Sooooo…..I recently rode my bike 185 miles from Seattle to Vancouver BC. It wasn’t the furthest I have even ridden my bike, however, it was by far the hardest ride I have ever done because I did it with ZERO training. Since I started graduate school in June, I had ridden a grand total of 3x with a maximum distance of 40 miles. Hence, why I named this post “Crazy. Stupid. Dumb”.
This riding event was a 2 day event. Day one we climbed for hours and rode 105 miles from Seattle to Bellingham. By the time I reached Bellingham, I about tipped over and fell off my bike in fatigue. Somewhere in the photograph world, there is a picture of me giving my friend the “bird” when she asked me how I was feeling at mile 75. At one point, I was definitely crying, however, I was so dehydrated and fatigued that no tears came out, which made me even more mad. What is the point in crying, if you don’t have real tears!
By the time I made it to the dorm room at Western Washington University, I told my friend that was with me, “I don’t think I can make it tomorrow. I need to find a way back home”. In his patient monotone voice, he said to me, “Wait till tomorrow to make a decision. If you still feel bad we will find a way”. I think I might have rolled my eyes at him but I agreed. That night, I think I slept harder than I have ever before. We woke up at 5am, somehow my legs still supported me when I stood up and I said, “I think I will try riding again”. In the back of my mind I said, “If I fail, I can always SAG to the finish line. At least I know I did my best”. I got up, I ate breakfast and the moment by booty touched the saddle my brain said, “Ha! Good luck quitting because you don’t have a quitter personality. It’s all about mental toughness. You got yourself into this, now you will finish it off”. I was so upset with my brain at this moment!
One rotation after another, I finished the final 80 miles and made it Vancouver BC. I even beat my friend across the finish line! Even though I wanted to quit, I knew that unless I had an injury, this was a test of my mental endurance. I had to fight everything inside of me that said, “It’s ok to quit. You didn’t train. It’s not a big deal.” I think at one point I even said out loud, “I am not a quitter. That is not what I do. I am not going to start now!” For me, it was a mind game and I knew that because my friend believed in me, that I need to believe in me too.
In life, there are opportunities all around us that encourage us to quit. They encourage us to stop trying, and give up. What I learned from this experience is that there is a difference between giving up, failing, and enduring. I knew my limits and told myself, if I experienced anything that felt like an injury, I would stop. But if I only felt fatigue, I would keep going until I could go no more. In that instance, I was fighting against my head vs my heart.
If you have a challenge in your life, that keeps you thinking about giving up, know that I believe in you. I want to hear about that challenge and be a cheerleader in your corner. Remember there is a difference between giving up and giving up too soon.