The hardest thing you will ever do in my mind is accept a helping hand. Why? It is to accept that you are not strong enough on your own to accomplish what you intend to accomplish. In reality, none of us are strong enough on our own. Individually we can do amazing things, but together what we can accomplish is truly unbelievable!
In my life I learned right or wrong you have to try and do things on your own. The older I get I realize that we are never truly in it by ourselves. Wether it is a work task, or an athletic endeavor there is always someone there to lend a helping hand.
I’ve struggled lately with some job changes and I’ve felt incapable of what is being asked of me. It is my shallow perception that has been the road block, not my abilities. I have some very strong teammates that are willing to coach, and mentor, and I have been reticent to accept their willingness to help. I’m a nervous S.O.B., and that goes without saying. I fear success as much as I do failure! Why? Because when you succeed the bar is raised and you may not be able to reach it again. Therefore the anxiety takes over and you limit your potential. At the same point I have abilities to offer and limit them because I am too introverted to share my own perspectives due to the fear that they are of no value. This is the wrong attitude, and I will work on it. “Quad A” you know who you are and I thank you for your willingness to share and help me improve. I will try and be more open to the opportunities you offer.
Today, as I was training for my Century ride in September, I visited my dark place. If you have read some of my previous posts, you know it is my own mind. There is a time when I am on my bike that I am free and happy. There are other times when I go to the place that my demons reside and it is a land filled with destructive thoughts. Thinking is never wrong, but beliefs developed during that process can be skewed.
We were doing a 56 mile ride. I only accomplished 50 of those 56, but I am and should be proud of my perseverance. I did not fuel my body correctly, and about 35 miles into the ride I started to have waves of nausea, followed by waves of normalcy in my bodies response to the stress of riding this far. I dropped back from the rest of my team as they rode on ahead. I did not want my difficulty to distract them as they went through their own difficult ordeals. Some make it look effortless, while in reality they are in their own battles with the road, distance, and conditions. I figured I would get there eventually, but it would not be pretty nor fast, but if I could just keep moving forward regardless of pace I would get there eventually.
Enter Scot, my coach this year. Scot dropped back to see how I was doing. Without judgement nor degradation, he just asked me how I was doing and what I was having trouble with. My feet were off and on going numb. I was not feeling well. I was struggling mentally more than physically.
We stopped and raised my seat a quarter of an inch. I was not getting full extension on my legs thus limiting the power from my legs being directed into the pedals. This helped with the feet issues and the back spasms in my hip area of the right side of my body. I was still not riding fast, but my cadence (RPM of the pedal arms) was improved.
The waves of nausea were resolved by setting goals of either a sign post, a copse of trees, or a side road we needed to reach prior to taking a break. I was amply hydrated, but I just had not taken enough calories onboard during the ride. I need to take in 200 - 300 calories an hour while exerting this kind of effort, and I was probably only taking on in total 500 calories from 09:00 - 15:00 during this ride. So I was in the vernacular of cycling “Bonking”. I was running out of gas! We were about 40 miles in at this point, and Scot called in the cavalry the SAG wagon. I agreed to ride on to about 45 miles setting goals, but knowing relief was in my future. We moved on and would rest when I needed it. Then we got the call that one of my team mates was in rough shape. Suffering from dizziness. We were not too far behind where they were at. I told Scot to ride ahead and check on someone that was worse off than I was physically.
Scot went ahead to check on the person in question. I was okay with continuing to set small goals. We got to the location not to far apart in time and the SAG wagon got there about the same time. They loaded up the bike and person and brought them back to the ride’s point of origin. Scot looked at me and said can you keep going? I replied yes I could continue to ride forward until the SAG wagon came and picked me up. We were about 45 miles in at this point.
From 45 miles to 50 miles, I would have these waves of nausea and normalcy, I’d coast when I could and I would set a goal and then take a break. We made it to mile 50 when the SAG wagon was close to returning. I probably could have hacked out another 6 miles, but I probably would be Ill at this time had I? You have to listen to your body and respect what it is telling you. I got a nice ride back to the point of origin, and got to cool down and get some calories into my body.
Scot was able to offer a helping hand, and I was smart enough to accept the generous offer. He kept me moving, and kept me out of my own head and thoughts. For that I am thankful.
It is hard to accept help at times, but you should never feel wrong for doing so. Someone that is willing to take the time out of their own lives and be willing to invest it in you is a pretty amazing thing. I even paid it forward when I got back to the rides point of origin. It was at a Lifetime Fitness location. I had gone in and taken a cold shower to cool down and wash the road grime off my body. I felt better after that and drank a smoothie for some much needed calories. As I was leaving the building I was passing a handicap parking spot and a man was struggling with his cane to reach the back of his vehicle to get his walker out. I asked if it would be okay if I got it out for him, and brought it to him on the side of his car. He replied that yes that would be okay and that he was thankful for my assistance. Maybe he had a better day from my involvement in his life no matter how small a task it was for me to help him. I know I had a better day from the involvement from others in my own life.