Are you enjoying the journey you are on or you trudging through it?!

calm Lake surrounded by trees

calm Lake surrounded by trees

I have had a mountain bike for years.  The closest ever came to taking it off road was cutting through my yard a couple of times. Mostly I had tootled around our subdivision with it and occasionally venture out a couple miles to a local ice cream shop. Of course my reward for going two miles there was getting an ice cream then resting while I enjoyed my treat before my two-mile trek back home. Well over the last couple of years one of our sons had gotten a rode bike and a couple of my friends had gotten them.  I had done spin classes years ago and knew what those little seats felt like.  I kept thinking I have no desire to get a true rode bike.

I’ve enjoyed doing a variety of sports most my life… volleyball, tennis and softball were my main ones. Well a few years ago I had a complete tear of my ACL in my right knee. I had surgery, but it was never the same. I was just so grateful to be able to get back to playing all the sports I enjoyed, just not to the level I had before.  Then a couple years ago I tore cartilage in my right wrist. Who knew even after surgery that would be such a deal killer, at least for volleyball and tennis. To get some cardio in, I enjoyed taking brisk walks and exercising on an elliptical. Well earlier this year I tore my meniscus in my right knee. With new pain and swelling along with arthritis, walking and the elliptical were now a problem. (Stick with me, this really isn’t about what happens to aging, warn out bodies)

We had a stationary spin bike at home, so I decided to try that. It turned out, I was able to do that and it didn’t seem to bother my knee.  My orthopedic surgeon agreed, besides swimming that biking would probably be the best activity for low impact on my knees. I quickly started talking to everyone I could about pros and cons of a road bike. Including a friend that was a well-seasoned cyclist.  Before I knew it I was in a bike shop buying my first road bike, a helmet and twenty other items you seem to need for this sport. I was so excited, I text a friend with pictures and said “I so want to go on a ride!” We ended up meeting that evening at a local park with paved trails. It was mid-March, in Missouri and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! She said we probably ended up riding close to 8 miles that night… What?! I was hooked! I loved being outside and I loved riding with a friend, I couldn’t stop smiling. I hadn’t even gotten any ice cream and my “seat” area was let’s just say sore, ok maybe slightly swollen as well.

I’m still a very new rider, only having my road bike for a little over 2 months and during that time having knee surgery. Then also struggling with breathing issues that I had never experienced before. Can I say I am fond of breathing! I started finding myself incredibly frustrated with all my unexpected struggles! I couldn’t go as fast and ride as long as I wanted to. Frustrated that I can’t make my almost 50-year-old body do what I want it to do anymore! My focus was starting to become almost totally on improving my speed and distance.

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Then one day I was sitting by a lake after riding, just enjoying the stillness of the moment.  I realized I needed to make a decision of what I really wanted out of this new journey. Was it truly ONLY about speed and distance, I mean that’s why you get a road bike right?! Or did I truly want to enjoy the journey. I’d love to say I am up to 25+ miles a ride, that my “seat” area doesn’t still hurt after most rides and that I’ve got the breathing thing figured out. I pray one day to be able to say that is all true. What I can say is, I still love being outside on the bike. I still love when I get to ride with a friend. A journey is almost always more fulfilling when you get to take it with someone. It feels good to get the workout in even if I only have time to ride 40 to 45 minutes that day. I love the freedom of stopping and taking a picture or two if I see something I want to remember about that ride. If I am riding on paths where people walk as well, I enjoy saying good morning or good afternoon!

Geese and young geese beside and in the lake

Like most new journeys rather it’s a new hobby, a new relationship or a new career, there are many new things to learn.  Especially early on, there are times you are either so uncomfortable or you are giddy with euphoria and can’t even imagine the trials ahead. There is usually always a cost of time, effort and sometimes financial investment as well. Sometimes we are in position to help others, other times we are in need of help (that’s hard for us with pride issues, just sayin!). We are so grateful and humbled by those that have experience and are willing to help bring us along.

In Luke chapter 14 it’s talks about counting the cost before you start to build anything… In the same way if you are starting a new journey of any kind, don’t go in blindly, seek God’s guidance and maybe a couple of wise friends, before you ever start! Then if you decide it’s worth all the cost and effort, be determined not to lose your inner joy during the process! Enjoy the Journey!!

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