As I gear up for my first sprint triathlon at the end of August (and let's be honest, quite possibly my last!) I can't help but think about how the exercises- the swimming, the biking, the running- apply to so much more than just the pool or the trails.
Biking, as it turns out, is my biggest challenge. It may have something to do with the 1982 vintage wheels I'm sporting (hey, who doesn't love a good throwback bike?!) - but still, it's proven to be the toughest part of training for me. There are moments when I'm biking that I think, no more. Just pull over, turn around, call it a day.
To ride a bike, you have to have a certain skill set. Some things come naturally; pedaling, for instance. We all know how to do that. But biking also requires balance. It demands patience; you have to pace yourself or you burn out pretty quickly. Hazards are in your path- rocks, sticks, pets, people. You constantly have to keep your eyes on the road in front of you. What's behind you is gone; only the miles in front of you matter.
As I become more comfortable biking, I'm noticing things changing. Physical things, sure. My legs are taking on a new, more lean shape. And running long distances has never been easier.
And mentally- a few things are changing, too. Living life day to day is like riding a bike. Balance is key; work, friends, family, "me" time. Being patient with others, and myself- sometimes you need a break, and other times you need to convince yourself to keep pedaling. Hazards pop up along the path every day; stresses, worries. But keeping your eyes always forward, always looking to what's now, what's here, what's next- that's key. What's behind me is gone.
But that's the best part about riding a bike for me; even in my moments I want to quit, or I think to myself it's too hard, I'm too tired, I'm too thirsty, the hazards are too dangerous.
The best part is when you fall off of a bike, you get back up. You find balance and patience and you challenge yourself. And you hit a stick or two along the way- but you keep pedaling.