“I don’t like hard,” is what I found myself thinking today at some point in my “Bridges of Martin County” meetup ride this morning where I found myself struggling to keep up with my cohorts, unable to catch my breath, and in last place. I didn’t care about the rank, as I knew that would be where I would fall, but I will say having absolutely no visual of my cohorts at some point within the first 10 – 15 minutes was not where I was thinking I would fall at all, but I would press on. I committed to at least an hour only due to my knee condition and trying to rehab it, and I would do it with or without them.
I want to say, firstly, that biking is my favorite sport, probably. It’s the only 1 I have found myself breaking out in smiles, as I glide freely over the pavement, but when I have to push it, and struggle, and people are passing me left and right, even when one tells you repeatedly, “Holly, I am passing on your left, and I have to tell him, “Yeah, that’s my right,” as he struggles to narrowly zoom by me, on the right, and I wonder how someone our age can do so well in biking without knowing his left from his right, but I am just trying to stay upright and not get smooshed as one and all pass me by, over and over, again, until I figure they are all past me. I keep steady until finally, the last biker passes me by, and I find myself peddling up ever so slowly over the bridge as they are leaving me far behind. Once I made my ascent, I bid them adieu as they took a right after their descent from the bridge, and headed toward the beach.
As I made my eventual way in the same direction, I’d eventually wished I put on my odometer I got yesterday. They were nowhere in sight. How, exactly, slowly was I going? I figured I’d be pacing with them the whole time and would only be a little far behind and would not need it because I’d be in the range of the 16 – 22 mph if I were even on their back tails, but nowhere in sight?! Peddle on!
I knew I would find them again because they had to turn around after the beach and head back. I did catch up with them at that point, and we hollered at each other, and they sped away again really quickly, and I lost sight of them, again, in no time. I did have one woman in my view for much of the time, but still was ahead of me about a ½ mile, and she had a good 15 years on me – older! I was the youngest of the bunch, and the least in peddling shape! I peddled on knowing I’d again catch them in Jensen Beach in a mile or two. So, I peddled on, and that is when I thought, “I don’t like hard.” It may have been the dread I felt as I would still have to peddle all the way to Jensen beach and then turn around and hit those two bridges again. My leisurely, steady pace I would ride alone wasn’t sufficient for these guys. I did get this bike because I wanted to ride fast, but apparently, I have a ways to catch up!
I was doing my best, and peddled harder trying to make an effort, after thinking, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and admitting too that though I know He can get me through it, I didn’t want to do it because I was having a hard time of it, and I don’t like hard! His grace was sufficient! I quickly got myself off that thought because I knew that that would only lead to misery. So, I focused more on Christ and His grace and being in the moment of doing what I could, and decided to push a little harder, I focused then on the fact that I have legs, and what a pleasure it is to be able to peddle, and do hard things that challenge me, and improve my physique, and build the legs, and specifically, my knee, (the reason I’d only committed to maybe 1 hour with them anyway today), and I eventually forgot about hard and was enjoying my Saturday morning doing something I’d been wanting to do – though still alone maybe, but that was okay. I was making an effort and that mattered, and I know over time, I will be better as I train more and maybe get clips and proper road-biking shoes instead of sneakers – I had that pointed out once I arrived, that no wonder I was so slow, and what a difference clips or straps make. Anyway, I found as I focused more on the good, I began enjoying my road trip and I looked up and was almost there.
My arrival in Jensen finally found them kickin it – relaxing, drinking water, laughing, talking. I walked up the stairs eventually announcing gladly, “I made it!” I was accepted and cheered. They were glad for me I’d made it! I was too! I was pleased they are, and were, all so nice to me. They were welcoming initially and accepting. They were equally so despite my slowness when I arrived the second time. They accepted me all the while.
I realized as I walked from our first photo op spot to the next one that I was having a bit of difficulty walking because my muscles we so fatigued. Oh my! Pretty cool though. I’d been wanting to strengthen my legs, and it was happening. I splayed myself out on the bottom step of this enormous chair as we took pics, exasperated looking, and fun about it! I like them – what a lively bunch! Maybe my bike people! So far so good.
I decided to go back the same way despite what they said about continuing with them because I knew I’d have a bike lane the whole way. They said they’d been going unusually fast before and would be going slower. Not sure if they were testing out the newbie or what, but, in any case, I decided to go my own way too because I didn’t want to overdo my knee knowing I could potentially be out of commission for a few days as a result. I’m trying to take it easy and be realistic and take it slow so I can make real progress this time. I’ve seen how overdoing it every time sets me back over and over and I keep having to start over and over again.
So, I bid them adieu, this time, in person, and set back the way I came, but this time, against the wind. I didn’t mind it. I just down shifted as I needed and made it an enjoyable ride not dreading any of it – going at my own pace. I knew I could do the same when I hit the bridge – that’s a benny of a good road bike – I was huffing and puffing, but yes, I was making it, and I felt so great afterwards. I felt like this helped my spine too in the end which was good.
I took away that practicing focusing on the solution makes the difference, but this I already knew. I’m not sure anyone really likes hard, but we can do it, and I know I am always the better for having done it, and having done it intentionally, with integrity and some grace.
I feel like if you’re going to do it, do it. It’s always good to push ourselves, I believe, and that is why after realizing I hate hard, I began to push myself even harder because I believe that gets me over the hating it hump.
I think more than hating hard, I hate resisting hard, or resisting anything for that matter – it only makes it worse. Also, lazy, whiney and lame prove equally undesirable. So, I like to focus on the solution, and that is what I did and what I believe got my legs shaking! Going a little beyond. Pushing beyond to be better. I believe hard is able to be gotten over by just pushing back a little harder. Praying, focusing on the positive, gearing up and gearing down to make life’s rides more or less enjoyable, easy, thrilling or challenging is each individual’s choice. We set our own pace.
I needed to push in at times this a.m., but also keeping in mind my knee’s limitations and the impact my decisions would have. I am pleased to say that I have been doing great all day with no problems, except initially after I got home and cleaned a bit. I have rested it since, and it’s been awesome, and even feel my knees are stronger as a result. I am so grateful, and surprised, I have no pain! I must have done it right! 😊
We are not going to be at the same pace as everyone else in life, and it’s good to know where we are, what we need, in what gear we should be in, and when to shift up and down so we can meet our needs and our challenges in life. As Ecclesiastes says, unto everything there is a season. Many times, as of recent, hard has been where many of us have found ourselves. Maybe it’s a personal challenge or physical challenge or just a hard goal you are setting for yourself.
I always focus on the solution. Find the positive. Break, if I have to, or press in even harder, and pray my way through it, making the most of your ride and setting my own pace. I am just beginning to do the latter more realistically. And, I am having to remember to be kind to myself along the way and also realistic with my own expectations and achievements, but to push myself too.
I had to remember today as I rode to look up and around and enjoy the gorgeous scenery of my ride, and feel the wind on my body, and though it was super strong, I simply down-shifted so I could enjoy the ride a little more and be gentler on my knee. However hard it got today, as in life, we must peddle on. It will get easier, the road and scenery will change, the wind will subside, and as you keep pressing on and staying the course, setting your pace, the challenge will become easier and you will become better and stronger along the way. That’s what derived from my ride today after pushing beyond hating hard!
May we ride with grace and integrity being true to ourselves and setting a realistic pace that allows us to derive the growth, strength and sometimes even pleasures we get to achieve from facing our hard times with an inner drive that gets us to our next levels in life.
May we all peddle on with grace.