The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

It's funny that sometimes you do everything you can to achieve your goal and then something out of the blue prevents you from reaching the 'golden ring'. After hours and hours of training I started off on My Big Scary Bike Ride. For a couple of days before my ride I told myself that I was being plagued with allergies but after 60+ HILLY miles yesterday I had to admit to my stubborn self that it was not allergies but was in fact a chest cold.

All through the night last night I debated whether or not I would ride today. I would have told a client, family member or friend that it is foolish to workout if you have a fever or congestion in your chest because it can lead to much more serious illness. However I am a tad bit stubborn, just a little competitive AND I had told everyone I know that I was going to accomplish this goal.

All through the night when I woke up coughing I told myself that I just needed to buck up little cow girl because it was just a little work and a little hard work never killed anyone. I started to think about all the people I would let down including myself if I didn't get back on my bike and ride again today. Just thinking about having an ‘I wish I had' moment was almost unbearable, I mean after all I could be sick later.

This morning at breakfast Annelise and I started talking about options when I started to cough again - that was when my riding was done. She looked me in the eye and told me what I already knew - there would be other bike rides. We were both near tears during this conversation because she knew how hard I had trained to get ready for this ride, how much it meant to me and how hard it was for me to not ride today.

This whole experience is such an example of life lessons in action it is pretty humbling and moving. Sometimes we set our goals, we plan our path and then we go to work to do all that we need to do and still fall short of our intended goal. At times like this it is so easy to beat ourselves up when in fact this is the time to love ourselves all the more.

Yes it hurts to work really hard for something that I really wanted only to have it slip through my fingers but isn't it better to have taken on the challenge in the first place even if I don't reach our goal? After all is said and done I am always farther along my path after the attempt than I would have been if I had never even started.

A year ago I never even considered riding my bike farther than about 30 miles - I mean what was the point? Now I look at things WAY differently.

Last night amazing people just like you and me got up on stage and told us what it was like to live with MS every day and where all the money raised was going. After hearing these amazing people tell their stories about living with MS I realized that even though I didn't reach my personal goal of riding 150 miles in two days I did do some pretty amazing things myself with the help of my amazing friends. Because of all of my friends we raised $4800.00 for MS research which is $4800.00 more than the MS society would have had if I had not decided to ride - that's a victory. I rode farther than I have ever ridden before over way more hills than I had ever ridden before faster than I ever have in one day – that’s a victory. I met and rode with some really great people, I did something scary and I am extremely proud of myself for the goal that I took on – that’s a victory. I rode through some of the most beautiful and scenic places I have ever seen – that’s a victory. And I already signed up for next year – that’s a victory.

So even though I tasted the bitter fruit of defeat this morning as I watched my friends start out on their ride I was able to reflect on the whole experience on the drive home (and to bed). I began to see and claim my own personal victories and the very special gifts that this whole experience had to share with me and this I think was the greatest victory of all.