That was my predominant thought yesterday on the return 5 miles of my 10-mile bike ride. I did a lot of mental cursing, actually, and on the last 1/2 mile-long climb at about Mile No. 9, I was audible in expressing my distaste for the stupid hill. To the police officer who was directing traffic at my left-hand turn, and who had traffic backed up waiting for me to traverse the last little bit of yet another hill, I said, "I don't ever want to do that again."
Then I rounded the bend, and saw my family there yelling for me, and it was awesome.
But for real, the ride definitely had some rough moments for me. Like, right out of the gate when we had to climb, climb, climb. I wasn't expecting that. I'd never been on the route before and really had no idea. For the first time, about a half-mile into the whole thing, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I wouldn't be able to finish.
On the way back, on the last big hill, my legs were moving just enough to keep me upright on the bike. I tried not to glance in front of me, but rather focused on the white line moving (slowly!) beneath me, all the while repeating to myself, "One pedal in front of the other." In retrospect, that doesn't even make sense, but before I knew it, I had crested the hill and was coasting down.
A couple times I closed my eyes. I sucked water out of my water bottle and put myself into a coughing fit once. I was smoked by a 7-year-old. About Mile No. 3, my head started pounding. I did not fall, but wobbled a couple times. I really considered walking my bike up the last big hill, but was afraid that once I got off, I wouldn't be able to get back on. I never got off. I never stopped. I didn't realize how technical riding a bike is; I know I made it difficult for myself by being in the wrong gear at the beginning of climbing, and then shifting down too soon. By about Mile No. 8, I was catching on.
Some things I thought about on the way:
1) I will never pass anyone.
2) The downhill you're enjoying now is waiting for you on the way back.
3) I don't ever want to do this again.
4) If Lance Armstrong can do this with one testicle, by golly, I can do it too.
5) I don't want to be last.
6) I wonder what I look like right now.
7) I feel powerful.
8) I'm doing this inhibited by a disease, but I'm still doing it.
9) This sucks.
10) Forget everything I said about it "just" being 10 miles.
11) It's all mental. Whatever. No, it's not.
12) My ass hurts. So do my arms, back, shoulders, neck. And, oh yeah, my legs.
Surprisingly to me, when I got off and handed the timing chip to my relay buddy, I wasn't as wobbly-legged as I'd been expecting. And about 30 minutes later, I was tentatively ready to do it again.
Lauren and I finished third in our division. I placed 58 out of 71 on the bike portion - 10 miles in 56 minutes. I haven't done anything physical for 56 straight minutes in a really long time. The first time I even rode the bike was Thursday.
And it felt really cool to win a little trophy.