Sunday I faced a big fear - PCH. The last time I rode on this particular stretch of road I had a bad crash and wound up in the hospital, with a concussion. And, I looked like this the next day. Not cute. All swollen and bruised and scraped. Lovely. Needless to say, cycling on PCH scares me a little (it scared me BEFORE my crash, now post crash, its a whole new level.)
There were options for the ride/run on Sunday, I didn't have to go back to PCH. But, I decided it was time to get back out there and face it again. I was nervous, and rightfully so. But, I knew the longer I waited the harder it would be. Actually, I didn't tell anyone this, but as we were getting on the road, I felt my eyes filling with tears (no tears actually spilled out, but I knew they were there, waiting). I took a deep breath, clipped in, and pedaled on down the road. I was really really nervous. I was trying very hard not to be scared.
I started out really strong - actually probably going a bit too fast. I tried not to think about the place where I had crashed, which I would come across on my way back in. It was an out and back ride, ~12.5 miles each way. I got to what was the last (and basically) only incline on the way out and I just lost my breath and power on the way up and started to tip over. I caught myself, but then I couldn't get stated again, it was too steep. I had to walk my bike to the top. Fail. I actually started to have a minor panic attack in that moment. But, I pulled myself together and made it to the top.
I got to the turnaround and started back. Right after I started to head back I heard an unfamiliar noise. I got off the bike and realized I had a flat tire, on the back tire. Crap. I have practiced changing the front tire, but I have never tried changing the back tire. It took me a couple minutes just to get the damn thing off the bike, with the chain and all, it was a situation. It was taking me so long to get back to where Coach Jason had seen me that he came to find me. He helped me get the tire changed and I was finally on my way again.
I knew the accident zone was coming up, but I didn't know how far ahead. After the ~20 minute stop to change the tire my body was not happy that I was on the bike again. But, I was doing okay. A little slower than the beginning. Then, Coach Brad came and found us. Then, the noise, again. Flat rear tire, again. Luckily there was a coach with me, and he helped me change it. (At this point I had two flat tires in my jersey, looking all crazy like a humpback - I wish I had a picture, I don't. I'm a bad blogger. Also, I need to figure out how to change the tires myself.)
Back on the road again, my body was even angrier. I was feeling spent, and nervous, the pothole was approaching. After we passed American Apparel I knew it was coming up, but I didn't know how quickly. As we were pedaling along I realized that I didn't remember any of this part of the ride from when I fell. A little unnerving to ride somewhere that you've definitely ridden before, but have zero recollection of. But, I saw the spot, it's marked with orange spray paint - with an x through it and a circle around it. I looked at it and in my head said, "You will not take me down again!" It's weird, but it felt good to get past it and say that to myself.
I finally made it back to the start point to begin my 4 mile run (more than 2.5 hours total after I started - including more than 30 minutes of time stopped dealing with the flat tires). I was exhausted and had no idea how I would get that run done. But, I did it. But, tt hurt, bad. I started having a weird pain on my inner right thigh, especially on the uphills. But, I got the run done and faced my fear of PCH. All in all a successful day, even with the flats, slow poke end, and even though the run sucked and was crazy slow (12:30 min mile pace). But, I faced it and next time I'll be less scared.
Side note - that pain in my thigh has become a slightly bigger issue. I wound up going to the doctor on Tuesday morning before work and had to get physical therapy prescribed for a pulled groin (seriously, I want to use the actual muscle names, but I can't remember, adductor, abductor? I don't know) and I got a prescription for anti-inflammatories, cause I still have a nasty bruise from the fall a week ago Wednesday, on my hip, he seemed to think this was part of the cause of the thigh pain (as the bursa is still inflamed).
See the picture below of the giant bruise, I put my finger in the photo so you could get an idea of the size. Gross, right? It's like the size of a salad plate. It looks a little better today, but not much. It's still a little swollen and painful to the touch. Nothing is broken or torn, it just looks bad. He also thought that a 40 mile bike ride this weekend might be "aggressive," so we'll see how that goes. (I'm nervous about the bike ride, what if I get 20 miles out and suddenly my leg feels like its going to fall off? These are the things that worry me.)
And, I'm still fundraising, if you want to make a donation please click the link and hit donate now. I know, you're sick of reading that I'm fundraising, but I'm not gonna stop telling you til I reach my minimum, so if you help me out I'll be closer to leaving you all alone ;)