Friday, January 26, 2007


What is it about pushing your limits that's so freaking fun and important at the same time?

Take the bike: In truth, I'm terrified on the bike. OK, not when its on the trainer, but when its anywhere within a ten mile radius of any car, a persistent hum of terror underscores every second I peddle. My last ride on the outside was beautiful. It was great. It was at least 70% terror. Going downhill totally freaked me out - I was riding the front brake on every significant hill. Granted, there was a lot of debris on the trail that Red Molly, being a sleek, streamlined road machine rather than a clunky, sturdy mountain bike, just couldn't handle. Or rather, her tires couldn't handle it. Sorry Molls. And the abject terror that accompanied me down every hill was nothing compared to riding in a bike lane in traffic with trucks speeding by me - nope, couldn't get over into the EMPTY outer lane. Too inconvenient. Sorry. Some of them even beeped - like "Hello, I'm coming behind you." No shit, like I haven't been clenching my handlebars in a total panic since I heard you behind me like a mile back. Thanks. Then, there was the headwind and the 30 degree weather. You think this is turning into a rant - but its not. That's what totally amazes me. It was one of my best days ever(not even in the category of my son's birth or my wedding day, but one of my best ordinary days. ever). I got off the bike elated. My hands were completely numb - from lack of circulation, not the cold. I know I need to move the handlebars up a bit, but the screw is stuck. Doc said to try coke, but I am wondering off of the subject. So, my hands were numb; my heart was pounding from the traffic; the last mile I was convinced I wasn't going to make it, that the sun would set and I would be sitting beside the road crying; I had endured abject humiliation in front of several people drinking beer; and I had a BLAST. Why? I know I've said why is unimportant but it bears asking.

Why do I have a better time in the pool on the days that I push myself to the point that I feel like I'll drown if I try any harder (despite the fact that you can stand up and touch bottom anywhere in the lane)? Why are the runs that push my limits beyond any point I've ever imagined so much more memorable? If I find that answer, I think I'll unlock a very key element in what makes me tick. I suppose the short answer is - I like the fire.

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