Sunday, March 13, 2011

She's got (tired) legs.

Exactly three weeks ago I was standing in a fitting room with my best friend admiring how wonderful my newly tanned legs looked in a pair of shorts that I desperately wanted to buy. Even though "real" summer (we were visiting Daytona Beach from Boston) wasn't for another three months, I bought the shorts and hadn't thought of my legs again, until today.

Yesterday I went on my first ride with Michael. We went to this park about 30 minutes south of Boston. Being outside was just as fantastic as I expected. It was nice to feel the fresh (albeit cold) air on my face without shaking my phone repeatedly for updated arrival times of the number 11 bus. I haven't been on a bike ride for years, and I was a little nervous. Relaxation washed over me almost instantly with the combination of nature and Michael's patient encouragements. We rode for only 40 mins and, due to a lot of stopping and starting, we only went 4 miles.

There was ice and snow at almost every turn, but after spending months walking over similar mess each morning, I wasn't discouraged. Michael erased any other fears toward rocks, limbs and puddles before they started by expertly tackling them right before my eyes. We finally found a way for my stubborn nature to manifest itself positively! If he did it, I did it. Although he did assure me that "pride before the fall" is a literal adage in terms of mountain biking so I should probably ease up on my competitive nature, at least in the beginning.

For day two, we decided to try a different spot. For the most part, I found the terrain to be about the same. We spent about half the time on paved pathways while we looked for the next off road adventure. I preferred traveling off the beaten path with a couple of exceptions. The second to last one we ventured onto started out great. The trail was narrow and complicated (for me) which I enjoyed. However, the trees cleared and we found ourselves on an open trail next to a riverbank. I had my first experience peddling against unrelenting winds. This is where my legs started to give out.

We made our way back on the paved pathway for only seconds before Michael signaled towards our next dirt packed trail. I followed him towards the intense vertical climb with good intentions but no energy. I ended up coming to a complete stop halfway up. My legs were done. I pushed my bike the rest of the way up to find Michael waiting patiently. He apologized for the climb. He hadn't expected it. I think he said some other things as well, but I have no idea. I nodded along cluelessly while sucking down half the water in my bottle.

We headed back to the car, and I was overwhelmed with disappointment. We did only three miles in 25 minutes, and I was done. I felt like I didn't know my body. When did I become so pathetic? I pouted on the car ride home and shook off any reassurances Michael gave me. It was so upsetting to mentally want to keep going while physically falling apart.

After eating and taking a hot bath, I started to ease up on myself. So I suck. I expected as much, really. There's really no reason to be mad at myself. As for my legs, I tried the shorts on again after my bath. They still look cute.

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