Random Ramblings

I Did It!

Posted on: August 11, 2008

Disclaimer! ~ Sorry it’s been so long since a post, but I’ve been blank on ideas. Now that that there is one, it’s a doozy, long but important, at least to me!

Yes the title is true, I did it.  Of course the “it” is completing the bike-a-thon I have been training for.  Yep I rode my legs off yesterday, think I may have left a few of pieces of them in DeKalb, but such is life right?  So to catch you up, a about a year ago it was suggested to me that I needed to pick something to do that would be something new, exciting and out of the ordinary for me.  So that really left A LOT of things I could pick from.  After numerous searches on the internet I had narrowed it down to doing a triathlon, I can swim and I like riding my bike, running however, not so high on my list of things to get motivated for, unless there is a reason like a stark raving lunatic running after me!  So after debating over whether or not to do the triathlon or not I came to the not-so-startling conclusion that I would never really WANT to do one.  Now what?  Well after thinking about it and looking for biathlons that had swimming and biking (why do they all contain running?) and not really being successful I decided that my swimming wasn’t all that stellar either and probably would look really clumsy and slow if I tried it.  There went that idea!

So on to what really did happen!  I FINALLY decided that I could ride my bike for an obscene amount of miles in one day, right?  How hard could it really be?  I used to ride my bike ALL the time when I was younger, until I was 16 it was my main mode of transportation!  Oh was I wrong, riding was not as easy as it used to be, of course I was minimum a hundred pounds lighter, which by some degree has to be easier!  All that aside I decided to go for it anyway, I found one that was in DeKalb on August 10th!  You had the choice of doing 22, 44, or 65 miles.  Ok so at least I had a choice on this, by simple deductions I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do the 44 mile ride.  The 65 seemed like a lot to tackle on my first try, and I figured 22 was something I could do easily, so the training began. 

After my vacation in May I started to ride my bike on weekends. We bought a bike rack so that my husband and I could go to the nearby forest preserve and ride the trail.  He decided he was going to ride with me, which was fine because I could use the company and subsequent support.  We had some major troubles in the beginning with my bike, there was something obviously wrong with my chain as seen by the two times my poor husband had to leave me where I was to ride back and get the truck so he could take us home and get the bike fixed.  Finally I had a new chain and was raring to go.  The weekend before the ride we finally did 22 miles on my bike, the Wednesday before I went on a bike ride by myself and the odometer I have on my bike said I rode 31 miles!  I was SOOOOO excited; I figured that if I could do 31 in like 2.5 hours then 44 shouldn’t be a problem!  That’s another story!

Finally after all the obstacles that were in my way, some of which were my own fault, but that is all in the past right now, anyway we made it to DeKalb on Saturday night.  After taking a nice tour of DeKalb we found the hotel and where the ride was starting from.  I was feeling better that I knew where we were going at least!  We had a nice dinner and then I went swimming at the hotel.  I went to bed around 1030, planning on getting up at 630.  Now what I haven’t mentioned is that at this point, if I could have come up with a reason to go home and not do the ride I would have.  I was scared about doing it, I don’t like being out of my comfort zone and not having a clue on what I am doing, but I went to sleep fully intending on pressing on.  The next morning I got up without too much problem, except it was slow getting John up, which is nothing new!  We got packed up and headed off for breakfast; I barely had an appetite but ate some.  We finally got to where the ride started and I was TERRIFIED to get out of the truck, I actually started crying really hard.  John said we could do whatever I wanted to whether it was stay or go home.  I pulled myself together and we got started

It was cool out at 9am when we were starting; we put on sunscreen, but obviously not enough, as shown by our respective sunburns!  The beginning of the trip was fine, a nice breeze while riding and not too hot, pretty flat terrain!  The problem started when I noticed my odometer said we had done like 18 miles and the map showed we had only done like 12.  I started to wonder if my odometer was off by a little.  We kept going and I would have to stop once in a while just to catch my breath and drink some water.  By the time we got to the first rest stop where they had water, lemonade and food, I knew for sure that my odometer was WRONG!  It said we had gone 35 miles, but the rest stop was at the 21 mile marker.  At that point I thought I was doomed, I now realized that the night I thought I had gone 31 miles was more like 18.  I was a little disappointed but felt ok still so I kept on going.

The next 6 miles were ok, I was going at a decent pace however stopping more frequently after all we had been riding now for 3 hours.  My biggest challenge then was the next turn when we would be heading north for 8 miles, up some hills (without any major down to them) and against the wind!  I had so much trouble on this road.  John would end up about a half a mile ahead of me when he would stop and wait for me to catch up.  Every time it seemed like it would take longer and longer for me to catch up, and each hill seemed steeper and steeper, even though they weren’t steep they were long.  One time I was having trouble keeping myself pedaling that I actually got off and walked the bike up the hill.  That at least seemed to give me back some energy to keep on going.  Of course I’d laugh and get laughed at when I started pedaling and kept saying “Ow! Ow! Ow!” because my knees were starting to hurt when I pedaled, until I got going again.  There was one spot I thought I was done for, I lost all energy to pedal and walked the bike a good probably half mile to catch up with John and told him I was sitting down in the shade for a bit.  He thought it was a bad idea but I had to, I was exhausted.  John suggested that I quit at the next rest stop and I said NO!  He wasn’t going to tell me to quit, I had to do this, I had to finish.  Quitting wasn’t an option!

Finally we made it to the second and last rest stop.  Of course John got there before me and as I rode in the SAG Wagon driver (one of 2 guys who drive the route to make sure people are ok along the way) came up to me to see if I was ok because he passed me and I didn’t look or wave to him.  I honestly didn’t realize that it was him going by.  I said I was ok, just tired.  He told me as did the other guy working the rest stop that if I wanted to stop he would hook up my bike and drive me in.  I said I was ok; at least I was trying to make myself believe that.  After a few minutes, logic crept in and I decided that feeling the way I felt, it was probably better to stop then and let him take me in rather than continue and end up really hurting myself.  I felt it was better to be safe than sorry.  John chose to finish the ride, which I was ok with, he shouldn’t have to stop just because I do.

So there you have it, I didn’t ride the whole 44 miles yesterday, but I did complete 36 of them and I lived to tell about it.  I’m not sure how I feel about the whole experience, I can tell you that I am not even looking at my bike for at least a week because I think my body would revolt if I even attempted to sit on it or touch it.  I’m not sure how I thought I’d feel, but I don’t really feel anything about it, yes I did it and I’m happy that I did, but it’s not how I thought I’d feel.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t finish it for the sake of safety, I don’t know.  I’ve had people tell me they were proud of me and that makes me feel good, but I don’t think the jury is in yet on whether or not I am proud of myself.  Only time will tell, maybe it’s too soon and I’m still feeling the effects of it, maybe after another couple of days I’ll be really excited that I did do this, we’ll see! 

Will I ever do it again; at this point it’s a definite maybe!


19 Responses to "I Did It!"

Jenny, for a first bike-a-thon, I think 36 miles is exceptional. Congratulations. Next time won’t be so scarey. You now know what to expect.

Thanks Patricia! It won’t be so scary if I decide to go it again, which I have already found one in October that has a max # of miles of 50!! I may only do the 30 but we will see!!

Jenny, congratulations! I am one of those crazy people who loves running so I totally get what you’re feeling. I took up running late in life and out of stupidity ran a marathon as my very first race. Yea,kinda dumb, I mean I could have started with a 5k and worked my way up. A DNF even when it’s done for a very good reason carries mixed feelings but you made the right decision! If you want to continue biking, I highly suggest training with a team like Team In Training. You’ll raise money for a good cause and get expert training in the process.


You’ve got the bug now – go with it! Congratulations, and that one in October – you’ll finish it. I know you will.


Karen, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Doing this bike-a-thon meant a lot to me. I’ll have to wait and see about continuing but there is a good chance!

Brett, thanks for the vote of confidence, the more I think about it, the more I think it would be easier to do a second one, the fear of the unknown has diminished. Only time will tell!

thanks for dropping by!


You have a lot to be proud of! 36 miles is nothing to shake a stick at. We rode 24 miles on vacation this weekend and I went straight to the jacuzzi and didn’t come back out for a LONG time. Believe me…I was thinking about you!

Getting started down the athletic road is always wrought with ups and downs, excitement and disapointment. But…it’s kind of like golf, you get that one great moment and it hooks you, you keep going back for more. Jen, you can rightfully say you are an athlete now. Keep training…it gets better each time. I’m VERY proud of you. You fought the mental battle. That’s the important one.

Remember what John (The Penguin) Bingham said: “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

You started. Now you just have to keep on going.

hugs. I love you my friend.

I guess I am proud of myself, it’s just that I thought I’d feel differently. I believe I have awakened something in me that will keep me on the right track for a long time.

I wish I had a jacuzzi to get into when i was done, it would have been nice!

It truly is a miracle that I had the courage to start, I didn’t think I’d make it that far!

Thank you for the kind words! I hope you had a restful vacation! Hope to see you guys soon!

I probably couldn’t ride a bike for six miles, let alone 36! I can dance all night though, so it’s ok 😉 You should be totally proud of yourself. After all, you thought 18 miles were 31 miles and based your training around that, and then went and completed 36. I for one am impressed. So get back on that bike girl!

Melissa, it’s nice to see you here and it’s nice to know that I have impressed people. I will get back on the bike, it just may be a little bit, I need a break. I need to have time where I can ride it for fun for a while! Then we’ll see about another ride!

Hey, Jen. WooHoo!

You have continued to do stage managing….
You have continued to line dance…
You continue to act….
You are still married….

There are lots of things that you have continued doing even though they were at one time outside your comfort zone.

Press on but only if you are getting some satisfaction out of any part of it.

Hi, Jenny! I followed from Melissa’s.

I haven’t done a bike-a-thon but I have ridden 30+ miles in a day for the heck of it (okay, the scenery was a draw) and it is incredibly hard, and a hailstorm didn’t help, so don’t minimize it one bit.

If I can offer a suggestion about your feelings not matching your expectations. I think we see others’ outward expressions of their successes and victories and formulate separately how they must be feeling inside. So when we have our own success or victory we wait expectantly for our preconceived idea of the inside feeling and what we get is reality; pain, exhaustion, disillusionment, low blood sugar, dehydration, lactic acid build-up in our muscles, “the whys,” etc. Doesn’t exactly resemble that exploding champaign moment we witnessed someone else having does it? In time you will put it all in its proper perspective, just have faith.

As for choosing to stop; Seth Godin wrote in The Dip that marathoners decide before they start what has to happen that prompts them to quit based on their vast knowledge of their bodies and their experience with running. You pushed through the dip of learning your training was based on a faulty meter, you compensated by walking and taking a break, but when you could no longer be certain you were safe you took the courageous step of saying “stop.” That is awesome. Hopefully you will have many miles of happier biking in the months to come.

@wendikelly – I had forgotten John Bingham’s quote and I’m am typing it up right now.

@ibirish55 – Thank you for reminding me of those accomplishments that were also out of my comfort zone! Those seem like so long ago and now I couldn’t live without them. Biking has a really good chance of being a staple in my life. Thanks for stopping by!

@Deb – True, I did have a preconceived notion of how things would go as I normally do when I do things. I should know by now that they don’t usually turn out the way I envision, yet I keep hoping that one day they will! Thanks for exploring here, I hope you come back often.



Reminds me of my Mom. She was almost 50 when she started cycling.

Before that, I don’t think she ever went five miles in her whole life. I don’t even know if she owned her own bike (or just borrowed Dad’s).

She was never an athlete, or any superstar at any sports. Just an average stay-at-home Mom.

But she really got into it, and she’s stuck with it ever since.

Now she’s almost 68, and she came back from a 400 mile trip around Vermont. She routinely cycles over 6000 MILES a year. (heck, I havent’ been able to keep up with her since 1991).

(Okay, I realize that’s a bit EXTREME…We don’t all have to be insanne like THAT…) 🙂

But my point is…it’s never too late to start something new!

Keep up the good work.


Thanks for the congrats, I only wish someday I could do what your mother has done! She sounds like an extraordinary lady! Right now I can’t even imagine doing 100 miles, let alone 4000!

thank you for stopping by!

WOW Friar

Every time I here about your Mom I think she should nave her own blog. What an inspiration. Hey…would she like to do a guest post on Life’s Little Inspiration? She is very inspiring!


Ready to start runnung next? Just a little at a time? Swimming? You have me thinking about doing another Triathlon next year. We could do it together…..

you should be very proud of your mom! It seems like everyone likes her around here! Definitely need to work on the guest post!!

I don’t know about a triathlon. I HATE running! ABSOLUTELY HATE IT! But I won’t say no right now…yet.

That’s pretty cool Jenny. I could never do these “thon” things. I manage to get out and walk for my exercise.

It feels good when you complete something that really stretches you.

Thanks! I never thought I could do a “thon” either, until I finally told myself, I have to try, and actually try not just say I’ll try! It paid off!

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