There is nothing quite like the highs and lows of endurance sports to make one reflect on why we participate in these activities. Let’s recap shall we?

Saturday morning I woke up for a 5K that brought me a PR and a big trophy last year. I was nervous, as per usual, and not quite sure how I’d run considering I have been more focused on the swimming and biking then the running as of late.

I met up with Shorty Shorts, his buddy T-Dub, and Big Sis and chatted for a bit before the race start. I wanted to break 22 minutes but after going out way too fast the first mile I knew I was gonna run out of gas. I wound up running a 22:22, which is a 3 second PR. I’ll take it. I also came in first in my age group and got that big trophy again (one of the reasons I do this race is cause they have the best trophies!). In addition, I got two five dollar gift cards, one for Starbuck’s and one for Subway. This would be my high of the weekend, with regards to sports.

I felt good and headed to the beach as the Florida weather was gorgeous! On Sunday I got my recovery run in before heading to that paved bike trail I mentioned before. I met up with my buddies Kris and Tish and three male riders who I just met. All super nice people who shared with me that they too had some fall-down-go-boom issues with the clips.

Now due to my previous falls and wonki-ness, I am nervous before I even get on the bike. My palms are sweating and my heart is racing before I even put my helmet on. I let the other folks ride ahead and have a successful attempt at getting going. Whew. We ride about a mile to the official trail start and then we get to this:

The bridge and path to the seven mile loop was flooded because of all of the crazy rain last week. So I have to stop. Ugh. I successfully get off my bike and wade across with all of the other nut jobs. Since we were there we figured, might as well get a ride in. I then have some wobbly attempts at starting again since we are going up a small hill. Of course, I’m totally in the wrong gear but I get going again with no whammies.
We finally get pedaling along and I feel pretty good. No whammies, I’m feeling a little taxed in my thighs but not too bad and I’m actually getting some good speed. And then, guess what? Another stinking high water spot. Ugh. Only this time, whammy. I slow down and unclip my right foot but for some reason my left foot instinctively wants to touch the ground. No go. It’s clipped in and thus pulls me over. I land on my poor left hip. Again. As I curse like a sailor my riding buds check to see if I’m ok. I am. Sort of. I’m actually shaky, sad, and pissed.
At this point I decide I don’t want to ride that much anymore. I only want to finish the loop and get the hell outta there. I get back on the bike after some chit chat with Kris, who stayed with me thank God! We go about another two miles and I have to stop again to cross the final water obstacle. Kris yells back in a nurturing tone, “Think about what you’re doing.” Which is what I did and I had success getting off this time, but after I crossed the water and was looking at a mile back to the car with the possibility of falling in front of parking lot full of people, I threw in the towel. I let Dolly win. If I try to be anything on this blog, it’s honest. And honestly, I just lost the nerve and gumption to get back on the proverbial horse. My will to ride was shot and I proceeded to have a one mile walk of shame back to the car. It was sad actually. A few times I stopped and thought about how ridiculous I was being and to just get back on the damn bike, but I just couldn’t. My brain kept saying, “Nope. We’re done.” I finally got back to the car and the other riders got back a couple of minutes after I did. One gentleman told me he fell today too. I told him I made that mile walk back and he said, “You’re being awful hard on yourself.” And of course, he was right. I let my nerves get the best of me and I’m beating myself up about the damn clips. After all of this, I needed a drink. I called up my roomie and he met me for a much needed margarita. I told him my woes and he reminded me of how I met a lot of obstacles before in my quest to become an athlete and this was just another I’d have to overcome. He’s also right. I suppose I just need to continue sucking it up and getting out. And probably adding in more rides where all I do is stop and start. It’s not easy doing something that you know is probably going to lead to a whammy. I am going to give myself credit for getting this far. Clips are not easy. This is like teaching an old dog new tricks. The way I’ve ridden a bike for my entire life is being overhauled and I’m sure it’ll take some time. I love how fast I feel when I get going in the clips, the ability to use the “pull” is awesome. If only I didn’t have to stop. My main concern at this point is falling during a race. Oh my lord, can you imagine? Sheesh. I guess the worst case scenario at this point is that if I still don’t feel comfortable before the next sprint tri, I take them off. I want to use them, I truly do and I definitely don’t want to come off as a whiner here cause lots of people fall. But my shakiness on the bike coupled with the scariness of the clips is presenting a big challenge for me. All I can do is my best. And practice, practice, practice.