Posted by: pursuingsub17 | March 7, 2016

Get back up on that horse if it throws you off

We’ve had some wonderful weather in Edmonton. On Saturday I actually saw the Canada Geese flying over my condo, heading North. It was a great feeling. I’ve been itching to get on my bike again outside. I’ve been doing the spin classes with my cousin at the gym (who insists I join her – whatever – it’s free and I’m VERY broke right now) as well as the windtrainer at home. But there’s nothing like riding outside.

Sunday…it snowed. Oh well. But it did remind me how badly I want to be riding the bike again, especially after a 1 year hiatus. Well, sort of. I rode twice finally last October once my arm healed a bit but then Old Man Winter came. Still, although I missed being on pavement and smelling exhaust fumes and/or farmer’s fields, there’s that little twinge of always worrying about being out on the road alone. However, you can’t let this get to you – or you’ll never ride.

When I was 5 or 6, I was obsessed with horses. I watched a CBC TV show around that time called The Forest Rangers (all repeats because I think it was over by the time I was 5). I wanted to be a young forest ranger and ride a horse. My dream came true when my parents brought me to a small farm ranch in Manitoba where I could have my chance. The farmer let me choose which one and of course I had to ride “black beauty”. He put me on bareback and I hung onto the horse’s mane while he slowly paraded around the yard and I had a big smile on my face. As my parents chatted with the farmer, the horse noticed a door open to the corral. This was the exit to a short pathway to a pond. You can guess what happened next.

The horse bolted. I was screaming for my life. My mom (and she told me this years later) was chasing after the horse thinking she could grab the tail to get it to stop just like she did with their family dog. The horse was nearing the pond, stopped suddenly, and, as Newton’s First Law of Motion states, an object in motion stays in motion. I went flying off the horse, missing the pond, but doing a belly flop right on the hard ground, knocking the wind out of me.

Once I was able to breath, I began screaming and crying. The farmer told me I better get back up on the horse or I’ll never ride one again. “No!” I screamed. No way was I getting back up on that horse. To this day, I’ve never been on a horse since.

Flash forward to June 2015. I’m sitting propped up by a tree on the side of the road watching Marc put Sarah Lee in the back of our Nissan. My elbow popping in and out of its socket and me trying not to throw up. I immediately thought of that childhood memory of the horse and swore up and down that although I was physically damaged, I could not…and would not…let myself be emotionally, psychologically damaged by this accident.

In October, 2015, it was one of the last few fall Sundays where I still had the opportunity to ride outside – the elbow healing enough that I could hold myself up or be in the aero position. I had been riding my mountain bike on the bike paths – where I felt I was safe – but it was time to get back on the horse. I had decided to avoid the residential street that I had my accident on so my nerves wouldn’t be rattled. I started at a safe point, biking on fresh new pavement that eventually connected to my regular route. I had to do it. If I waited until this year, I probably wouldn’t be able to do it.

I managed a 2.5 hour ride before my arm started feeling weak. But I finished with a smile and most importantly, relief. Now here I am today, watching the geese return, waiting for the ice and snow to melt and the roads to be cleaned of debris and gravel from the winter months to get back up on that horse.

Keep trying friends. Don’t let the boogy man (or zombies or fresh water killer fish) stop you from getting that open water swim done again. Keep doing it. Keep practicing over and over to get over the anxiety. Fall off the bike? Get back on. Bonk on a run? Deal with it. Go out and do it again, only with a little more smarts. What ever you do, don’t stop trying – no matter what it is you want to do. Have faith in yourself. You have to get back on the horse or you’ll never ride again.




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