On Saturday, Don and I participated in the Tour de Cure ~ San Diego. We tackled the 55 mile course. It was incredible. I mean really. It was a life changing day.
We have been training for months. A few weeks ago we did a test ride. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Istruggled. The flat ground was no problem at all. I could have kept going forever. However, there were hills. OH. MY. WORD. The hills!!!! I knew there was no way I was going to be able to do the ride.
Don~ my her0 ~ my sweet, strong hubby pushed me up the hills. He wiped the blood and tears away (yes, there were both). He was patient and loving and encouraged me all the way. When I was certain there was no way I was going to be able to go on, he believed I could and so, with his help, I was able to.
We came home and did some quick hill training. I learned when to shift gears more effectivly. I even discovered a better way to breathe while climbing hills. Don changed my pedals for me, so I wouldn’t feel trapped.
The Thursday before our ride I was so nervous, excited, sick to my stomach…
Friday, we spend the day doing touristy stuff in San Diego. It was so relaxing. We ate some amazing food. We were fueling up for the next morning. Before going to sleep, we laid out all our clothes and made sure we had everything ready for our ride.
Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early. I put on my Red Rider jersey. As a diabetic I was part of the reason we were riding; To raise money to stop diabetes. Our ride was to start at 7:30 am…
I was a bundle of nerves and excitement waiting for the start. Everyone was chatty and happy and ready to get going. At 7:30 exactly we headed out. Riders of all different skill levels participated in the ride. It didn’t take long for the groups to get spread out. It was a beautiful day. We rode along the shore and through the beautiful hills. God’s glory was everywhere.
There were times during the ride that I was certain I had made a mistake in thinking I could ride for 55 hilly miles and finish. Sometimes we were flying along at 20ish mph. Other times (on the hills) we crawled along at 4ish mph. Three or more times, my hero came to my rescue and pushed me up the last little bit of the steepest hills. A couple times, my legs just didn’t want to continue pedaling, so I walked. Don was sweet and stayed with me.
The first time I cried was when I made it up the steepest hill to the rest stop waiting at the top. When we rode a few weeks ago I had a panic attack on this hill. To be able to do something that had completely beat me before was so very satisfying. I had to just sit for a minute at the rest stop and let the tears of relief, exhaustion & victory fall. The ride was still difficult after that rest stop, but I knew I had done the worst of it. It was while sitting there, catching my breath, that I knew for sure that I was going to be able to finish the entire ride.
As we rode the last part, when we could see the finish line in the distance, Don said, “go ahead of me. I want you to ride in first.” He knew how difficult this had been for me. He understood all that finishing the ride was going to mean for me. I couldn’t choke down the tears enough to tell him that I wanted to ride in next to him.
This ride was a journey for me…
I learned somethings about myself and somethings about my husband. I learned that I am an athlete if that is what I want to be. I learned that my level of healthiness is not defined by diabetes, cancer or depression. I learned that Don wants to be my hero, my strength when I have used all of mine and he wants to help me, just to help me, because he loves to help me. I learned that I need to let him be all of that for me.
I know now, that my body is not broken because I have diabetes. It is not broken because I had cancer. Even though depression is something I continue to deal with on a daily basis, it dos not mean I am broken. I am strong. I am capable. I am healthy.
I can ride 55 miles!