself used to riding many days in row again. I also needed to add in some climbing since the last while we had mostly being riding the flatter routes.
During my second training ride, there were moments when I felt really good, and there were moments when I didn’t. The second half of the ride felt really hard. There was absolutely no way that I was going to cut the ride short. But, I was feeling discouraged and at times I focused far too much on how hard it was. I tried to keep redirecting my thoughts more positively. I kept telling myself to just focus on the piece of road ahead of me. I kept reminding myself to simply chip away at this.
I met my goals in terms of the number of kilometres I was to cycle, and the number of meters I was to climb. Then, and only then, did I head towards home. When I analyzed my data, I was disappointed in my speed. It simply validated how hard the ride felt for me.
As I was discussing the ride with my husband, as usual he had such encouraging and positive advice. He told me to simply go out there everyday as I had planned. He reminded me that the altitude change was a factor, as were the temperature difference and the wind. He made me feel like it didn’t matter if I was slower than I wanted to be. He made me feel like all that mattered was that I was doing it day after day, and that I would see the progress soon.
I knew he was right. As was my friend, Ania, who basically told me the same thing. She suggested that I don’t overthink how I am feeling, and to give myself a chance to adjust to the altitude difference. I was surrounded by people who simply believed in me. They knew I could ride the way I wanted to.
I had no reason not to believe in myself. Everyone else did.
Whatever it is that you want to do, but your lack of belief in yourself is in your way, please go out and do it. I knew I would be back on my bike the next day. And I knew that I would be blogging about my success on the cycling trip if I just kept chipping away at it (An Island Cycling Adventure). So, go out there and do it!!! You know you can!
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Very good article, persistence is the most valuable quality.
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