Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feeling a bit grounded.

I have been in a funk lately due to stress in my life coming at me from all angles. I started to feel fatigue and run down.
My riding was taking a bit of a hit, but I maintained effort to keep riding most days. I figured I would have to bust out a good ride on Monday; my IUD appointment was Tuesday and I would feel too uncomfortable to ride for a bit.

It's a frustrating feeling to feel uncomfortable continually in an area that is so utilized for something you enjoy doing. I'm feeling a bit nervous over my ride to work this afternoon, but hope that it will go smoothly and I will be no worse for wear.

I'm chomping at the bit for an actual ride; so I can burn off this excess energy and actually feel good while riding. (I'm feeling a bit more perky than I have in some time.)

I tell myself that I will not balloon with weight simply because I had to take almost a week off; because that is just silly to think. I tell myself that I am not a lesser woman because I'm choosing to give my body time to recoup and situate vs. pushing myself for goals that my ego-self wants.

More time in the mornings is giving me some additional time to pack up items for my move in the next week or so.

I feel that when I'm ready and I pedal for longer than my route to work, it will taste very sweet to me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The dreaded asthma

Last night on the way to Travis' I pushed myself hard. I didn't think it would be so difficult but the wind proved to be a mighty force. I could feel myself be pushed to the side at times from the gusts. It sucked.

The cold air burned my lungs something fierce. By the time I got to the complex I knew I had made a mess of myself. Apparently the stress of the past few weeks likely contributed as well.

I took two hits from my inhaler but still found myself a coughing mess. I hate when it seems like you can taste blood in your mouth, but there isn't any there.

I had been without any exercise induced asthma issues for several months now...and realize that I'm not actually immune-just lucky.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The concept of

life handing you lemons and making lemonade?

Sometimes it's more you just have to keep accepting the lemons and wait until a later date.
We all have times in our lives where the world seems filled with upheaval. Last month proved to be a month full of trials and tribulations. I had a great many emotional ups and downs within October, and I sure wondered when something would let up.

Before my birthday, I saw on Facebook that Whooha Gear was holding an ambassador contest. 5 individuals would be selected, all you had to do was write them as to why you'd want to be an ambassador. I met the ladies of Whooha at Interbike, and enjoyed the fun and inspiring messages their clothing portrayed. It's not just biking, but also running, triathlons, and overall general inspirational messages depicted on their clothes. They wanted to provide fun and comfortable clothing for athletic women as well as send the message to others that sometimes all you need is a little inspiration.

I have had a lot go on in the past 5 years of my life, and felt that overall, I maintained a very positive outlook. Certain things had gone on to where I could've completely reverted to non-functioning self, but I didn't. I pushed forth, kept my head up (allowing myself to cry, of course) and kept on with life. Changes I made (overall) were very positive ones, and I wasn't about to miss out on what was coming next.

I was also proud of how far I had come with cycling in a year; I may not be the most amazing athlete in the world, but I have overcome some obstacles, that's for sure. For where I started in terms of riding my bike to where I am now, I hate to toot my own horn, but it's impressive!

On a whim I sent in my email, but did so without expectation of anything; then my life started to go through massive stresses.

First my birthday, I turned 29, entering the last years of my 20's wasn't really a stressful endeavor. However, then came my grandma's illness that put a dark cloud over the birthday festivities. My grandma Smith was my last grandparent, and once she was gone-that part of my life would be non-existent. Within a couple weeks my grandma had passed. I entered a state of confusion; I was feeling okay but at the same time I felt very emotional and pulled apart. There were some tense moments, and then, a sense of acceptance. I had seen my grandma on a Saturday afternoon, to where I was filled up with all of the possible emotions one could experience when looking at death straight on. I left the house knowing in my heart; two days struck in my head.
Sunday evening was stressful, I was not feeling very much myself and I couldn't bring myself to face reality. That evening while I waited for Travis to come over, I saw a funny picture on Facebook that brought me so much laughter. I felt a sense of relief.
Monday came and I got the call, two days later; she passed.

Being supportive for my family, dealing with the acceptance that an integral part of my childhood was gone now. There were a lot of emotional times.

Then my (very likely) tendinitis cropped up in my shoulder again; the changing temperatures outside tends to make my body hurt. Also, mentally preparing myself for busy and stressful work situations due to the holiday season. All you can do is just take a deep breath.

Then Monday morning I got on Facebook and saw that Whooha Gear had posted the winners of the ambassador program contest. Only 4 names showed up, and once I clicked "see more" I saw my name! I was ecstatic!

It reminded me that throughout all my trials and tough moments, I always find a way to bounce back. It might take me awhile at times; but it happens. The only way to truly hold myself back is to close myself up, and that isn't going to happen!

Part of what inspires me and what I hope I can do with the ambassador program is share with people my experiences. I got as far as I did with a lot of my cycling due to the help and inspiration from my friends. People who believed that I could do it, even before I did it; plus my own personal determination to not quit.

I've had a mixed experience thus far with cycling, and that is why I share all of my experiences-the good and bad. My accidents and my triumphs. It's part of my life story and those experiences make me the rider I am today.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why do I ride?

I ride because it's good for me and my mind.
Riding my bike is honestly my anti-depressant for life; it's a mobile therapist that I can go places on.

It does not mean that the ride I go on is perfect.
It does not mean every day I ride I'm riddled with joyous feelings or laughter.
It does not always take away the frustrated or angry feelings inside.
It does not always make the hurt go away.

More times than not, my getting on my bike is my working through a bunch of mental and emotional crap.
More times than not, I've found myself frustrated with the path I'm on-battling the wind and wishing for a break.

Does this make me weak? No.

I don't always mind the wind that blows against me; making me question my sanity and mental focus. I tell myself it will make me stronger physically. Eventually, riding into the wind will not pose an issue to my overall morale. Some days I thrive on the challenge that the wind gives me; a true test of my endurance. Some days I feel beaten down, and just wish I could go somewhere else or stop. Too far into the ride to stop. I've got to get home somehow.

Riding my bike got me through divorce.
Riding my bike has replaced the anti-depressants.
Riding my bike has given me a vice.
Riding my bike keeps my obsessive thoughts in check.
Riding my bike helps me keep my eating disorder at bay.
Riding my bike gives me strength.
Riding my bike gives me hope.
Riding my bike gives me freedom.
Riding my bike gives me challenges.
Riding my bike gives me pain.
Riding my bike gives me tears.
Riding my bike gives me space.
Riding my bike gives me answers.
Riding my bike gives me joy.
Riding my bike has brought me friends.
Riding my bike has brought me love.
Riding my bike has brought me a multitude of things; like health, a sense of well-being, and a bigger sense of confidence in myself.

I've found something I believe in, something that I can do pretty well, and something that gives me a sense of purpose.

I was petrified getting on my bike for the first time. I swore I couldn't ride. I did and I kept going; I was awed by the power it had over me.
People want to be told something is easy; I can't lie. It's not always going to be easy.
You will have to work at it. I did not accomplish my goals in my first ride; it took me months. Some things took me almost a year, and some will take me even longer.
I rode the whole loop about 3 times last year; this year I've ridden it entirely almost every day. Sometimes I've ridden it twice. Next year I'd like to ride it twice at least 2 times a week.
I couldn't get my water bottle out of the cage while biking until early this year. I was too afraid to do things one-handed.
I had two accidents two weeks apart; this was after I had been riding accident free for little over a year.
I will never, truly, love riding into the wind.
I have no time frame on when I will be confident with mountain biking.
I hate riding in the cold weather; but choose to on days I feel up for it.
I like riding in warm rain.
I like hearing the leaves crunch.
I like going fast.

Bike riding has grown with me, or I chose to have it grow with me. Either way, there are challenges that frustrate me to no end. Along with those challenges are personal gains that make the struggles worth it. I've had rides where I wanted to throw my hands up in frustration. I've had rides that I went on simply to just cry; rides where I talked out my fears and anxieties out. I've had rides that filled me so full of happiness that I felt I could burst. I've had rides where I accomplished or learned new things and felt powerful.

Just like therapy in the real world, not every session is going to be positive and uplifting. I don't always feel euphoric or have glitter and sparkles floating around me. My rides are my own; everyone has different perceptions. For others it might mean something else. I didn't expect a cake walk when it came to biking, I expected to work for something. I still am. That is why I ride.

Friday, November 1, 2013

There Are Days

When you go for a ride and you feel like nothing in the world can stop you.
You speed down the hills as fast as you can, pedaling downhill to go even faster.
The wind is blowing against your hood; it sounds like an angry seashell.
You take the turns effortlessly; drifting around the curve
being one with the bike.
You might feel like a racer or perhaps some fearsome biking ninja.
You feel your legs moving with each stroke; the give and pull of muscles.
You feel your lungs fill with air; then you exhale
it burns a little.
Your extremities might feel cold, but you don't care.
You're on the ride of your life; the only thing moving
is you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some Days Are Not Like the Others

I ride almost every day and today I figured could potentially be the only non-rainy day for my morning ride. I'm not a fan of cold; I started indoor riding around the time it dropped to the high 30's last year.
Today I found my exercise induced asthma wanting to get bucky with me, and the wind just chilled me to the bones.(I'm always cold-so it doesn't matter how many layers I may or may not have on-I will be cold and wind makes me colder!) I do not enjoy the rides where I feel that chilled. (It doesn't mean I will not ride to work on the most terrible of winter days, tho!)

I didn't necessarily go out today because I had a desire to, I went because I felt an obligation to. That was my biggest downfall. I didn't physically quit my ride, but mentally I had checked out about halfway through.
I found peace towards the end and with that I felt a sense of acceptance with my realization: sometimes you just aren't into it. It doesn't mean you don't love biking, but it means that the reasons you usually bike for just aren't being met that day. (Or something like that.)
Just like people have off-days on their ride and end up not finishing their usual time; it happens. It's not the end of the world, just take those days for what they are. (Side note- I went through a phase this year where time meant everything to me, and that took the fun out of riding for me.)

Some days are hard and that's okay. If you ever found you couldn't finish a ride mentally, emotionally, or physically-I feel that's fine. I pushed myself once after my first bike biff, realizing that it would've been best for me to have taken it easy. (One loop ride instead of two) I essentially paid for it the following days and it was a lesson learned.

For me riding isn't just physical, but it's an emotional and mental relationship with myself. I ride as therapy and a way to de-stress. I find when I put too much stress or pressure on various aspects of riding, I ruin it for myself. Point being, we're all human; we all ride for different reasons. I've been on rides where I was angry, I've been on rides where I cried, I've had rides that challenged me physically, and I've been on rides where I had the most fantastic time. I have never physically quit a ride, but it's not to say I should have ridden that day. (Like when I've had colds or after I was hurt from an accident; I'm too bullheaded for my own good at times.)

If you've had every ride you've been on be the most amazing thing since cake was invented-awesome! If you've had challenging times; congratulations for acknowledging it. Riding for me has been something really amazing for myself, and I can say it's been the best therapy for me; even the tough days.