“What is going on?!” I whimpered repeatedly during the longest 100-mile bike ride I have ever ridden this last Saturday. I felt zero power emanating from my legs all day, was sprayed with self-pity and doubt mile after mile, hour after slow hour as I rode up and down the same hills again and again and again. It was not my best day. Following are the redeeming factors discovered throughout the day…. Yep, it was ugly. Actually, there was one single positive outcome that I gained from that soul-sucking spin on beautiful Simone, I kept going, and never quit.
I rode every single mile that was asked of me.
Ninety-seven of them were horrible, a few felt okay, but I gave each them all an equal opportunity to turn my day around, none of them did. I suppose that kind of mental, emotional, and physical battle one endures during a lonely spin through Pathetic-ville plays like a visceral symphony we should open up our ears to once in a while, because even though it wasn’t pleasant, I needed to hear it once, to know that I only needed to hear it once.
Still, this optimist believes the rough days shape us for the tough days.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling like Taryn of 2009, unsure, guilty, and tired. It felt like an elephant was leaning against the inside of my eye socket, smiling and staring at me innocently with his arms crossed and trunk flipping up and down like it was now my turn to, “Go Fish,” but I wasn’t in the mood to play games, I was exhausted, and needed to start pedaling. The proceeding Century ride was a clinic of sobering self-awareness from start to finish.
Throughout my first decade as a triathlete, I have not executed every swim correctly, but I am not a life-long swimmer, so those occasions have been disappointing, but not detrimental. I have nearly hit the mark on every bike ride, and have earned a solid a 3.8 GPA on my runs. However, my abysmal ride on Saturday plopped a huge stain on the pristine canvas of quality miles I had attained over the years, and I was devasteated. But I still had Sunday.
I held faith that I could take back the weekend on my Sunday long run.
I looked forward to the workout all week, because it seemed to be the exact Boston marathon redemption workout I had been craving, a chance to run hard and fast on tired legs and not be blown around by rain and wind.
Instead, I blew it.
Sadly, my angry, wounded ego from the defeating ride blurred my vision, and taunted my legs; I ran faster than I was supposed to, which felt satisfying for a few minutes, but not when it needed to, over the last six miles of my Sunday long run. You’d think I would know better by now… Nope.
My Sunday morning long run was the most fun failing I have ever had.
I knew it would be a difficult workout to pull off on my best day, aka, a well-executed Saturday ride and run, of which I had neither, so I just tried to hang on and run as fast as my legs would carry me.
I ran in the safest, flattest, most controlled area I could find, my neighborhood. I ran in too many circles to recall, but my favorite part of the day was rounding the second to last lap and calling out to a couple of teenage boys playing basketball in their driveway, “The loser runs a lap with me!”
“Ah, no way! No way!” They cackled loudly over the blasting Taylor Swift soundtrack pumping from their haphazard rigged-up speakers teetering on the lawn.
I ran by them one more time on my last lap, pumping my arms and legs as hard as they would go over my FINAL and FASTEST mile, but it still wasn’t quick enough. I failed. Still, trying to drop my mile pace by a minute over the last six miles of an eighteen-mile run was the toughest and most exhilarating defeat I have ever experienced.
Maybe I could’ve made it if I’d made better decisions the day before, maybe not. Either way, I am glad that I was so far off on Saturday, and so close on Sunday, because it means I still have work to do before Boulder, and I am more fired up than ever to do it!
Following is another 80's tune that is fitting for this post. Enjoy.:)