I know next to nothing about biking. None of the technical names for stuff, none of the slang. If I had to perform even minor maintenance, I'd be in big trouble. I tried reading bike-related blogs and websites but they were loaded with too much info about bikes seats and boy parts, and the pros and cons of dudes shaving their arms and legs. Even I got a little squeamish when they started discussing shami butter and how to relieve yourself while still in the saddle. Are they serious?
Anyway, my mom and I were talking about my sister, Lisa, who recently ran a marathon. Lisa has had some issues lately that contributed to painful muscle cramps starting at mile 2. My mom can't imagine running that far at all, let alone running in pain for that distance. She wondered out loud, how and why people do it. My answer, was simply this . . . Because she has done it before. She trained for it. I know that sounds weird but let me explain.
When we train for a marathon or a long bike ride we follow a program to build miles over time. Training plans are packed with strength and stretching, cross training, a build-up of miles, and recovery weeks. Anybody, at any level, can get a training program to help them train for a race or a new distance but there is one thing I have never seen on a training program. I've never seen a training program that encourages it's user to "feel" and to really experience the training. We go through the motions and put all our emphasis on race day and sometimes we forget what it feels like to ride because we love it. We actually get a extra bonus because while we are building miles, we are also building our mental strength and our energy to ignore the normal hurt and push harder. That's how we get better and stronger.
So, I'm not super knowledgeable about my bike and I couldn't locate my derailleur to save my life but I do know something, the most important thing in my opinion . . . I know what it feels like to put my gear on piece by piece, climb into the saddle, and cover some miles. I know what it feels like to tuck into a downhill, and to feel the burn of a long climb. I know what it feels like to leave my driveway and not come home until I've covered three counties. I know what it feels like to rejuvenate with fuel and I know what it feels like to bonk so hard I can't get off the concrete. I know what it feels like to ride further than I rode last time.
We can only accomplish physically, what we believe we can do, mentally. And whatever that force is, that energy inside that drives us gets fueled as we find enjoyment in our training while building ourselves physically.
We need to love the training and
then rock the races.
And I can't wait to do it again.