Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Progress Physically, Regress Mentally


In the last 12 days, I have travelled 257 km on my bike.

You would think that I would be happy, pumped, driven, ready-to-go. Actually, I am pretty much back to where I was 12 days ago: Just starting to gain confidence, with just 17 days to go until I am facing the challenge of my life.

12 days ago, on a pretty chilly Saturday morning, I headed out for a ride with my friend Steve, a colleague that recently moved to the neighbourhood. Steve tragically lost his father to Cancer just a couple of years ago, and is touchingly dedicating his Ride to Conquer Cancer to the memory of his dad. We headed out at about 7am from his place, heading west on Lakeshore Road into Burlington. As great a guy as Steve is, his wife has her Angel Pie firmly wrapped around her little finger, so he had to be home within an hour, and turned back at Walkers Line.

I was actually feeling pretty good, so I kept going a little longer before looking at my little odometer and realizing that I had gone 21km. I was stoked! I even called Corrie to tell her how far I had travelled, and that I was on my way home. Then, at around the 30km mark, the pain started to kick in. I was getting tired, and sore. I struggled my way back to Fourth Line in Oakville, ready to turn north for the last 7km, the home stretch. Then it hit me like a punch in the face.


Not only was I freezing at this point, my clothes damp from sweat, and on a serious incline heading north from the lake, but this crazy wind came out of nowhere, and it felt like the incline was suddenly Mount Everest. It took forever to finish that stretch, taking me to 43km for the day. But boy did I feel like crap. I could barely walk, and even had trouble getting on the floor to put Sofia into her car seat later in the day.

Determined to do back-to-back rides, I was up again at 7:00am, this time on my own, heading north into Milton. This time, it was the first 10km.

Really, I wanted to die.

About 15 minutes in, I was in so much pain, and totally out of breath. I clearly had not recovered from the previous day. And for the first time, I really started to think there is no way I am going to be able to do this stupid 200km ride. What the HELL made me think this was a good idea. I was cursing Peter for convincing me to do it. I was cursing Aaron for making it look so easy. And I was cursing myself for letting myself get into a situation where I would letting so many people down, including myself, and in a such a humiliating fashion, say, I don't know, by maybe WRITING A BLOG ABOUT IT.

I came this close to reaching for my phone and calling Corrie to come pick me up, but knew she and Sofia would probably be still sleeping, and I was so embarrassed. I told myself "just get past the 407", then "just get to Lower Baseline", then "just one more km....just 3 more...". Next thing I know, I made it to Milton Hospital at Derry Road and First Line, about 17km. I took a break, had some water and a snack, and thought about how I would get home again. Except going home ended up being a breeze. It wasn't an easier ride than it was coming, but I suddenly felt like a million bucks. I don't know if I had just finally warmed up, or if that granola bar gave me a shot of energy, but I flew home to complete 34km, a total of 77km for the weekend.

While that was a great physical feat for a fatty like me, mentally I had totally gone backwards, and I was completely depressed about it, and didn't know how to deal with it.

How did I get over it? Well, it was talking to another colleague at work, Andie. She was in my office, and I was telling her what a horrible weekend it was, and how I felt totally defeated. She looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. "You know, when you started this thing, you were completely terrified just to be on two wheels," she said. "Now you just did 77km in two days! What the hell is wrong with you?"

Hmmmmmm. The women makes a point.

The rebound began, and I haven't looked back. I did 26km and 34km during that week, and then cranked out 51km and 39km this past weekend (way easier than last weekend), before another 31km last night. It still feels a little crazy that I will try and do 200km in 2 days, but it is starting to feel a little more doable.

This coming weekend, I am planning on doing a 65km ride on Saturday, and then 50ish on Sunday. After a couple of shorter ones during the week, my last training ride will be next weekend, hopefully in the 80-90km range.

I hope I live to tell you about it.

Thanks Andie.


  1. We're soo proud of all your training over the last week and a bit - you are doing awesome and will rock the ride in a few weeks.

  2. Mo - Andie is right and your attitude to take it one kilometre at a time is the way to go...I've done a number of long runs/marathons/rides where it was one lamp post at a time. You will be so overwhelmed with emotion from the weekend that the 200K will fly by!