I succeeded. My hike, the one that I felt defined me, is over and I accomplished what I set out to do. Way to go ME!
I am beginning to see differences with 6 months of bike riding. It started subtly. Activities that made me feel out of breath quickly, now aren't as difficult as before.
Clothes are fitting differently. I am not at all near 'buy a new wardrobe' but I am at 'those pants that were uncomfortable are now easy to wear'.
My face has changed a bit - it's interesting. It's something I see every day so it's hard to notice. One day I looked in the mirror and I noticed the difference. Almost like it had happened overnight.
My legs. That's a big difference. I began feeling what they could do differently about 3 months in. At the same time I began feeling the difference in how they felt when I walked or flexed for some reason. I couldn't see it. But the muscle was definitely noticeable to the touch.
This week I actually saw the changes in my legs. There's a visible definition that wasn't there before. That shocked me. And made me smile.
Perhaps more importantly, I am noticing changes inside me. Inside my head. I look back at all the things I was afraid of doing. The challenges before me that I never believed I would accomplish, so I pretty well convinced myself to not even try.
I rode 3 miles, but was positive I wouldn't be able to ride 5 miles.
Now I ride 8+ miles for all of my rides.
I rode at 9 mph. I was convinced that I would never reach 10 mph.
Now I am at 13+ and I even saw a 14 once!
That's what conditioning has given me. I have built myself up and improved on myself.
Here's where my mind, my head, has begun to change.
I started out by walking my bike up hills.
Now I have added sections to my ride that have hills. I cringed when I added the first one. Truth be told I flat out whined when I added it. But I did it. My most recent hill addition kicks my ass EVERY SINGLE TIME. I have to talk myself into doing it when I decide on my route in the morning. And sometimes I talk myself out of it. I have to say, though, that when I do make it up that hill, I feel elated.
I avoided going fast down hills. I rode the brakes as hard as I rode the pedals for the up hill portion. I was so scared of losing control.
Now, there are three hills that I look forward to flying down and I am scouring Strava after the ride to see my top speed (I have hit 30 mph!!)
We spend so much of our lives defining ourselves. Making a box around who we are and saying "this is me".
I am not a box.
I don't have a limit.
This is my most recent self revelation.
I know myself well enough to know that I will still struggle with that. It will be easy to slip back and say there are limits to who I am and what I can do.
My only limits are in my head.
I hope I can keep coming back to that.
This year 238 miles
Overall 792 miles