Skipping Practice

My Friday night was spent drinking wine, laughing and hanging out. I ignored the fact that I had practice with my fellow Team in Training teammates the next morning. I did not put my bike rack on my car, put my tire pump in my car or mentally prepare for practice as I do most Friday nights. I was tired of waking up early and I wanted to sleep in on Saturday. Later on that night I set my alarm for 5:40 AM my usual Saturday morning practice wake time and I went to bed knowing I would hit snooze over and over until it was 7:00 which would be way to late to make practice. When I woke up I felt guilty about skipping so I got ready and I went. It was a rare weekend that my husband was not traveling and I knew I had to take advantage of it. As a final act of rebellion I didn’t put air in my tires until I got to practice even though I was running late.

When I got there our coach Christine was going over our route and dividing us into groups. We were scheduled to ride 35 miles that day. I have never rode more than 25 so I was nervous. When we ride with the group I am always the last to finish. I’m so slow that I’m usually not riding with anyone else but the coach that is the sweep (AKA the person who makes sure no one gets left behind). Since that was Mike’s job for that week I saw him waiting for me out of the corner of my eye. I quickly went over to him and told him that I was very cranky. He looked at me with a big smile and asked if I wanted a hug. I told him that I wanted to be cranky. Nice attitude right? The truth is I did want to be cranky for just a bit longer.

I knew that I would have to work really hard and that I would do whatever it took to ride the whole distance but mentally I was not ready yet.  I wanted to be childish and ridiculous for just a little while longer. My bad mood didn’t last long; if you ever get the chance to meet Mike you know that it’s impossible to be cranky in his presence for long. He is so positive and inspiring and he makes me want to smile. He is an Ironman Triathlete, he knows a lot about cycling and he rocks. Why waste time being cranky when I can be learning from him instead.

Bike practice | Exfoodie.comThat was me last week at bike practice, I was very happy that day. Thanks to my teammate JP Goggin for taking this picture

As we rode I saw something that I don’t usually see on our bike rides. Other cyclists! I was so excited at the prospect of not being dead last that I pushed myself to finish before them. It became a game trying to stay ahead of some of my teammates and it made practice really fun. Mike was so patient as I whined about all the hills; he told me to stay strong and keep pedaling. Sometimes I felt like I was going to vomit, that would be the wine talking. And that is exactly why I don’t drink on Friday nights anymore. I made sure to stay very hydrated and I refueled with my Vega gels as I pushed on. It was the toughest ride yet but I finished it and I felt amazing afterward. As we were on our last 10 miles we saw a few other teammates who had finished the ride but came back to ride with the rest of the team. It was so much fun all riding in a pack together. It was one of my happiest cycling moments.

legs after cycling | Exfoodie.com

I love how dirty my legs get after cycling, it makes me feel like I worked hard.

Skipping practice stinks! No matter how tough practice is you will always feel better afterward. I’m so glad I didn’t sleep in and I am so happy to be part of such a supportive and caring team. Deep down I knew there was no way I was going to skip practice, I’ve come too far to stop now.

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  • Mike

    Awesome job on Saturday Neven!! You pushed yourself and got it done! I think you’ll see an improvement after this weekend and will finish w the pack more often!! Just gotta keep pushing yourself and don’t give up, you’ll get there before you know it!!

    • Neven

      Thank you for all of your encouragement. I’m excited for 40 miles next week!!

  • nancy

    very inspirational post! skipping practice DOES stink! great job and congratulations on finishing with the pack!

    • Neven

      Thanks Nancy. No more wine for me on Friday nights.

  • Megan

    This whole Tri thing is fun! Glad to have you as a teammate and friend!!

    • Neven

      Me too I love seeing you at practice.