It’s 8:15 AM on a Sunday morning and Kristy and I set out for my first long ride since my injury. Our goal was to meet up with friends, Deena and Noelle and ride 7 miles towards the Stone Mountain and back. We met up at the car wash about 3 miles from the house. Once together, we set out for our ride.
At first, everything felt like old times, but that quickly changed. After the first few minutes, I found myself having a difficulty keeping up with the group and the further we went, the further behind I fell. I would catch up with everyone when we got to intersections, but soon after take off, I started falling behind again. Frustrated, I tried hard to keep up, but could not. Tears started falling from my eyes. It wasn’t like old times and just like everything else, I was starting over again.
After about 5 minutes of self pity, I thought back about a post I wrote last week about remembering to experience everything rather than just rushing through and chalking up another accomplishment. I then wiped the tears from my eyes, put my ear buds in my ears and starting listening to some music while I rode. The difference was immediate. Instead of keeping my head down and focus on my riding, I started looking around at my surroundings. I greeted people I passed, looked at the different homes along the way and before I knew it, my mood had lifted and I started having fun. I was still not even close to catching up with everyone, but they sometimes hung back with me to chat and then went on and I would meet them at the next stop.
By the time we got to the halfway point, I was not ready to stop. I wanted to keep going, so we decided to ride to the Village, an additional 2 or so miles. Before I knew it, we were in the Village of Stone Mountain and the Mountain was about a mile or so away. Being so close, I could not resist and insisted on going the entire distance. When we got to the mountain, I was all smiles. This was the first time since my injury that I felt like life was getting back to normal.
After a small break, we started heading back home. All was well until I hit the halfway point home. I could feel the fatigue building up in my legs and about a mile from the house, It took everything in my just to keep my feet moving. I just kept repeating a quote I read in the book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior; “You can quite as many time you want just keep moving.” That’s what I did and I made it home feeling a level of exhaustion I’ve never felt before, but it sure felt good.