There Will Be Hard Parts

Today is my little sister’s birthday! Months ago, before life changed, she was planning on running 37 miles for her 37th birthday and I was planning on joining her for a good chunk of that distance. Fast forward to where we are now, and that was no longer an option on the table. But, I still wanted to honor her and her special day, so I committed to 37 miles of movement this weekend.

I’ve been somewhat on the “injured list” for the last couple of weeks, so running those miles was not an option. That meant I needed to hike and bike. My road bike has been out of commission since 2012 when it somehow had a flat tire upon collecting it from the transition area after finishing my last Ironman triathlon. Yes. You read that right. It has had a flat tire since 2012… What that meant is that my bike miles would be on my mountain bike, which is fun, but not quite as easy as they would be if I had ever fixed that flat tire!

There was a part of me that thought I could get all of the miles done yesterday. I started the day with a 3 mile hike with Blu (I’ve actually been starting A LOT of my days that way lately).

Blu and I at our favorite hiking trails.

Then I headed out for a dirt road bike ride. It was pretty windy, but I made it 14.5 miles. Wahoo! Got home and headed out on a family adventure, which included 2.5 more miles of hiking. I was up to 20 miles for the day and kept thinking that I only had 7 miles left…. I was pretty disappointed when I realized that my sister was not turning 27 years old, but that she was, in fact, turning 37. HA! I decided I would have to wait and finish the last 17 miles on Sunday.

I felt really lazy this morning. There was no part of me that was excited to move my body 17 miles. But, I also didn’t even want to wish my sister a happy birthday until those miles were done. I lounged around for too long to have time to take Blu on a hike, which meant that if I wanted to get 17 miles in before the family birthday Zoom call, I needed to bike all of those miles at once. (Note: I also haven’t biked 17 miles at once since 2012!)

Since I rode 14 miles yesterday, and I have a normal 9 mile loop, I was pretty set on where I was going to ride to get my 17 miles in. So, I told Will where I was going and headed out. HOLY. WIND. So much wind! I soon realized the ride was going to be much harder than I was hoping.

And then! I had an idea! I should ride the loop backwards! For some reason, I always ride this loop in the same direction. And, by doing so, am forced to climb two GIGANTIC hills. Now, I would avoid these two hills and life would be good.

False. A big fat false. Turns out, that by doing this loop backwards, I put myself on the most wide open, exposed roads while riding directly into the wind. AND, I apparently forgot about the NUMEROUS times when I am normally gliding down glorious hills that now, I was huffing and puffing and climbing up!

And that’s when it hit me. THERE ARE GOING TO BE HARD PARTS. Always. No matter what we do to try and avoid it, life is not going to be easy.

I held onto this thought and it gave me strength, which is kind of odd because it’s a bit of a daunting thought. However, I realized that the only way to help ease the blows that life throws at us is to be as prepared as possible. So, after I FLEW down the biggest hill that I purposefully avoided going up today, I turned my bike around and climbed that thing with all I had in me. I was huffing and puffing and thought I might puke, but I was NOT going to skip that hard part that was going to make me stronger. (And turns out I PR’d that climb by 20 seconds today!)

I finished up my ride and sent my sister a Happy Birthday message. I was so relieved to be done with 37 miles to honor her birthday. It was hard, but if it hadn’t been I’m not sure it would have really meant that much. It’s the challenge that makes it worthwhile…meaningful.

That’s how I want to keep living life every day. Especially right now. I want to remember that all of the hard parts are making me stronger. They’re making all of us stronger. We can’t avoid them, so let’s use them to become better versions of ourselves.

We got this.