“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right. - Henry Ford
I did it! I completed the GranFondo Saturday, September 9, 2017, in a time of 5:32:32.
It was a challenging day in the sense that it was supposed to rain. I checked the weather many times leading up to the event. I had thoughts of being soaked, grinding out the ride, unsure if I could do it, coupled with, "Would the bike that I only rode for 4 hours hold up?" Along with the inexperience of riding this particular bike. I purchased it from Kickstarter. It was a bike created as part of a campaign by some bike start-up enthusiasts, so it had no previous track record.
When I got to the start line at 6 AM it was cloudy and overcast but no rain. Yay!
I was gifted an entry in the Alta Classe. This was nice in the sense that I was able to start 10 minutes ahead of the main group. There were also some other perks afterward, like massage and a buffet of amazing food. This was a pleasant surprise as I've never raced in this class before.
When the start gun fired, my strategy was a steady cadence of 90 on the pedals and breathing through my nose. This helped me immensely. It ensured that I wouldn't push it too far or too hard especially since I hadn't trained for this. Which brought me to my main question, "Could I do this?" My only training had been ridding to and from work for 25 minutes on my commuter bike.
I had an idea of what my power numbers were when I used to train for Ironman. I used this as a guide along with breathing through my nose. I knew that if I could breathe through my nose I wasn't pushing it to the point of blowing up. I also decided to stop at each of the 5 rest stops and gather myself along with minimal nutrition. This consisted of half a banana, potato chips and a Cliff bar. I can recall many gut issues during previous Ironman races, so I kept it light. As long as I had the energy to get the job done, I was ok.
About 20 minutes into the race, when I was in West Vancouver on the Upper Levels highway, it started to rain. It only let up for about 5-10 minutes, an hour into the race and continued to pour as the day went on.
About a quarter of the way (30km), I realized that I had cramps for the first time in my left quad. This was surprising because I've never had cramps. I've trained and completed 5km, 10 km, 1/2 marathons, ultra-marathons and Ironman races with no cramping. I knew, however, that if I shortened the muscle that it would likely cramp, so I kept telling myself, “Keep peddling!"
I had a fair amount of chatter going on, and despite the amount of rain that was coming down, I realize that it was positive and encouraging. I kept using the phrase from the book The Tools, “Bring it on! I love pain. Pain sets me free". Despite having some questions about being able to finish, I just kept peddling.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. It was a grueling day in the rain. I was soaked from head to toe. Never took a jacket and my feet were sloshing around in my shoes.
The reason that I share this story with you is not that I did something great. Rather, that I did something that I thought I couldn't do. I had big questions about whether I could do this. I would encourage you to do something that scares you or that you think you can't do. Those are often the times you’ll surprise yourself. You can do something more than you originally thought. If we test ourselves and push ourselves past our preconceived upper limit we attain the most personal growth.
I’m grateful for my body, the knowledge of how it works and my previous race training. It certainly helps me in situations like this!I did it!
Be well and move often. :)