I mentioned recently that we had a strange/scary surge of cyclist/car accidents recently. It prompted me to write a Share The Road entry, mainly as the wife of a cyclist. Well, last night we had a solidarity ride/fundraiser event for two cyclists in our community that were hit recently. Because it was held at Redstone Arsenal, which is a secure location, we had to register in advance to get our names on an approved entry list. Last I heard, we had 200+ registered last night. And while I couldn’t see everyone because my husband and I started in the front of our line, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me all 200 showed up. It was AMAZING.
Even though this was a solidarity ride, meaning the whole “speed” and “passing” thing shouldn’t have been too much of an issue, I was VERY nervous. I still do not like riding bikes. I do it on the Greenway, and when I do I enjoy it, but I hate group rides and I hate riding on roads. Part of this is because I’m still very new and not comfortable yet. BUT! Part of it is – THIS IS JUST ME. I am still a high-anxiety driver and I’ve been driving for 22 years. I still avoid dangerous roads and intersections and 90% of left turns AT ALL COSTS. So, while I do give a little bit of weight to the idea that more time on the bike will help, I don’t think I’ll ever been completely without anxiety on the bike because I’m not completely without anxiety in my car.
Donnie and I decided to stick with the middle distance group (sub-12 miles) and stick with the middle pace. They sent us out in groups and no one in our group seemed to want to go the “fastest” pace (which was still only supposed to be about 16 mph) so everyone left with the “middle” pace with Donnie and I kinda in the lead.
I ALMOST HAD A PANIC ATTACK WHEN WE STARTED.
But once we got going I did okay. I learned how to do turn signals this summer which was a HUGE improvement from last summer. I was very proud of myself. I signaled at every turn last night even though we had safety support blocking intersections and there were cyclists all around me also doing signals. My signal was not 100% necessary but I did it anyway! Because I’m a big girl bike rider!
All in all it went well. I signed up for my first Olympic Distance Triathlon next July so I really need to get more comfortable riding on the road between now and then – even if I’ll never be SUPER comfortable. I’m not even really confident I understand the mechanics of my bike still. I panic every time I have to shift gears, assuming the entire thing is going to fall apart in the middle of the road. (I also have panic attacks relating to car issues too, this is just me.) But I’m hoping this adventure of training for an Olympic Distance Triathlon will help me with some of my issues.
I’m just not ever going to LOVE cycling. The same part of me that hates driving is going to always hate cycling a little bit. And that’s okay. I know I’ll do a 100-mile run before I’ll ever do an Ironman or even a half-Ironman! I’d rather run for 24 hours than bike for 3 or more.
But, I am pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, and that’s the only kind of progress that’s important right now!
First: Thank you so much for easing my mind on yesterday’s entry. My follow-up question for some of you (because so many people suggested finding a good realtor) how do you shop around for realtors? Like…do they look at your house, give you an opinion/plan and then you decide? I’m not sure what they do before you sign the contract, so I’m curious how to get the best idea of their process/skill before deciding.
And Now! For Today’s Entry! Where I play the “They Just Don’t Know How Much I Do!” overworked Mom card!
But seriously. They Just Don’t Know How Much I Do.
This entry is basically the periodic entry I have to write telling ALL OF THE SHIT I DO because no one who lives in my house notices and therefore doesn’t give me the praise I (probably shouldn’t) need so I tell YOU guys what I do just to document it somewhere to make me feel better about the few things I don’t do and then, of course, hate myself for.
(It’s a formulaic entry around here. If you’ve been here awhile you’ve seen this entry in other variations.)
You know my husband is training for an Ironman, right? I’ve mentioned that 100 million times? Well, about a month ago as his new job schedule solidified and his training amped up, we shifted to Kim Does All Of The Cooking (he likes to cook, and used to cook 3 times a week) which is FINE. As long as he doesn’t mind what I cook, right? He doesn’t even mind me cooking Vegan meals. I’ve offered to add in a chicken breast for him but he says, “Nope. I get plenty of protein in my shakes and my lunches.” So! For a month now I’m doing all the cooking.
But I’m also doing all of the post-cooking clean-up. We used to balance things by making the Clean Up person be different from the Cooking Person. But, his training is at like the 15 hours a week mark, so his hours are few and his rest is important…SO! I cook AND I clean. And I shop. And I do laundry. And I mow the grass (he hasn’t had to mow the grass all summer). And I weed the flowerbeds (sometimes). And I take the kids to/from school. And to/from doctor’s appointments. And I volunteer at the kid’s school. And I take them to/from all soccer games and practices. And I do homework with them. And I pack their healthy/no waste lunches.
I DO IT ALL.
And I work full-time.
Well, now is the time where his training starts to taper a bit (he has a half-ironman tomorrow, his full ironman is 9/28) and mine picks up. I have a marathon in October and it just keeps going from there. SO! Today I get to run early. Nothing too long, maybe 15 miles, but still, it means I can’t help with the soccer games. Which is how it works during my training. My training overlaps with soccer season so I do all of the weekly games/practices and Donnie takes the Saturday ones. This is the first Saturday game of the year, so I was worried about their routine. He has to drop Nikki off at her coach’s house on the way to take Wes to his game. (Their games are at the same time, two different parks.) SO! I made sure to get the kids to set out their stuff last night to MAKE SURE there would be no last-minute panic attacks when Donnie can’t find something.
But of COURSE, I feel guilty because I’m not going to be at those games. I went to both games this week and I’ve been at every practice. But I feel bad I won’t be at these games.
Why do I do that to myself? Did I not just write that exhausting paragraph earlier outlining all that I do for this family? Why do I feel bad about this ONE THING. I take Saturday mornings (and Sunday mornings as the season progresses) to do MY thing and the rest of the week I work around their schedule and do everything for the family and still…still…I feel bad about it. Donnie comes home from work/working out and plays video games to unwind while I cook/clean/help with homework/hang with the kids etc and he feels NO GUILT WHATSOEVER. I’m loudly getting the kids ready for bed, doing dishes, putting up laundry and he’s just zoned out on the games. He feels NOTHING. And me, one Saturday game missed and I feel like the WORST IN THE WORLD.
BAH. I want to be a little more like Donnie.
(And it wouldn’t hurt things for him to be a little more like me.)
Thanks for letting me vent. I’m going to proceed with my long run/self hate session! Wheee!
First and foremost – I was looking through my Flickr photos (I used to archive all my photos there but I ended up setting the privacy to almost all of them to “me only” because they were having weird issues with photo theft and orkut fake profiles) and I found this photo. This was me documenting my calendar/planner addiction. This was all of the calendars I had used/tried to use in ONE YEAR. Now do you see how impressive my “I’ve Been Using The Bullet Journal For A Whole Year!” declaration was? I went from all of that nonsense (which was, by far, the worst it ever got) to ONE item. ONE. ONE. ONE. FOR A WHOLE YEAR. ONE.
Okay. Sorry. I’m done blathering on about this.
(HAHAHAHAH!!!111!!11!1!!!! NOIMNOT. Just done for TODAY.)
ANYWAY! I ran 18 miles yesterday. In 2013 Donnie and I ended up with a year where he focused on his 70.3 training all summer and I focused on ultra-training all winter. This wasn’t our intention but it worked out beautifully and so I thought we’d do the same basic thing again this year. (I’ll get to why we’re NOT later. I have to decide how frustrated I am about it first.) But – there’s still the Spring/Fall overlap and right now I’m needing long runs and he’s still training for his Ironman. So, last week? I got NO long run in. I did 7 miles on Saturday before Nikki’s triathlon. It’s too hot for me to set out for 18 in the middle of the day, and Sunday we spent all day at Donnie’s other race. So! Yesterday, I begged for a long run Saturday morning since he had to do a Swim/Run and couldn’t do that until the YMCA opened. I left the house at 6am and did 18 kinda-painful, kinda-awesome miles.
They were painful because the last two weeks of training have been sporatic. When I’m running 45+ miles a week, 18 miles on one day should be nothing. But when I dropped down for 20+ miles/week for two weeks, it gets ugly. My knees/hips/ankles were all crying by the time it was done. BUT! I’ve now been doing this long enough to know that I do NOT have to panic when that happens. Pain is part of the game with marathon-ultra training, especially at this age. I’ve learned that most of it fades with rest/recovery. I have to do 12 today (I like to do 30/weekend most weekends – allowing for one recovery weekend every few weeks) and at first I thought there would be no way because I was hurting so bad yesterday. But I woke up today and feel fine! So I’ll head out in about an hour for 12 and see how it goes.
It feels good getting back into training. I have my first marathon of the season in October and before April 2015 I’ll have done 2 marathons, 3 50Ks, and at least 1 50-miler. Maybe another 50-miler or 50K depending on how I’m feeling. I’ll feel more like it has started AFTER Donnie’s Ironman when I get dibs on morning long runs, but for now – it definitely feels good to feel like I’m back in running mode.
I’m not sure I can describe the awesomeness that was Saturday’s Sprint Triathlon. I would love to co-write a race report with Nikki, but we had NO time this weekend so I’m hoping to sit down with her tonight. So, until then, know that it was AMAZING, she smiled CONSTANTLY except for two times when she cried (I’ll let her tell you those stories) but she quickly recovered and went back to smiling again! It is a day I will cherish FOREVER.
I do want to show you what we found when we got to transition before the race. If this isn’t a perfect example of how amazing our triathlon community is, I don’t know what better example could possibly exist.
And then the close up:
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you I cried like a baby when I saw it, right?
And to hold you over until our race report, here are some amazing pictures from the always-on-point Gregg Gelmis of We Run Huntsville. (Check out his whole gallery here.)
Thanks for thinking of us and cheering us on from afar. I’ll post more later!
If you want to lose your faith in humanity, read the comments on any news article ever. People insult the subjects of tragic news stories like it’s a game and the prize is a trophy that says, “World’s Biggest Jackass”. Then imagine the subject of that news article is someone in your family, or a friend, or a member of your church…then read those same comments and feel your heart break a million times over. Now…make the subject of the tragedy a cyclist. Those comments become a million times worse. Commenters on news sites seem to HATE cyclists with a passion of 1000 suns. Any time a cyclist gets injured in a traffic accident, you get tons of people out of the woodwork shouting, “Good riddance!” and if those people injured were people you knew? In your community? You want to find those people writing those comments and punch them a million times. Trust me. I felt this yesterday as news spread in our triathlon community that two of our own had be involved in an accident yesterday.
So, I’m asking you to do me a favor. Especially if you’re not a cyclist/triathlete or if you know a lot of people who are not cyclists/triathletes…will you talk about my husband and I? Maybe just casually reference your friend (me) who has a husband (him) who does 100+ mile bike rides training for his Ironman. Or maybe talk about that cool bike race/time trial your friend’s husband did where they LITERALLY pushed him off a ramp to get him going. Or maybe tell the story of the time your friend’s husband’s phone fell out of the back pocket of his cycling jersey when he was speeding down a hill, so he used “find my iPhone” to track it down and discovered it smashed (of course) on the side of the road. But the weird part was there was another smashed phone right next to it!
Why should you tell those stories around your friends who aren’t cyclists?
Because we need to put humanity on the road with our loved ones. We need everyone to know someone who is a cyclist, even if it’s a few degrees of separation. We need people to want to share the road because that girl on that bike might be their friend’s wife. Or their neighbor’s husband. Or in your case – their friend’s, friend’s husband. They need to be seen as HUMAN.
It’s different for Donnie and I. We were very much an antisocial homebodies before we discovered running and triathlons, so all of our friends are the humans on the road on their bikes. If they’re not on the road on their bikes, they’re on the roads on their feet so they know plenty of cyclists. None of us see a cyclist when driving and think about anything other than the safety of both parties because that could be our friend, our spouse, or our brother. Most of the time it is someone we know. That’s how tight this community is.
But I think a lot of people see a cyclist on the road and see one thing and one thing only: FRUSTRATING INCONVENIENCE.
Do you know how people care for frustrating inconveniences? They don’t.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because a few months ago, someone shared out a photo from a local person who had taken a picture of the cyclist on the road in front of her (legally on the road, following the law and being safe, unlike the person taking the picture) and was complaining about the cyclist. Since she was local I checked to make sure we had no overalapping Facebook friends. We did not. THANK GOD. But her message was: “Look at this guy! How annoying! He’s on the road! GRR! I hate cyclists!” And what was the response of her friends? “I know! I hate cyclists! They’re so rude! Why aren’t they on the sidewalk?”
And then worse? There were several “jokes” about running him off the road.
That could have been my husband. My brother. My friend. A Mom. An aunt. A sister. A grandmother.
Here’s the thing…every city/state can/does have their own traffic laws. But cyclists always have a right to the road and – in most cases I believe – it’s illegal for the ones like my husband to be on sidewalks and greenways. They’re going too fast. Not only would they injure pedestrians, but they would inevitably get hit by a car because drivers are not accustomed to checking sidewalks at every turn, especially not for a cyclist going 20 miles an hour.
So, it’s illegal here and in most places for VERY GOOD REASONS.
Is it inconvenient for you if you are stuck behind them? Possibly. But so is getting behind a school bus at a train track. Or a piece of farm equipment. Or mail trucks. Or a driver like me who makes sure the traffic is clear for 14 miles before I turn. There are tons of inconveniences on the road. Do we wish them ill will? Well…I know people wish me ill will because I get yelled at all the time for being a Grandma Driver. But do we wish school buses or tractors ill will? No.
Are some cyclist assholes? Yep. I have had one cyclist be an asshole to me. One. Do you know how many asshole drivers I’ve encountered? Hundreds? Thousands?
Do some cyclists ignore traffic rules? Yes. My husband and I see it often and it angers us as much as it angers you. Do some cyclists do their rides on unpassable roads at rush hour? Yes. BUT STILL…not representative of all cyclists. And STILL, not an indicator that they are not someone’s sister, or someone’s grandfather. They are still PEOPLE. Just because a cyclist is not a GOOD cyclist doesn’t mean they deserve to get hit, and definitely does not mean that every cyclist ignores the law. As a matter of fact, the cyclists I know are VERY quick to correct someone doing it wrong, because they know it gives us all a bad name.
I just want everyone to get to know a cyclist. Or get to know someone who is a cyclist. It would change their perspective greatly. Legally, they are allowed the road, that’s not going to change. I’m sorry if that’s an inconvenience to you (and it can’t be THAT bad of an inconvenience, they’re not everywhere at all times) but it’s a fact of life. Get over it. But can we at least try to spread stories and knowledge about cyclists so that everyone at least knows someone who knows a cyclist? Make your friends and family think of you when they see a cyclist. Maybe they’ll think, “Hmmm…I remember that story Susan told about her friend’s husband who lost his phone on a bike ride once. That was a crazy story.” and they’ll remember the person in front of them is a human being with friends and family.
In my small community alone, before yesterday, I knew of several people who had been hurt while riding and even some that had been killed. And my community is small. But yesterday? It hit closer to home. Two people from my husband’s Tri Team were hit. And now it’s all I can think about. How dangerous this hobby is, even though it shouldn’t be.
So…will you just tell our stories to your friends? To your family? Especially if you don’t know any cyclists in your community. Then probably neither do your friends or family. Talk about us so that your friends and your family will think of YOU when they see a cyclist. Remind everyone those are real people on the road. Don’t stand for anyone you know bashing cyclists. Remind them that there are asshole drivers too, but that doesn’t mean they all are. Look up the laws in your area. Remind them that it’s illegal (I’m assuming everywhere, because it would be so unsafe, but I’m not certain) for fast cyclists to be on the sidewalk or greenways. (If I’m seriously training, I’m even too fast for the sidewalk and greenway, and I’m the slowest of all of my friends.)
And think of our two friends who were hurt yesterday. One with minor injuries, but another with more serious injuries that required surgery and a hospital stay. These women are experienced cyclists/Ironmen. The fact that they were involved in an accident gave me nightmares last night because I tend to use my husband’s experience as a reason to relax more about his safety. Instead, last night, I dreamt of him being hit. I woke up terrified and sick. This accident yesterday hit too close to home. And seeing the comments on the local news stories basically celebrating this? Fuels a rage I never knew I had.