If you read women’s magazines, you’ll recognize the phrase: “listen to your body.” It’s used in a variety of contexts, and is supposed to empower women to highly prioritize their physical needs. Those offering this super helpful tip, always seem to be wagging their ignorant fingers in my face. I’m looking at you, Oprah.
“Listening to my body,” implies that my body runs the show. But no. It’s the other way around. My schedule includes preschool pickup, so. many. diapers., cooking and cleaning for five, wrangling 2-year-old twins into nap time, activity shuttle service, writing obligations, endless errand running, and a Godforsaken black hole where available babysitters should be. My family’s schedule; its needs, run the show. My body might be screaming, for all I know. But there’s no way I would hear it.
When I commit to a cycling event, the family equivalent of an international G7 summit is required. Every detail of training has to be hammered out months in advance. Work schedules, kid activities, travel, my husband’s bike racing commitments…all must be managed. This summit (held in 2012) brought me to Ride The Rockies 2014. But it couldn’t foretell that I would throw my back out this week. Nor was the summit equipped to address horrible weather or a change in my husband’s work schedule. When training is allotted, I must simply do it.
This week I battled wind, exhaustion and back pain. Had I listened, my body would have told me to shove it. Only the last of three training rides was promising, though it was rush hour and I feared for my life every second. I was hurting and frustrated for most of the week, yet even at my worst, I am always aware that it’s a privilege to be on my bike. A luxury. Something about motherhood, at least for me, is what makes this perspective possible. I know acutely that I could skip the bike tours, but would be unhappier for it on the whole. I know why I ride.
The week of Ride The Rockies, I am driving 6 hours to deliver my three young children to the homes of three trusted families. Then I’ll catch a plane and meet my husband and the rest of our team in Denver. As I ride, I will think about my kids at least as much as my inevitably bruised butt and tired legs.
If you get out of a life challenge, what you put into it… let’s just say I’ll be the one at the finish line kissing strangers and making speeches. I didn’t sign up for this because I had the time; but because I didn’t.
My dad Greg, has been riding the hills of Holton, Kansas, despite breaking a spoke last week, he is on track with his training plan. We completed the 50 mile Redbud Classic in OKC a month ago, and this year we weren’t the last ones to finish. #personalrecord.