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This blog is out of use and out of date. I am now posting on mercedesorten.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Conquering Your Fears: Logic Trumps Fear

These past few weeks I have been learning many lessons in the stormy weather that has been my cycling. Actually, I'm getting a lot of lessons TAUGHT TO ME. Read: Force-fed. I'm fine with this.

This past Sunday was no exception. Thanks to my friend Mark, I found myself on the same 35-40 mile ride that I went on last week. The one that my good friend crashed and wrecked on. Needless to say, I was quite nervous before the start. Adding to my nerves was the sudden downpour that began just as we were about to throw our wheels down. Enter scared voice in the back of my head: "Mercedes, don't do this, it's too cold, you don't have the right gear, you said you were never doing this loop again, you'll fall, you'll wreck, especially in this weather..." The scared voice was going on and on. Seemed like it wouldn't stop! And my stomach was feeling gooshy like it does when I have a very important race ahead of me. This wasn't a race. This was a ride. A training ride. A planned 35 mile ride and then 30 minute run. A fabulous brick workout. And I was standing there in the rain waffling on if I was going to back out of it or not. My good friend Joe steps in, interrupts the fearful voice in my head and speaks reason, of all great things in this world.

Joe said, plain and simple: "Mercedes, listen, what if it rains at the Lonestar Quarter Iron? What will you do then? What if it rains in another tri, are you going to back out then?"

The fearful voice quieted and seemed to ruminate a bit. Then I started visualizing wet tires slipping out from under me on a curve and me spilling onto pavement in a crumpled, bloody mess. I shook my head, doubtful. The stomach crunched up again.

Then, I reluctantly admitted my fear to Joe. "Joe," I said, "I'm scared to do that loop again. I'm scared to face the place where [our friend] fell."

And then Joe said the most intelligent, logical thing ever: "It's perfectly normal to be scared after seeing a crash, Mercedes. You can do it, you need to prove it to yourself that you can do it. Today is the day."

The fearful voice was completely silenced. My stomach started to calm down. I knew Joe was right.

And we started to ride.

The rain was bad, and it got worse. It got colder. My fingers, unprotected by full fingered gloves, were bright red the first half of the ride. Every part of my body was wet, but I didn't mind the wet as much as the cold. The cold was pretty brutal.

We get to the Decker loop and I just hunker down and focus. I work the hills, because when I do, I get warmed up and it actually starts to feel good.

As we're approaching the spot my friend fell, everything around me goes silent again. I seem to be spinning in slow motion. I'm all by myself, I've pulled ahead of the pack I was riding with. I concentrate on the horizon as I'm replaying the spill in my head. Tears try desperately to creep out of my eyes as my head replays the trauma that happened at the top of the hill in front of me the previous weekend. I keep spinning and I focus on avoiding the cracks on the ground and I glide right past the spot that I never thought I could ride on again.

A wave of relief combs over me like a warm blanket. The sun starts to come out in those heaven sent rays begin to warm me up for the first time in 20 miles. I start to smile and speed up. I finally start to feel good.

We finish, and I look at Joe expectantly, knowing he probably doesn't want to do the 30 minute run we had planned after the ride.

I talk him into it: "Joe, I know you don't want to do this run, but trust me, this brick will be good for you and your legs will thank me for it on race day"

Joe contemplates for a little while, eying his trunk where I know his running shoes are stashed. He doesn't respond.

"Ok, I'll meet you over by my car," I say, assuming he just consented to go run.

I'm lacing up my running shoes as Joe runs up to my car. I smile.

And we started to run.

When we got back to Jack and Adam's there were 2 breakfast tacos left. We promptly devoured them as if they had just been waiting there for us.

Joe turned to me and said "I provided the encouragement for the ride and you provided it for the run."

"I know," I said, smiling, "Thanks, man."

I meant it. Logic over fear FOREVER!!!

Current book I'm reading: The Story of A Marriage

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  • At 4:23 PM, March 17, 2009, Blogger Waly said…

    Fantastic job capturing the moment. It's a bitch, fear, and yet there's nothing better than overcoming it. And tacos. Tacos rock too. :)

  • At 9:12 AM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Mercedes said…

    Thanks Waly! The article you posted on that flying website spoke about basic instincts, and I think that is another interesting idea that could add to this post. On the day of my friend's fall, I had a basic instinct that told me that we shouldn't do the 40 mile Decker loop. For a brief second, my mind told me to do the 26 mile loop, avoiding the spot where she fell. I did not follow that instinct and look what happened. I spoke with my friend last night about this in light of your article, and she said that she also had that same inkling at the turn off point for the 26 miles. Looks like we should have listened to your article! I'm sending it to her today.


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I am a marathoner. That means I have a tummy that could sieze a spider.