Was it Failure?

At 7:30 this morning I had every intention of completing a 70 mile bike ride. By 1:00PM I arrived at the 55 mile rest stop with absolutely no energy and a horrible feeling of failure. I sat on a cooler, against a truck in a sliver of shade. The oppressive heat that radiated from the black pavement and the lack of shade, for miles at a time, had taken its toll.
Did I mention the hills? This particular ride is known for its hills. Yes, hills in Texas. The ride description said “The Goatneck Bike ride is a rolling hill course which averages around 35 feet per mile of climbing.” I’ve been doing hill work. I’ve been trying to ride in the heat….it just wasn’t enough.

As I sat in that sliver of shade, pouring ice water over my head, my riding buddy (Rachael) and a nice gentleman (Pat) that I rode with off and on throughout the day, helped me realize the importance of knowing when enough is enough. Pat said to me several times how difficult it is to come back from a heat related illness. Rachael simply helped me understand taking the SAG ride to the finish line was not quitting, it was the smart choice.

As I rode in the SAG truck, I still wasn’t convinced I had made the right choice. Then we rounded a bend in the road and I saw yet another long (very long) hill. I looked at the SAG driver and said, “If I were still on my bike I think the sight of that hill would have caused me to just sit down in the middle of the road.” I had made the right choice, my legs were shot for the day.

It was a humbling experience. I hate giving up, especially when it comes to an athletic activity. One of the mantras I use is, “just keep moving forward.” Today I could not.
The first half-marathon I ran, I didn’t think I would finish. I struggled the last 3 miles and crossed the finish line with calf cramps and knee pain. Instead of deciding this wasn’t for me, I started planning how to train smarter so I would be better prepared for the next one. The same thoughts crossed my mind today. Instead of giving into my frustration and anger I started planning for next year. I started thinking about where I could do more hill work, how to strengthen my back and my core and how to return next year better and stronger.

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27 thoughts on “Was it Failure?

  1. Mabel Kwong

    You did your best, Tree. You should be proud of yourself, and I am proud you actually tried doing the 70km bike ride. Trying is already a success – you can now brag that you rode 55 miles. Not everyone of us can say that 🙂 It is great that you recognised your limits, and none of us would have wanted you to get hurt. Good on you 🙂

    Reply
      1. Mabel Kwong

        Think of it this way… If I were there, I would only manage 5 miles at most. You would have beat me hands down and shown what a strong person you are 🙂

  2. Midwestern Plant Girl

    You should focus on the fact you got 55 miles under your belt! Many can’t say that.
    It’s smart you stopped b4 hurting yourself. However, you can use these thoughts of ‘not finishing’ in the future to prod yourself on to train for the day you can finish the 70 miles, without injury!

    Reply
  3. joannesisco

    Some days it’s just not there for you. I concur that knowing when to stop is an important skill to have. It ensures that injury / illness is prevented. Fifty-five miles on a hilly, hot course not feeling 100%? Sounds like success to me.

    Unfortunately, I’ve been there Tree and I know that *failure* to achieve a goal doesn’t taste very good. Neither does heat exhaustion. Trust me – I know that one too :/

    Reply
    1. treerabold Post author

      Thanks Joanne! I know it was the right decision….I just really hate that I had to make it at all 😦
      I hate to hear you’ve experienced heat exhaustion. Yesterday was the closest I’ve come and it did not feel good.
      How is the collarbone coming along?

      Reply
      1. joannesisco

        Heat exhaustion is definitely not fun. It took me 3 weeks to recover from dehydration and heat exhaustion! Better to quit while you’re ahead!!

        Recovery is coming along. I’ve discovered that it feels much better when I rest it and don’t try to do too much. It’s an interesting concept 😉

  4. joannesisco

    Well, since I hurt my shoulder trying to spin indoors on my bike last week … yes, I’ve slowed down. I was quite worried I had done some damage to the bone that was trying to mend. I’ve learned my lesson.

    Reply
  5. pattisj

    You came back with a plan for next year. I’d say that’s a good thing. I also agree you did the right thing to stop when you did. 55 miles is no small thing!

    Reply
    1. treerabold Post author

      Thank you Imelda. In hind sight I’m sure I did the right thing. I’ve continued thinking about that ride non-stop…next year!
      Thanks for commenting

      Reply

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