Flat and Strong

I returned from the wedding and recommitted myself to healthiness.  And then I failed.  I won’t go into the major consequences that directly resulting from my failing, but there they were: staring me in the face, taunting me, reminding me I had failed.

And so I say again, detox and rejuvenation.  Unlike all the other times when “I mean it”, this time, it will happen.  I do mean it.  I refuse to allow failure to stare me down.  I have sworn off all things alcoholic for the next month.  I am also making a concerted effort to eat healthy, real food.  My workout schedule will also get amped up – from derailed to back on track.

Yesterday for good measure, I rode in the “Flat as a Floodplain” bike ride.  (check out trailnet.org for other cool rides).  Actually, I cycled the 25 miles to get back on track – the true measure of my goodness was waking up ultra early to volunteer during registration prior to the ride.

Some of you may be thinking… “How hard can 25 miles be on flat terrain?”  Ha!  The wind mocks you!  It is more than pretty intense.  Truth be told, I thought I was going to collapse around 21 miles.  In fairness, my riding partner was a super hard core ski instructor, pilot license carrying, extremely low road resistance bike riding, all around super star.

We started out into a strong headwind, and held our pace of 15 mph pretty well for the first 6 miles or so.  Then I realized my heart was not just pounding, but on the brink of explosion.  I looked down at my trusty heart rate monitor watch and realized my average heart rate was in the 180s.  A bit high for my liking.

So, I dropped back a little.  Luckily the super star century riding hero decided to wait for me.  I said the pace was a bit brisk and he kindly asked, “what pace do you need?”  13.5?  So off we went.

We happily turned a corner so the wind was at our backs and we could easily pick back up to about a 16 mph clip.  Really, it was a beautiful ride…  especially with the wind at our backs.

The floodplains are amazingly flat which allows for a fantastic view.  Lots of corn and trees and wildflowers… and those woolly little bugs that indicate its going to be a mild winter.  Or maybe it’s a hearty winter?… we couldn’t decide.  Because we waited until about 9:30 to ride, the sun had peeked through and it was a balmy 75 degrees or so.

The scenary was great, the weather was perfect, and the ride was going well.  Then came the dreaded 21 mile mark.

I started to feel a little uncomfortable on the bike at right around 20 – but I got a brief high from ticking over the teens to the twenties in mileage so I held on.  As I kept ticking up the mileage, I literally thought passing out was my only option.  I looked down at my heart rate monitor watch again – I had burned 1500 calories.  What did I eat for breakfast this morning?

Thankfully my riding partner realized my distress and we stopped for a moment.  It was one of those hands on my knees, head between them, deep breaths, God help me moments.  I thought to myself – only 4 more miles.  Anybody can ride a bike four miles.  On the end of 21, sure, it’s a bit more difficult.  But I can ride four miles.  God help me.

I get back on my bike, turn back into the headwind, and just chant over and over again “Strong, strong, strong…. Strong”.

I wasn’t thinking about losing weight, or being thin, or drinking, or eating, or living for that matter.  The only thing I could do was think “strong, strong, strong”.   The last half mile I was literally saying it aloud.

When I reached the finish, it was a clarifying moment.  I am strong.  I can ride 25 miles.  My body is strong.  My mind is strong.

So I say again, detox and rejuvenation.  I am strong.

One Reply to “Flat and Strong”

  1. Laura-
    That’s awesome. Getting back on the bike and go for 25 miles is intense. Cate and I ran around Tower Grove Park last Saturday and my legs are still burning. I’ll post something about my running program progress later after this post has had a chance to sit in the top spot of a bit.

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