"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
- Anais Nin
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Every now and then, I am reminded that the Universe has a sense of humor. And sometimes that sense of humor is at my expense.
You may recall from my earlier post, ‘Running Strong,’ that I am anything but a natural athlete. In fact, I am a complete klutz. I am constantly walking into things, and when wearing my beloved high heels, I often come dangerously close to reenacting Sandra Bullock’s memorably clumsy moves in Miss Congeniality.
Which is why it should have been obvious to me that getting on a road bicycle and clipping myself into the pedals could be a bad idea. I’ve been doing it in sprint triathlons for the past six years, though, relying on the safety personnel and volunteers staffing the events to keep the course clear of obstacles that could land me in a mangled heap somewhere. When riding in preparation for triathlons (notice I didn’t say “in training;” that would imply a level of commitment I haven’t displayed), I would either stick to the safety of bike paths on my road bike, or ride my clunky mountain bike, my feet safely unattached to my vehicle.
Recently, though, I got a crazy idea. What if I actually trained for the tris I’ve been doing as a hack all these years? Enter Amy Rice - about whom you will definitely hear more in a future post; she is my new girl-crush. She’s a superhuman triathlete with an Ironman Hawaii 4th place overall finish among her accomplishments. She has abs I would kill for. And I just happen to live in lucky proximity to her and her triathlon training business. I decided it was time to learn how to ride my bike properly, so I treated myself to a session with Amy.
All was going smoothly until we hit an intersection where I thought a car was going to stop for us, then they kinda-sorta didn’t. I jammed on my brakes. Clipped into my bike. The Oh, fuck! moment happened in slow-motion. I went down on my left knee, bashing up other limbs in various places. Amy was concerned for my safety. I was concerned about how foolish I looked. (I was also impressed that Amy didn’t laugh. True professional, excellent poker face. I’d have laughed at me.)
Anyway, the rest of the ride was fine. Amy gave me instruction that made me feel instantly more comfortable than I’d ever felt on my bike. I was excited as I headed out for another ride, solo, yesterday morning.
Then a funny thing happened. At every intersection, I thought about that spill I’d taken. A refrain began running through my head: don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall…
You can see where this is going, right?
Law of Attraction works, folks. I’ve got another swollen, seriously scraped-up knee to prove it. I worried about falling, and a couple of miles into my ride, I fell. Yes, just in time for warmer weather and flirty skirts, I now have legs that are a rainbow of nasty colors, with knees reminiscent of raw hamburger. Call me Grace.
I learned the lesson, though. I picked myself up, took inventory of the number of people who’d witnessed my blunder (only two, thankfully), and rode on, replacing my focus on fear of falling with Amy’s instructions for a strong ride. Some undignified screaming when I cleaned my wounds aside, I finished my workout content and…amused.
Right now, I am living my life outside my comfort zone in too many respects to count. Literally and metaphorically, when I worry about the potential fall, I find myself on the pavement. When I embrace reality - fearlessly - I find joy. Maybe even balance.