Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pain, Training & Motivation

I recently decided to move forward with participating in the Venus de Miles ride that takes place in New Town Prospect, Colorado. I've done this ride the last couple of years and decided on the shortest route (33 miles) for each of those. Both years I have struggled with making it to the finish line due to hand/wrist issues, but for some odd reason, this year I apparently thought it would be a great idea to do a longer route (51 miles). While the distance in itself will be a huge, huge challenge for me because of the hand problems, it also has a portion that climbs into the mountains. If I haven't mentioned it prior, I am not a hill climber on my bike by any stretch of the imagination. I will go to great lengths to avoid hills that I don't like, even making the ride miles longer.
*Image found here
Not looking forward to climbing any portion of these - at all
In an attempt to get myself used to being in the saddle and more importantly on the handlebars for many hours, I've been trying to get in some longer rides. One ride I typically will set a distance and do that mileage, no matter how long it takes me. On another, I'll set a time goal and know that no matter how far I go, I have to stay on the bike for that length of time. Then, the other rides I try to do something in between the two. It all comes out about the same generally, but I think it's a mind game for myself. If I know I only have to go "x" distance, if I pedal faster, I can get through it quicker... or at least that's what I say as I'm trying to motivate my legs to cooperate.

Today, was a "time" ride. I had gone to my kickboxing boot camp for an hour before the ride, and then decided that a two hour cycle-fest would be fair. Considering I will probably be in the saddle for about 6-7 hours when I do the ride, it's not even a third of what is coming for me in just a few weeks. The short of this story is that I was amazed at how badly I struggled with this ride. At about 45 minutes into the ride, my hands began going numb and my wrists were aching. While I did end up finishing the time (though I had to stop a couple of times for a few minutes just to stretch), I am beginning to doubt myself and my ability to actually carry through with this goal.

I've started to ask, "What is motivating me to do this ride?" I'm asking this question because I fear that on the day of the ride, I will simply want to give up when it gets tough and call it a day. It's difficult to be in pain and keep moving forward. I know I'll have to decide if it's pain I can live through, or if it's the kind of pain where I really should stop before I get hurt even worse. While I try to figure out the answer to my own question, I continue to train, and hopefully, the motivation will find me before the day of the ride.

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