The whirlwind continues!
In the midst of three weddings in three cities in three weeks in May, I started training with my Tour de Pink bike, which Sean has named Pink Flash for me!
|Pink Flash! Thank you Liv/Giant and the Young Survival Coalition!|
It’s been phenomenal. We’ve done a few short rides, but with traveling the past few weekends, we really haven’t had time to do another 30-miler. I completed my best ever 5K two weekends ago with a time of 25:55, coming in second in my age group and winning a prize! And this past weekend I did my first Dirty Girl Mud Run in Pittsburgh! I distinctly remember WHEN I signed up for the run. My friend Amy, who used to live in State College but now lives in Pittsburgh, asked me, as I was in bed and recovering from my final breast cancer surgery, if I wanted to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run. At that point, pretty much being unable to move my arms, I said to myself I was sick of lying around and YES, I want to do the mud run! That was in September.
|Ready for my first Dirty Girl Mud Run!|
|Team Stealing Second Base!|
Photo by Chris Cendana
I mean, you could have seen this coming, right?
|Photo by Chris Cendana|
(That's me at the very top to the right!)
PLUS, I’ve reached out to some local cycling and running groups in the area and will be running and cycling with the Women’s Adventure Club and the State College Cycling Club. They each have rides/runs that cater to me, including a beginning bike ride (one hour or so), Thursday nights. I can work my way up to riding in the advanced groups later on. So I feel good. I’ve been doing a lot, but am still nervous about September, because I know I have a long way to go in terms of training. But I am loving every minute, and each week that goes by I am more excited, more nervous, more anxious, more ready, more NOT ready, more emotional, about and for this ride.
I think the fact of the matter is that this ride is very important to me. It’s a big deal. It’s a big challenge. It’s one of the biggest, scariest things I’ve ever (willingly) taken on. So it’s normal to be nervous and it’s normal to never really feel fully prepared. How can you?! Kind of like when I spoke for The Moth last June. It was the first time I told my story out loud without notes, away from Pink and Pearls, in front of an audience, by myself. I prepared for months with The Moth team and with myself, and yes, I was READY. Ready for my monologue in the sense that when you practice you become prepared. But was I really READY? I think sometimes you just jump in.
I was prepared for that 10-minute speech. I had rehearsed my notes, gone over the order. But was I READY? Are we ever really ready?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
I think you just jump in.
So with Tour de Pink I will TRAIN. I will PREAPRE. But will I ever actually be READY for a 200-mile bike ride to reclaim my life, myself, after breast cancer? No. but I’ll do it. And it will be amazing.
You can train and you can rehearse and you can prepare. But the point is we never know what to expect in life. We never know what will be thrown at us or what will be taken away from us, or even HOW we can be ready for something that we DO know is coming. We do our best every day to make the best decisions for us. And if something is a challenge, then it’s a challenge.
This ride will no doubt be a challenge. But I also know, deep in my heart, this will be one of the best things I ever do. Me, myself and Pink Flash. We’ll scream. We’ll cry. But we’ll do it. All 200 miles of it.
I’ve been reminding myself lately of a quote from Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it gets done.”
Building a new house. Moving into a new house. Training for a double century. Riding a double century.
Even some days I train it seems impossible. Yesterday, for example, I rode 15 miles on an Expresso bike at the gym. 15 miles at the gym is boring. But it was dark and rainy outside and I needed to get a ride in. The beginning is always hard. It seems like it will never end.
|Me and Amy!|
Photo by Chris Cendana
Running 1 mile used to be a daunting challenge for me. Now I can run a 5K is under 26 minutes and just registered for a 10K. I’m hoping the same will be true with cycling. Yes, it’s hard at first. But what isn’t? But with time and practice and patience it will not only get easier, it will get done. Just like with running, I push myself to get one more mile in.
On the bike at the gym, sure, I could stop at 13 miles. But if I stop at 13 I’ll never get to 15. If I get to 15 JUST THIS ONCE, I can do it again, and do even more next time. I would have never gotten to running 5 miles if I stopped each time at 3.
It’s the push that gets you there.
I never thought I’d ever finish my breast cancer surgeries. I never thought there would be a day I’m scaling walls and climbing on my stomach in mud pits and moving boxes into a new home. But I healed and I regained and now it’s almost like I’m starting again.
And every day I think of the women who don’t have this yet. And I pray they do one day. I remember what it was like to not be able to open car doors. I remember what it was like to be paralyzed by pain and by surgeries.
I remember when I said yes to the mud run. I wanted out. I didn’t want something else dictating when I could move my arms or my chest, or how.
So that’s one of the millions upon millions of reasons I’ll be riding in September. Because now it’s my turn to steer.